Sunday’s anticipated matchup between the old (Aqib Talib) and the new (Mike Evans) might not happen, says Tampa Bay Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.
The Denver Broncos may prefer Chris Harris to cover Evans.
“We’ve talked about the matchup with Talib,” Koetter said. “But Harris is a really good corner too. They’ve both been to the Pro Bowl the last couple of years, and I’m not sure if Denver’s going to match [Evans with Talib]. Usually, Denver just plays sides, so if they match, then I guess that’s a show of respect that they think Mike’s good enough to match, but for all we know, Denver may look at it as Harris is better than Talib, I don’t know how they look at it.”
“I think they think that they have three starting-level corners, (Bradley) Roby when they go into their subgroup as well. Now as far as Mike’s concerned, he’s going to play against really good corners every single week. When you’re the No.1 receiver, that’s what you get. As we said earlier in the week, we couldn’t be happier with how Mike’s competed, how Mike’s held up from a conditioning standpoint, pushed through some minor injury things and caught the ball in traffic. I think Mike has the mindset he’s going out there to compete and I’m sure the Denver guys do as well.”
A year ago, corners were able to prod Evans into emotional displays that led to penalties. Koetter said he isn’t worried anymore.
“Mike has really made it a point of emphasis,” Koetter said. “He’s had a couple chances, whether you call it lose his cool or frustration, I think Mike’s really turned a corner. I’m not going to say it’s never going to happen again because, shoot, all of us have our meltdowns from time to time. But I think Mike’s turned a corner.”
Koetter said the Broncos kept to a simple defense that challenged the offense to beat them.
“There’s other teams that are harder to figure out, but Denver really doesn’t have to be that hard to figure out,” Koetter said. “They want to say, ‘We’ve got good rushers, let’s see you block us.’ The one thing that’s a little unique is when they go in that dime (package, they play (number) 43, (safety T.J.) Ward, kind of like a linebacker and he’s really is their No. 1 blitzer — and he’s good at it, he’s slippery. But when they get a lead on you — it’s kind of like in the old days when I was in Jacksonville and when Peyton Manning was the quarterback of the Colts. They get the lead and they had those two great ends and they just say, ‘Let’s see if you can block us.’ ”
Game time Sunday is 4:05 p.m.