A lot of fans are anxiously awaiting the matchup they believe will take place Sunday between current Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans and former Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib.
There’s a chance, though, that matchup never takes place. And no, it’s not because there’s always a chance Talib will get involved in another shooting incident and miss the game.
As Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pointed out last week, the Broncos don’t usually play the match-up game with their corners. They usually just leave them on one side and take the matchups as they come.
That could put the onus of matching Evans against Talib on Koetter, who is confident Evans is ready, both physically and mentally, to handle himself in yet another battle with a Pro Bowler.
“When you’re the number one receiver, that’s what you get,’’ Koetter said of Evans, who will go into the game ranked fourth in the league in receptions (21), sixth in the league in receiving yards (301) and tied for second in the league in touchdown receptions (three).
“And as we said earlier in the week, we couldn’t be happier with how Mike has competed, how Mike has held up from a conditioning standpoint and pushed through some minor injury things and has caught the ball in traffic. I think Mike has the mindset that he’s going out there to compete and I’m sure the Denver guys do as well.”
That mindset thing is a big part of the equation with Evans. He’s shown a tendency in the past to lose his cool a bit and that could come into play against Talib. Koetter’s convinced, though, that those days are mostly behind his top pass catcher.
“I trust Mike,’’ Koetter said. “I think he’s really made (controlling his emotions) a point of emphasis. And he’s had a couple of chances where (he could have) lost his cool or become frustrated.
“But I think Mike’s really turned the corner. I’m not going to say it’s never going to happen again, because, shoot, all of us have our meltdowns. But I think Mike’s turned a corner.”