Mike Evans is a big part of the Buccaneers passing game, but he’s correctly identified one big way he can improve his game next season.
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to take a step forward this season, they’re going to need all of their stars to take their games to the next level. Fortunately for Jameis Winston and company, receiver Mike Evans knows exactly what he needs to work on.
Evans is already one of the most physically imposing receivers in the NFL. Few players have the ability he possesses to go up and make tough catches in traffic. The weakness in Evan’s game occurs after he brings down the pass.
His inability to do anything after he catches the ball is a real limiting factor in his ability to produce yards for his offense. Evans is still confident he can improve his biggest weakness. He looks at improving his YAC total as another “hurdle” he needs to jump over.
In truth, it may be a difficult adjustment for Evans to make. While he is one of the biggest receivers in the NFL, he’s not one of the fastest. He moves more like a tight end with the ball in his hands than a true wideout. He’s going to continue to find it difficult to elude quality defensive backs.
What he can do to improve his YAC is work on his route running. He relies on too many deep balls from Winston. Those can produce some big plays, but most will end with him hitting the ground after coming down with the ball.
If he can run crisper routes, Winston should be able to hit him with more passes while he’s still on the move. That should allow Evans to use his big frame to break away from smaller cornerbacks trying to bring him down. He’s not going to break those tackles for 80-yard touchdowns, but he is capable of picking up chunks of 10 yards at a time. Those can add up to a significant increase in his YAC total this season.
Evans is never going to go away from his strength as a physical, jump ball receiver, but he can diversify his game. If he can improve his route running next season, he may stop being one of the worst receivers in the NFL after the catch. That could go a long way toward helping Tampa Bay get back in the playoff hunt.