Welcome to The Hook, my weekly column that hooks you into a different Tampa Bay Buccaneers topic each Thursday, as well as some of my thoughts on the Bucs and the NFL at the end in a section called Cannon Blast.

I invite you to offer me some feedback on The Hook below in the article comments section.
Doing this full-time now going on my 11th season, I’ve learned a little bit. One thing is to hear what the coaches and general managers say, but also don’t forget to listen.

There is a big difference between hearing and listening, and while coaches and those in the front office don’t like to tip their hands, head coach Bruce Arians made a couple things clear on Monday when speaking to the media – Chris Godwin isn’t going anywhere, and after that it is all about the defense.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: USA Today

“He brings so much more than targets,” Arians said. “When you look at what he does as an outside receiver and a slot receiver, he’s so unique in that regard, and then you put the blocking in there. He’s a huge part of what we do offensively. It’s more than stats. It’s also what the guy brings to the huddle. I think with all these guys, each and every one is so different because of what they bring into the huddle, but Chris is very, very unique.”

Arians could have just said that Godwin was a good player, works hard, good in the locker room and so on, but Arians has never been one to throw a lot of smokescreens to the media – probably to the chagrin of Licht and the Glazers sometimes.

You can bet Godwin’s agent will have that quote ready when the two sides meet again to talk numbers.

During the boat parade celebration speeches at the Port of Tampa earlier this month, we all remember a very “happy” Arians grabbing the microphones during a number of those speeches and telling free agents, “Your ass ain’t going nowhere!” including to Godwin.

But that is Arians for you, and you know what?

The players love it.

If you ask most players what they want in a head coach, it isn’t the scheme, or their weekly practice schedule they mention most of the time, it’s honesty. Shoot straight, tell them where they stand and you’ll have their respect.

Arians shoots straight. You’ve never heard anything different from any of his coaching stops. From being a grad assistant at Virginia Tech, to his days with Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama to coaching the likes of Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck or Carson Palmer.

After the Godwin comment, Arians was asked about making a run at another Super Bowl and what the biggest hurdles are.

Again, we heard what Arians said, but did everyone listen?

“Well we cleared the first hurdle and that’s that we kept our coaching staff intact, other than [Antwaan Randle] El, and we’re happy for him,” Arians said. “The next thing now is to keep the players intact, keep the team intact as much as we possibly can without risking future years. Jason and I will work together as hard as we can to keep the core guys. We started last year saying, ‘If we could keep the defense together, we would have a chance’. We kept the defense together and then all of the sudden we got Tom Brady and that was the icing on the cake. It led to a Super Bowl. For me, it’s still keeping the defense together and then whatever is left – we’ll score enough points. It’s a matter of, for me, keeping the defense as solid as we can.”

Did you catch that?

“We’ll score enough points. It’s a matter of, for me, keeping the defense as solid as we can.”

Arians wants Godwin back and then this defense back.

“We’ll score enough points.”

Bucs Rob Gronkowski and Chris Godwin – Photo by: USA Today

Bucs Rob Gronkowski and Chris Godwin – Photo by: USA Today

He didn’t mention running back Leonard Fournette, wide receiver Antonio Brown or even tight end Rob Gronkowski. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t welcome those offensive free agents back, and Gronkowski will likely return, but Arians made Godwin and then the defense the priority.

While Licht was non-committal on who the Bucs would franchise tag, saying the team isn’t even sure yet, Godwin is the most likely candidate.

But signing Godwin to a long-term deal this offseason would likely be advantageous to the team. You can tag Godwin now and still work out a long-term contract up until mid-July. Godwin’s production was cut some this season (65 receptions, 840 yards with seven touchdowns) because of injuries. Say he comes back on the tag and duplicates his 2019 season (86 receptions, 1,333 yards, nine touchdowns). Now Godwin might be re-setting the entire NFL receiver market during the 2022 offseason. His price is more likely to go up, then down after the 2021 season.

Buckle up, Bucs fans. It’s going to be an interesting offseason. Repeating isn’t easy, but Arians told us what the plan is. We heard him, but did we listen?

Cannon Blast

Table of Contents

• We are going on three weeks now since the Bucs won the Super Bowl. Has it really sunk it yet? It is starting to sink in for me, but it was still such an unlikely ride that it is crazy to think it really did happen. And to do it in your home stadium? Unbelievable.

I think I’ve watched every feature and review on the internet, from the highlight videos to the Mic’d Up segment, but one I missed was former Bucs standout Ronde Barber with his breakdown. This is really good and of course having a former player give his thoughts lends even more legitimacy to it, at least for me.

Check it out below.

• Playoff Lenny? Well now according to Leonard Fournette, it’s Lombardi Lenny! And you know what? He earned it and no one can take it away from him.

Fournette this week offered up his perspective on the incredible season in ThePlayersTribune.com and it really was a nice, peel-back-the-curtain moment when I read what Fournette had to say about the journey, but also his growth as a player. Below is a sample.

A lot of people been asking me what it feels like, after everything I’ve been through, to be a world champion. And honestly … I still don’t even know what to say. It doesn’t even feel real.

But here’s what I do know: People always say that it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.

I feel that now more than ever. 

And since we got the job done and got that ring, that’s all I think about. Not the game itself. Not anything that happened on the field. I think about the journey. Everything I’ve been through. Everything we’ve been through. And the joy that we took, as a team, in the whole process. Because that’s what got us here.

That’s why we’re world champs.

You can read his full column by clicking here.

Last Laugh

• Man the internet is bad. And hilarious.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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11 months ago

Good to hear that Godwin and then the Defense is a priority. Godwin does so much for this offense. It just wasn’t as explosive of an Offense when he wasn’t in there. Keeping the Defense together will be a little more challenging with Shaq, David, both deserving to be paid. Suh will be re upped because his salary won’t break the bank. Gronk won’t break the bank either. With Fournette, we really won’t know until we find out how much he is asking for. Hopefully he will take a reasonable salary to win another ring. It’s always tough to keep… Read more »

Reply to  bucballer
11 months ago

Godwin is one of the very best receivers in the league. He would be way over 1K yards every year if he played on a team with fewer other excellent receivers or with a QB who looked to throw to him every play. Godwin: Size, speed, hands, route running, making contested catches, blocking, toughness, and puts the team first. Have I left anything out? Tag him if you have to, or if it benefits the team cap-wise to do so, but sign the man to a long-term contract. I don’t want to see Chris Godwin in anything but a Bucs… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by ScottC543
Reply to  ScottC543
11 months ago

Amen! Amen! And “Amen!” again.

Reply to  bucballer
11 months ago

agree Lost on many Fournette was cut by Jags! Can’t imagine him not being back.

11 months ago

Good Article Scott and I agree on everything you said. Go Bucs!

11 months ago

Love the statement from Fournette. Just love it.

He’s a wise man, indeed.

11 months ago

Nice to see a realistic take versus the usual pessimism on this board by fans playing fantasy GM. Godwin isn’t going anywhere.

Saints Fan
11 months ago

Get real, pirates. Godwin is gone. A team will play more than Amari Cooper money for him. Tyler Johnson will take over the role and he’s going to be much better than Chris Hogan and Amendola did for 12.

Reply to  Saints Fan
11 months ago

Wrong go on back to NO.


11 months ago

Sorry Mark, I agree Arians Loves Godwin, we all Love Godwin and want him back, but his statement about we’ll score enough points seemed more that to him we need to keep the Defense together as much as possible because of our Defense is strong then we will be good because no matter what we will figure out a way to score enough points. If our Defense stays strong, we will score enough points to win. I don’t think he’s hinting Godwin comes first. BUT I do know that when Chris was out at times we struggled, but that was… Read more »

Captain Sly
11 months ago

Mark you just may be misreading the tea leaves! Coach has 1yr before sailing into sunset so he can give a bleep about our future cap. Also this is Not the first time Old Uncle Arians “loose lips” has spewed some nonsense after sipping on one too many cups of Tito’s. 1st overall for any of this to work it has to be a collaborative effort Meaning all FA have to be willing to take a little less money to run it back. That doesn’t sound like it’s happening, Chris Godwin & Shaq Barrett have publicly stated that they want… Read more »

11 months ago

Insightful reading fantastic video. I love the nuanced quarters coverage by Ronde Barber. Thanks for including that

11 months ago

Just saw where Adam Humprhies was released by the Titans.. There is no way he is going to make the money he made the last two years anywhere else.
I wonder how he would feel about coming back to the Bucs and playing Julian Edelman for Brady.
Whatever the case, a lot of FA’s aren’t going to be signing high priced contracts this year since the ceiling is going to be low.

Reply to  drdneast
11 months ago

Saw Humphries report and thought the same thing.

Reply to  drdneast
10 months ago

nah, Scooter is younger and faster

11 months ago

Priorities look something like:

  1. David
  2. Godwin
  3. Shaq
  4. Fournette
  5. AB

I left off Suh and Gronk as I think they are nearly guaranteed to stay on reasonable deals

11 months ago

I’m going to go against the grain here. Godwin is all those things, and more, but you can’t pay two receivers #1 receiver money. Remember we found Godwin in the 3rd round, Johnson in the 5th. Receivers are replaceable. We can resign A.B., Scooter, Watson, Johnson, plus FA, and remember Brady makes receivers look good. I’d franchise Godwin, and tell him to find a trade partner. Imagine getting a first for Chris, and having two first round picks this year. You can get an edge to replace JPP next year, and a DT like Barmore to replace Suh right now.

Reply to  surferdudes
10 months ago

I’m intrigued…it almost sounds too good to ever happen but still believable

11 months ago

Hump doesn’t do what Godwin does, so he’s not really the type of slot Arians uses in his system. I’d be really surprised if Godwin isn’t here next season, $16 million for his services on the tag is well worth it for a chance to go for back to back titles. I’m sure Saints Fan must be an expert about our team, but he’s wrong about this haha. Probably Jameis trolling to see if anyone here still cares about his “sheet.” The Bucs have plenty of money and maneuverability in their cap situation to bring back their big guns if… Read more »

Reply to  BrooklynBucsFan
11 months ago

🡹 Nailed it!

11 months ago

Agree with everything; this priority list makes the most sense to me. However, I really hope they resign Gronk. Love everything he brings to the team (plus I just ordered his Super Bowl jersey :-)

Good wins with Godwin
Reply to  Selmon-63
11 months ago

I think Bucs fans might be sleeping on how important Gronk was to the offense this year. Having that fifth blocker who could threaten the deep part of the field at any moment was so clutch. Basically everything we envisioned OJ might become one day. And that performance against Washington was legendary! Gronk is up there near the top of the list for free agents we must bring back in my mind.