Jaguars Preparing For Buccaneers Dynamic Receiver Duo
When the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) at TIAA Bank Field this Sunday, it will be no secret to anyone in the stadium what the Jaguars need to do to have a chance to win. They will need to try to do what nearly no other defense has been able to do all season; stop Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
Godwin and Evans have been the best wide receiver duo in the NFL by a wide margin this season, with each producing like a true No. 1 wideout despite the presence of the other. Godwin has 70 catches for 1,071 yards and nine touchdowns, while Evans has totaled 62 catches for 1,043 yards and seven scores.
The pace the two are on has been nothing short of historic, per Buccaneers.com. They are second and third in most receiving yards through the first 11 games of the season in Tampa Bay history, the first pair of teammates in NFL history to each have three games of 150+ receiving yards in the same season, and just the fourth pair of NFL teammates to each total the 1,000-yard receiving mark in just the first 11 games of a team's season.
“They may be two different types [of receivers], but not two different types of production," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said earlier this week.
"You’re looking at guys that within 12 games, both have over 1,00 yards. They’re one of the top teams in explosive pass plays, so it’s going to be a great challenge. It’s like having two number one [receivers] that you’re going against, so it’s going to be a challenge for us defensively.”
Each of the receivers is a dangerous threat to any defense, but perhaps the most dangerous thing about the duo is the fact that they win in such different ways. Godwin is a master at turning short passes into long gains, while Evans is considered one of the top receivers in the entire NFL when the ball is in the air.
"I look at them very different. Mike is more like a basketball guy; I played against him before when I was in Houston," Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye told JaguarMaven this week. "I have never played against Godwin before, but the more you watch him on film he is kind of like, to me, he reminds me of a running back once he gets the ball in his hands because he is breaking tackles. You see him going up the seam and making big plays. Those are the guys making big plays for them."
Bouye and second-year cornerback Tre Herndon will be the two players tasked with trying to slow down Godwin and Evans as Jacksonville tries to break a three-game losing streak. Bouye knows the challenge will be tough, but he noted this isn't the first time the Jaguars will be playing a team with a legit one-two punch.
"We are kind of used to that, playing Houston," Bouye said. "We look at them like they have two No. 1 receivers."
For Jacksonville to match up with Tampa's lethal pass-catching duo, Bouye said it will take a lot of recognition and discipline. Studying the tendencies of each's role in the offense has been a big emphasis in particular.
"It is really with them that you have to recognize where they are going to be at. Godwin is going to be in the slot, he is going to line up everywhere," Bouye said. And you have to recognize where Mike is going to be. He is going to be the X receiver sometimes, he is going to be to the three-receiver side, lined up inside or outside. So just trusting our calls, trusting our technique and just playing without our defense. That is going to help us a lot."