As ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
suggested Thursday, it’s becoming increasingly obvious the Bucs made a solid pick when they took wide receiver Mike Evans
in the first round of this year’s draft. Evans has started to emerge as a force and he’s coming off the best game of his young career.
In Sunday’s loss to Cleveland, Evans had seven catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Head coach Lovie Smith said Evans is getting more comfortable with the NFL game.
“I think that’s evident and I think he’s putting some fear in some guys,’’ Smith said. “He’s playing faster; things are clicking a little bit more. When you’re in a system for so long and then you come in and it’s a new league, it’s a new system, it’s more ball, it’s different sides of the field -- there’s a lot of things that come in.
“Just like anything else, it’s just brand new and he’s really taking a step, it seems, every week and we’re excited about that because obviously he’s a difference-maker and we’ll continue to push him and help him and try and guide him in a way that can really propel him into where he wants to be.”
Quarterback Josh McCown lobbied the Bucs to take Evans with the seventh overall pick.
McCown is returning to the starting lineup after missing five games with a thumb injury and he’s been impressed with Evans’ steady improvement.
“ To see our seventh overall pick doing what Mike is doing and coming along, that’s huge for us and I’m really pleased to see what he’s done and it’s reflective of the way it works and the way that he goes about practice day in and day out and the type of competitor he is,’’ McCown said. “He’s obviously got an unbelievable skill set and (is) super talented, but more than that just his focus and his attention to detail in meetings is what’s beginning to give Mike an edge.
"He’s developing what it’s going to take for him to be a pro and play at a high level in this game and that’s cool to watch a young guy take those things and start to watch his habits and what he’s going to start doing to make himself into the player that he wants to be.’’
According to the Sports Xchange, the Bucs will adapt their game plan to McCown's skills. It gives the offense the ability to move the pocket with more bootlegs and waggles.
Helping McCown will be the return of Charles Sims, a big back with great hands and the ability to make people miss. The Bucs also have gotten better production at the running back position from Bobby Rainey, who has the team's two best rushing days this season.
Last week, the Bucs offensive line played better, allowing only one sack and carving out some holes in the running game.
The more effectively they can run and utilize McCown's mobility, the easier it will be for Evans to get free. ...
One other note of interest here. ... Rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was added to Thursday's injury report with an injured thumb; it shouldn't be an issue come Sunday but I'll be looking for more after today's practice.