The Buccaneers at full strength might still be a long shot to beat the Saints in their home-opener, but without their best offensive weapon, and even those chances dwindle. That may be what the Bucs are facing as Mike Evans is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
The good news for the Bucs is that Evans has returned to practice in a limited fashion. He may not be full-go yet, but he believes he is ready to play.
"It’s up to [the coaches and trainers]," Evans said Thursday. "I feel 100 percent. I’m ready to go. I’ve been practicing.”
The main decision maker is Lovie Smith, who is notoriously cautious when it comes to hamstring injuries.
“Extremely tough," Evans said when asked how hard it was watching from the sideline. "They played a great game though. They got out to a fast start. We didn’t expect that at all. I don’t know if I could help 28 points be different, but it was hard to watch my team. I was capable of playing. Hopefully this week I will get the go-ahead.”
He's right, no wide receiver is likely worth 28 points, so if the Bucs have any shot against the New Orleans Saints, it likely falls on their defense. If the Bucs defense plays like it did a week ago, there's a good chance the Saints score 50 points in this game.
Either way, it would be great to see Mike Evans on the field with his rookie quarterback.
"I feel 100 percent. I feel good, real good.”