Mike Evans didn’t mince words when he was asked how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers feel about their NFC South rival, the New Orleans Saints.

“We don’t like the Saints,” Evans said back in June.

It’s easy to see why those in pewter and red dislike those in black and gold. Since Evans has been a Buccaneer (2014), the team is 5-12 against the Saints. And that number includes the 30-20 playoff win during the 2020-2021 postseason.

Things have been really bad lately, outside of the playoff win, of course. The Buccaneers haven’t beaten the Saints in the regular season since the 2018 season opener and they are 0-6 since Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles came to town in 2019.

Tom Brady is 0-4 during the regular season and has been outpaced by a combined score of 117-62 over the course of those meetings. Brady has lost all four matchups by nine or more points.

Those molly-whoppings are bound to frustrate any player or team. And it’s clear the Saints have been getting under the Buccaneers’ collective skin. None of us can forget Ceedy Duce posting up on Brady during the Saints’ most recent win.

Well, based off reports out of Saints camp, the Buccaneers are going to have another player getting under their skin in rookie offensive lineman Trevor Penning.

Penning was kicked out of practice the past week for fighting. There have now been three recorded altercations involving Penning, but it’s not a surprise. The kid showed a toughness and mean streak on tape that Saints coaches loved. It was a big reason why they drafted him.

“This reputation is not unfounded,” Saints coach Zach Streif said Saturday. “He’s a very physical, very aggressive, tough football player and that’s why he’s here. So we don’t want any of that to go away. We just want to make sure he’s toeing the line and not crossing the line.”

Streif isn’t just paying lip service, either. He’s channeling Penning’s aggressiveness and he’s trying to use it in an impactful, innocuous (to the Saints), and efficient manner that benefits the team.

“Listen, it’s a play-by-play basis, right? So, if he does something that’s illegal and it’s dangerous and there’s a reaction to it – we’re going to coach him on [it like], ‘You can’t do that. That’s not a legal thing to do.’,” said Streif. “If he’s driving a guy 15-yards down the field and that guy’s response is to get out of the middle of him and throw a punch, we’re going to say, ‘Great job, Trevor.’ And we’re going to have the other coach say, ‘Hey you can’t do that.'”

The thought of Penning unleashing on Vita Vea and co. – and then the counter punch from Vea and co. automatically equates to must-see TV and it’s certainly going to turn the Buccaneers-Saints feud up a few notches.

I’m sure the Buccaneers will be champing at the bit to give the rook a taste of NFL life, especially since the two teams meet as soon as Week 2.

Get your popcorn ready, folks.

Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports