Atlanta Falcons: 5 Players to Watch vs. Tampa Bay

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23. player. 44. . CB. Southeastern Louisiana. Robert Alford

With WR Vincent Jackson out for the game, that will mean that second-year pro out of Texas A&M Mike Evans will have to become QB Jameis Winston‘s primary receiving target on Sunday. Since the Bucs OC Dirk Koetter coached in Atlanta the last few years, odds are that he will line up Evans on Alford to gain a tactical advantage.

Evans is one of the most physically imposing receivers in football. It will stand as a tough task to stop Evans for the Atlanta Falcons’ secondary. My guess to how the Falcons’ defense will go about doing it is that the team will anchor CB Desmond Trufant to one side of the field, as they usually do.

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Koetter may move Evans around at receiver, but could try to exploit a mismatch between Alford and Evans, similar to what New York Giants OC Ben McAdoo tried to do in Week 2 with Odell Beckham Jr.

Though we did see rookie CB Jalen Collins play on the outside against the Tennessee Titans, I’d have to believe that it will take a little more polished of a player to contain Evans than Collins. Then again, both Collins and Evans did play in the SEC West from 2012-13 at LSU and A&M, respectively.

If DC Richard Smith opts to put Collins on Evans, that would mean that Alford would start at nickelback and have ample opportunities to do what he does best: ballhawk. Jameis Winston is a strong passer, but can make some erratic throws in Koetter’s offense. The growing pains are still there for the Bucs and Winston. Look for Alford to pick off Winston at least once. Most importantly, the Falcons secondary needs to play a physical game to combat Mike Evans.

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