Jameis Winston describes Mike Evans as the Bucs' 'secret weapon'

TAMPA, Fla. -- Quarterback Jameis Winston had an interesting way to describe wide receiver Mike Evans' role in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense.

"He's like our secret weapon now," Winston said last week. "People are still going to be game-planning for him, and I haven't even given him many opportunities to shine yet. So he's just our secret weapon for right now."

Evans, who has 13 catches for 174 yards in four games, was considered Tampa Bay's most dangerous receiving option to start the year after catching 68 passes for a team-high 1,051 and 12 touchdowns as a rookie. Through his first four games in 2014, he had 17 catches for 203 yards with one touchdown.

But most of Evans' impact this season came against the Houston Texans in Week 3, when he had seven catches for 101 yards. After returning from a hamstring injury, he wasn't targeted at all in his season debut against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. In Weeks 4 and 5 against the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars, the 6-foot-5, 231-pound Texas A&M product totaled just six catches for 73 yards.

"The great thing about having a guy of his caliber that we haven't even given him the ball that much -- I haven't given him the ball, we've had plays to give him the ball," Winston said.

While Evans has seen his numbers dip, others have become favorite targets of Winston. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson leads the Bucs with 20 catches for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Charles Sims follows with 14 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Evans, wide receiver Louis Murphy (169) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (139) are the only other players with at least 100 yards receiving this season.

Coach Lovie Smith didn't see much wrong with how Winston distributed the ball in Week 5, when the rookie completed 13 of 19 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown.

"Jameis was on point just about every pass he threw this past game," Smith said.

Still, Winston knows the Bucs' offense will be more dynamic if Evans becomes less of a secret.

"It's a learning process," Winston said, "for all of us."