You might not think of a receiver going into his 3rd season as a veteran and locker room leader, but then again you’re not Chris Godwin. With only two seasons with the Buccaneers under his belt, Godwin sees one of his roles on the team to help mentor the younger guys in the same manner that the older guys mentored him when he came into the league. One of the main parts of that, in his opinion, is to help them understand that each time they take the field to practice, they have to work on building trust. Not just trust between Jameis and himself or Jameis and Mike Evans, but between Jameis and the entire receiving corps which includes tight ends. He feels that they have to build a trust between them all so that when it’s game day and the fire ignites, they can count on Jameis to have the trust necessary to look their way and they have to build the trust necessary to understand Jameis is going to make the decisions necessary to advance the ball, and that decision may not always result in the ball coming their way, which is something Godwin is completely fine with as seven points is seven points no matter who makes the catch.
While he would like to walk into camp with a new coaching staff and a new playbook and have it be as simple as go out and get open, he knows the reality is much different, but it’s something he’s embracing. From the new terminology to the new plays such as the ability to finally have some option plays added into the playbook, Godwin admits it’s a work in progress, but is confident that he and the other receivers will get to where they need to be. The ability to run some option plays is something he’s extremely excited about because he feels it gives him the chance to exploit any weaknesses he may find in the opposition and use that weakness to help the team in any way he can. It says a lot about the previous coaching staff when a player is happy just to finally be able to run option routes, which is generally found in the playbook of every team in the league, with the exception of Koetter’s Bucs.
Godwin has been predicted by some to be a hundred reception player this year, and while he thinks it’s cool to be talked about in that way, he says he’s not focused on anything like that, as it’s the wrong thing, as his focus is simply on becoming a better player than he was yesterday, so that he can be someone his team can rely on when the game is on the line or when they’re down in the red zone. A receiver who is working to become a major red zone threat is a huge bonus for a team that struggled in the red zone quite a bit last season, a struggle that not only can cost the Buccaneers points but a struggle that can result in turning the ball over and leading to the opposition scoring.
Chris is the first guy to admit that he still has a lot of work to do in order to be considered one of the best receivers in the league, but it’s work that he’s willing to put in, because being mentioned with Mike Evans as one of the best receivers in the league is a goal that he is determined to work towards every chance that he gets. What has helped him with working towards that goal is just remembering to get back and play the next play. No matter if he makes a big catch for forty yards down the field or a ten yard catch for a touchdown, no matter if he tips a pass that winds up going the other way for six points, or if he drops a wide open easy dump pass, he knows that he can’t let any of that get to him or affect what he does, he just has to get back and be ready for the ball to come his way again.
As long as they can come together as a family, work together as a unit, build the trust among themselves, and be ready for the next play each and every time, Godwin feels that they can accomplish a great deal as a team and go a long way towards getting to the playoffs. As long as every player takes that type of mentality and that same work ethic combined with the new coaching staff and a revitalized playbook, there’s no reason to think that they won’t wind up right where they want to be, come week 17.