It doesn’t matter if they were 8-5, 10-3, or their current record of 5-8, the Bucs haven’t changed their effort. The Bucs’ playoff chances look bleak, and many teams in their situation might just fold it in the final three, but according to the Bucs players, they still have a job to do.
“I think we all have to take the approach that we’re still playing,” wide receiver Chris Godwin said. “We’re all paid to do our job and that’s to put a good product on the field and go out there and try to win games, I don’t think that really changes regardless of what time of year it is.”
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and WR Chris Godwin – Photo by Getty Images
Godwin saw first hand last year in his rookie season that there’s something more to play for than just finishing out the season. One of the reasons could be for the head coach. The Bucs enjoy playing for head coach Dirk Koetter, which was apparent dating back to last season.
The Bucs were 4-11 heading into the last game of the season with many questions about whether or not Koetter would be around for 2018, and what did they do? Only defeated their division rival and NFC South leading New Orleans Saints. That may have saved Koetter’s job, and made it clear that they play for more.
So this year in 2018 they find themselves in a similar situation with a bit of a better record. What would change for Godwin in the way he handles games in this kind of process?
“The same way that we’ve been approaching it,” Godwin said. We’re going to go out there and do our best, we’re gonna go out there and try to put a great product on out there and try to win this game. We’re all competitors here so we’re going to try and get a victory because we don’t know anything else.”
The competitiveness is the most important part of that statement. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you’re a second year guy like Godwin, or say a veteran Super Bowl champion with a ton of individual accolades like Jason Pierre-Paul. This team has a strong bond with each other despite a losing record, so that’s not going to stop someone like Pierre-Paul from giving it his all.
Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul
“I’m approaching the last three the way I approach all the other games,” Pierre-Paul said. “Just go out there and give it my all. I feel like as long as you do that and every guy in here does, than you should have no questions about your balling, it is what it is.
“We’re all pros in this game and this is our profession, if you want to slack off out there, that’s when guys get hurt. I’m pretty sure every guy in here knows we’re not making the playoffs, but you still go out there and give it your all.”
The message is clear from Pierre-Paul as well as the rest of the team. There is plenty to play for even if it’s not for the playoffs this season.