Mike Evans aiming for Week 1 return

TAMPA, Fla. -- If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were playing a regular-season game this week, wide receiver Mike Evans said he would be in the lineup.

But the Bucs aren’t playing a game that matters until Sept. 13 and that’s the date Evans is targeting for his return. Evans is dealing with a hamstring injury, and the Bucs are planning on holding him out for the final two preseason games.

"I think it’s smart," Evans said. "There’s nothing to risk. I’ve already proved myself and I’m just trying to get back for Week 1."

Evans said he already has developed a strong chemistry with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, and the two don’t need any more preseason work together.

"I’ve had enough," Evans said. "We’ll be ready for Week 1. We’re both professionals."

Evans, who had more than 1,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns as a rookie last season, said he envisions even better things this season. Part of the reason for that is the arrival of Winston. But the other part is the presence of new coordinator Dirk Koetter and a new role for Evans as the X receiver.

"I’m just so much more comfortable with this offense," Evans said. "There are a lot of plays to be made in this offense. I’m playing the X this year. I like it more and I’ll get more opportunities."