In the National Football League, there’s a fine line between a pass completion and an incompletion - or worse - an interception. On that line, live Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Evans and Godwin run, catch and score with style. They’re pro bowlers (or will be, in Godwin’s case) in this passing game. Then you got your gunslinger, your Bruce Arians, your Byron Leftwich, and the ‘Other Guys’. (h/t Ice T)
We’re talking about Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller and Justin Watson, listed in receptions order. When the stars go down, the other guys have to step up. And the job doesn’t get easier.
Speaking about the possibility of replacing star players this weekend against the Detroit Lions, Bruce Arians said, “It’s always fun for me to see some adversity in a streak like this, losing Mike, maybe Donovan, and still go out and perform at the level we expect you to play at. No matter what number you wear, the expectation level doesn’t change.”
And so, these other receivers are going to have to find a way to get the job done, and help Godwin get the job done without Evans.
Who are these other guys? Well, they’re the guy who wasn’t good enough to keep around and should have been released for a compensatory pick in 2020. They’re the preseason riser who didn’t pan out and lost field awareness on a touchdown pass in a game his team lost in overtime. They’re the ivy league record setter who couldn't get on the field in the NFL.
At least, that’s who they were. Then opportunity came. Now, they’re 13 catches for 216 yards and a score. And that’s without Miller who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.
But now, Miller is back, and he and the other guys in this story have a chance to become heroes in the final three games of the year.
Talking about Miller’s return specifically, Arians said, “Oh, it’s huge, with Mike down, to get some speed back out on the field and to get him going again. He was doing well before the injury.”
Indeed he was. In the three games he played before missing time, Miller totaled seven catches for 112-yards and had plays of 20+ and 40+ yards for the Buccaneers offense. He didn’t score, but got extremely close multiple times.
While Miller and Watson will have their roles to fill, Perriman figures to be the main guy to step up in Evans’ place.
“He’s a really good runner,” Arians said, “He reminds me a lot of Mike Wallace...He could run routes, but when he got a ball running across the field it was just as good as a deep one.”
This weekend’s game against the Detroit Lions has nothing on the line but pride for those on the field. But lately, Perriman and Watson have played well. By the end of the weekend, we’ll learn whether or not they can keep up their elevated play, and if Miller can make an impact himself.
Let’s be honest, all the players want to be superstars and hotshots. Most become the grinders. The ‘Other Guys’. But for these three, this may just be their time to chase waterfalls, and fly like peacocks. Let’s see what happens.