Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Bucs to Watch Against Washington

DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans could see big games as the Bucs return home to kick off the second half of the season on Sunday against Washington.

181108_KZ_Practice_0027

1. WR DeSean Jackson

As a football player, wide receiver DeSean Jackson seems to take things personally. He has some of his best games against teams he was formerly a part of. Not only was Jackson with Washington immediately before coming to the Bucs in 2017, they were his division rival for six years while he was a Philadelphia Eagle. It's safe to say that Jackson is all too familiar with Washington. He has a 7-4 record against them but has scored five touchdowns, which is his second-most against any single opponent. He has a 17.88 yards per reception average as well. He still knows a few players on the opposite side of the ball but it will be all business when the whistle blows.

2. CB Carlton Davis III

We've seen steady improvement from the young rookie corner in the past few weeks. He's still looking for that elusive first NFL interception and boy, could the Bucs use it. They are -15 in turnover margin, meaning they've committed 15 more turnovers than they've created. Davis talked about it on the Bucs All-Access radio show last week. He said how much he needs an interception and that as long as he's playing good coverage it's only a matter of time. He also said that he's been focusing on his technique. At the NFL level, everyone has talent. Everyone is good. What separates the good players from the great ones though, is their technique and Davis is all too aware of it.

3. S Justin Evans

Speaking of takeaways, safety Justin Evans is due for one. The Bucs are absolutely desperate for defensive takeaways and Evans was among the best in the rookie class last year in getting his hands on the ball. He's an incredibly athletic free safety and his football IQ has only increased since last year. He makes good reads and is fully capable of following up and getting underneath a route. He, along with veteran cornerback Brent Grimes, have been relied upon to lead a very young secondary, while Evans himself is in just his second year. Rookie Jordan Whitehead has been Evans complement, starting at strong safety while still trying to learn and get adjusted to the game at the NFL level. It means Evans has had to take on more and he is due for a breakout game.

4. WR Mike Evans

Wide receiver Mike Evans may have only played Washington twice in his career, but he has 373 yards and three touchdowns in those two games. That's good for a gaudy 24.87 yards per reception average, by far and away his best against any single team. Evans will be looking to bounce back after a down game in Charlotte where he managed just one catch for 16 yards after being targeted 10 times. Both Head Coach Dirk Koetter and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken voiced their confidence in the big-man receiver, saying they expect him to have a good game against Washington this weekend. It'll help that the Bucs are at home. Evans has had over 100 yards in the last two games inside Raymond James Stadium. His 10 receptions for 83 yards punctuated by a touchdown against Philadelphia were nothing to snuff at either. Evans will be entering Sunday's game with a chip on his shoulder from last week and will definitely be a target quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will be looking for again.

5. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Obviously, all eyes will be on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as he looks to rebound against what ended up being a close loss in Carolina, as he takes on a fellow 14-year NFL veteran. The Bucs are looking for more FitzMagic as they try to catalyze a turnaround during the second half of the season. Fitzpatrick is 4-1 against Washington in his career with a 94.1 passer rating through those five games. This will be his first start inside Raymond James Stadium since Week Three in the Bucs' narrow loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. The key for Fitzpatrick will be to take care of the football and not turn it over. While the Bucs' defense could use a couple takeaways, the offense can't afford to turn it over any more with the Bucs already sitting at a -15 turnover margin. The good news is the only two games Fitzpatrick has started at home, he's thrown for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. Let's hope he can replicate a similar performance Sunday.

View photos from the Buccaneers' practice Thursday at the AdventHealth Training Center.

Advertising