Elite receivers to battle in Bucs-Saints game

by Gary Shelton on November 14, 2019

in general

Arians compares Evans and Thomas./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Michael Thomas has been the best receiver in the NFL this year. Mike Evans has been second.

Together, they are the only two receivers in the league averaging more than 100 yards per game. Thomas has 32 more catches than Evans, and he has 103 more yards.

Evans, on the other hand, is averaging five yards more per catch and has three more touchdowns.

Sunday, they meet again.

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"He’s big, strong, physical and he can separate," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said of Thomas. "He’s got quickness for a big guy, very much so like Mike Evans, but he’s long. He doesn’t drop many passes, that’s for sure. He’s legit.

"You can be a 10-year vet – it’s a challenge. Those two guys have been playing together. Drew [Brees] knows when the ball is coming out [and] when Michael is going to break. For one guy to cover him, it’s tough.”

The cast of defensive backs covering Thomas grew smaller Tuesday when the Bucs cut Vernon Hargreaves III. Arians didn’t want to talk much about it Tuesday, but alluded to Hargreaves' lack of hustle on Sunday.

"The only two things (a player) can control is his attitude and his effort, and both better be good," Arians said.

Arians was asked about quarterback Jameis Winston, as usual.

"The last four, very good ," Arians said. "I think the last three for sure. (He is) still a little bit up and down at times, but (in) two-minute situations and bringing us from behind, he’s been excellent."

Winston acted as if his comeback was no big deal.

It was good, but that’s what you want," Winston said. "That’s what we go in expecting every week. We know we’ve got to earn it. I’m very happy that our defense had bounced back and had an incredible game with Jamel [Dean] getting that basically game-clinching interception, so big ups to him. But, we go into every game knowing that we have to finish. Coach B.A. (Bruce Arians) says it all the time – the first five minutes of the third quarter and the last five minutes of the game is where you win.”

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