Don’t Let Evans Have A Big Day
Tampa Bay has some decent options in the passing game, but it’s obvious that their big gun is Mike Evans.
Evans is Winston’s security blanket and go-to guy. His 545 receiving yards are tenth in the league, but his 90.8 receiving yards per game put him fifth. He’s a big, strong, physical – and productive receiver. And oh yeah, his six touchdowns on the year tie him for the league lead with Oakland’s Michael Crabtree.
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At 6’5”, 231 pounds, Evans has fantastic size. He’s got speed and a great set of hands. He can make tremendous plays and is a smart receiver who runs good routes. But he’s also the type of receiver the Raiders’ secondary should have some success against. He’s certainly not the small, burner type of receiver that gives Oakland’s big corners fits.
Given that 40 of Winston’s 142 completions on the year have gone to Evans – very nearly 30 percent – there is no doubt that Evans is going to see some targets. It’s up to Smith and Amerson – both big corners at 6’3” — to shut him down and keep him from having a big day against them.
Of course, they’re going to need plenty of help up front. Quarterback hits and pressures are a corner’s best friend, as they say. But they will be challenged. They’ll probably be challenged a lot. They must be ready to answer the challenge and make some plays against one of the better receivers in the league.
If they can manage to take Evans away from Winston and force him to rely on his other, less productive receivers, they could induce a little panic and help force him into some mistakes – mistakes that can turn the game in Oakland’s favor.