Who will catch a star in the Bucs-Giants game?

by Gary Shelton on September 28, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Evans and Giants' receiver Odell Beckham are dangerous players./JEFFREY S. KING

Evans and Giants' receiver Odell Beckham are dangerous players./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 3 a.m.

Impact here. Impact there.

Great receiver here. Great receiver there.

Terrific hands here. Terrific hands there.

They have run together through this league, Odell Beckham and Mike Evans. Oh, there are other great receivers in the NFL – Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant and Antonio Brown and Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. Stefan Diggs and T.Y. Hilton and Brandin Cooks and Tyreek Hill. Everyone has smoke at wide receiver. Some teams have explosion.

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Evans has been the Bucs best; Beckham's number are better./CARMEN MANDATO

Evans has been the Bucs best; Beckham's number are better./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, when the Bucs play against the New York Giants, there will be two of them: Beckham and Evans. If you want, you can say Evans and Beckham.

“I’m excited for this matchup because we lost last week and we get an opportunity to bounce back,” Evans said. “Odell is a great player. He is a friend of mine, same class (and) he is a great player, so I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

“I think we are both great players. I’m a bit bigger. He’s a bit faster. He’s better after the catch. I’m a bigger guy — better at jump balls, probably. He plays with a lot of passion as well as I (do). I think we play with a lot of swag in different areas. He’s more of a dancer, I’m more of a tough guy.”

Frankly, Evans evaluation seems about right. Oh, Beckham has probably had more impact … but he's played with a more experienced quarterback and a better defense. In his previous three years (and his start this year), Beckham has 301 catches for 4,237 yards and 37 touchdowns. Evans, in the same span, has 252 catches for 3,738 yards and 28 touchdowns.

So who do you want? Beckham, with his circus catches. Or Evans, with his glorified rebounds?

“The main thing that is imposing about (Beckham) is that he has great speed,” Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter said. “He can make crazy catches, but his run after the catch — when he catches that ball in the open field, you kind of hold your breath. They run a lot of slant routes [and] in-breaking routes where he is running full speed. If you don’t get him on the ground pretty quick, he can make you miss and then he can out-run pretty much anybody on the field.”

Of course, it will also matter the offenses that each receiver plays in. The Giants' have had trouble with an injured offensive line, which might limit the time Eli Manning has to throw it. The Bucs have had problems with injuries, and with a pass rush that has only one sack in two games.

“It’s going to be important for us, like always, to work on our disguises. We’ve got to be able to communicate,” said defensive coordinator Mike Smith. “We’re hoping it’s going to be loud and they’re going to have a hard time communicating. When they’re having a hard time communicating, we’ve got to make sure that we’re all doing the same thing in terms of what coverages that we are in. We can’t give up the explosive plays like we did last week — can’t happen.”

Can Evans outplay his buddy from the Giants? Will Beckham's flash take over the party? We'll see.

But for the Bucs and Giants, those two are where the highlights start.

And both players will have something to say about the final result.

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