Many things will be different for Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin this season. He has a new coaching staff, new playbook, a new teammate at receiver, and most importantly, a new role in this offense.
And just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s such a bad situation for Godwin. He is moving into an expanded role as the No. 2 receiver, and also should get more snaps inside at the slot. The latter of which could lead to a higher amount of catches and overall production.
Despite so many things changing around him, Godwin has stayed the same this offseason with his preparation towards next season in a new offense under Bruce Arians.
“We all have to prepare ourselves for what the offense brings,” Godwin said. “I think it’s no secret that coach Arians likes to take shots and use his receivers, and that excites us. I don’t think it has to make me prepare any differently than anybody else would. I come in day in and day out and try to be ready.”
Godwin will be playing a similar role to how future Hall of Hame receiver Larry Fitzgerald was utilized in Arians’ offense for the Arizona Cardinals. He appreciates the comparisons to Fitzgerald and the coaches having enough confidence to play him in a similar role, but Godwin is not about hypothetical expectations of others.
“It’s cool seeing those types of things,”Godwin said. “But at the same time, everything, preseason, it doesn’t really matter until you put the film on. I’m not really big on all that preseason talk because if we don’t execute, then none of it will matter. I’m more interested in looking at the season afterwards and seeing how I actually did, and seeing if the expectations that I had for myself if I live up to it.
His main goal has always been to play winning football. Even if that means he isn’t the top guy.
“I’d rather be a 50-catch guy that won a Super Bowl then a 100-catch guy that isn’t in the playoffs, Godwin said. “It’s all about execution, all that preseason doesn’t matter to me. I got to execute day in and day out.”
Of course the Bucs will need Godwin to be one of those top players on the team if they expect to have a good season.
As exciting as everyone seems to be over new coach Bruce Arians, Godwin is more concerned about getting everyone on the same page. He believes in the players on this team, but acknowledged that it will take all of them working together if they want to be better then last year.
“I think that remains to be seen,” said Godwin about if the offense can be better than last season. “I think obviously we have a ton of talented guys and it’s just a matter of how hard we work and how well we’re gelling, how well we’re executing to see how successful we are. Like I said, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can be one of the top offenses in the league, like I said, it’s execution. We got to go to work, we got to put in time, and we got to be on the same page.”
Godwin significantly improved from his rookie season to his second year, compiling 59 receptions for 842 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. Part of the reason for his expanded role now is because of the departure of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, which was made easier for the Bucs knowing what type of production they can get from him.
Even entering only his third year in the NFL, he’s had more games played then fellow third-year player Bobo Wilson, and second-year receiver Justin Watson. Though he’ll have a larger responsibility now, he doesn’t think he has to change his leadership qualities, choosing to continue to better himself.
“I haven’t really given it much thought,” Godwin said. “But I don’t really think anything changes for me. I’ve always been a guy that each and every year, each and every day, I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to look for something to grow at and if I took a different approach to that this year because Adam and D-Jax are gone, then I think I’d be doing myself a disservice. I’m going to stay within the realm of myself and just continue to try and improve on the things that I know I need to improve on. Try to improve on myself.”