Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans certainly have reasons to look forward to the 2015 season. With Jameis Winston looking like the real deal at the quarterback position, the team could be headed into the right direction. Their first game against the Tennessee Titans pits the top two draft picks against one another and while Marcus Mariota has plenty of weapons to work with, Winston might be missing one as Mike Evans sits out of practice.
If Winston is going to be successful, he needs the offensive playmakers around him to do the same and Evans is at the top of that list. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Evans has sat out the last two practices due to a hamstring injury that has been lingering for most of the preseason. The second-year receiver is expected to play a big role in the offense this year as Winston needs him to develop into a top threat. Head coach Lovie Smith would not confirm Evans' status for Sunday, simply saying if he healthy he will play.
"Mike Evans is getting a whole lot better," Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. "As a general rule, you would like for guys to practice all three days. If they can't practice a day, it's a question mark. If we have a good football player that doesn't practice all week, and he gets up Sunday morning, saying 'I'm feeling good,' if we have a history with him, he's going to play."
If Evans is out, Louis Murphy becomes the starter for the team. Vincent Jackson would be the No.1 receiver while Adam Humphries and Russell Shepard work in the slot position. Evans and Jackson are expected to be key for Winston this season so fans are likely hoping the second-year receiver is not out for too long.
With Evans out, the run game will be important and Doug Martin is ready for a breakout season. The running back has shown flashes of potential recently and the team is confident he can be the workhorse running back the Buccaneers have been needing. Smith told the media via the Tampa Bay Times, "Doug Martin is our starting running back & I don't see any reason why we won't be able to establish a run game this season." Martin underwhelmed last season with just 494 yards, but he is expected to re-visit the numbers he had his rookie season which surpassed 1,400 yards.