Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rise and shine: Bucs’ Chris Godwin continues promising emergence

TAMPA — Chris Godwin's alarm goes off at 5:50 most mornings, and by 6:20, he is already at One Buc Place.

He's not the first player there, but the 22-year-old receiver's arrival, on many levels, is never in question.

RELATED: More Bucs coverage

"The quarterbacks are always here, a couple of offensive linemen, but I would say under 10," Godwin said of his early-bird teammates. "It's less about a competition to be here first as it is me making sure I'm here with time to get into my routine."

Godwin came to the Bucs as a third-round pick out of Penn State last year with a reputation as being mature, focused, detail-oriented. Establishing a routine is the framework for his emergence in his second NFL season: Longevity, he says, comes a single day at a time, through consistency.

RELATED: More from Greg Auman

His day starts with a smart breakfast (egg whites, bagel, potatoes for carbs), stretching and rolling out, getting ready for the day ahead.

"I'm trying to be here for a long time," Godwin said Wednesday on the second day of mandatory minicamp. "I believe if I come out here and be a professional, that's day in, day out, trying to be a model of consistency."

Godwin had a quiet start to his NFL career, with just eight catches for 83 yards in his first eight games. He emerged in the second half, with 26 catches for 442 yards, hauling in his first career touchdown for a game-winning score on Jameis Winston's final throw of the 2017 season.

That was Dec. 31 in a season-ending win against the Saints, and nothing pointed to the new year ahead with more excitement than Godwin. No player has drawn a steadier flow of praise from coaches throughout the offseason.

"If you were out here every day, you would have noticed Chris as one of the guys that, every day, made some kind of highlight play, on top of being very consistent," coach Dirk Koetter said Tuesday.

One play in Tuesday's practice showed the new ease with which Godwin is carrying himself: He made a leaping touchdown catch on a throw from Winston in the back of the end zone, then just as naturally, lobbed the football up for teammate Mike Evans, who dunked it over the crossbar of the goal post.

"Last year, I was just trying to find my way. Lay low, earn my stripes," Godwin said. "Just prove that I do belong. Once I proved it to myself, especially how the year ended for me, it felt like I belonged. Now I'm having fun. I'm doing what I love to do and blessed to be here."

Godwin can't point to a singular moment where the game started clicking for him, though you could make a case for a 15-10 win against the Jets in Week 10, where he had five catches for 68 yards, stepping into a larger role when Mike Evans was suspended.

"Everything was moving so fast, though not to the point where it was overwhelming," he said of his first two months. "Now, there are times where I realize I don't need to be going 100 miles an hour. I can settle down, relax and just be in my spot."

The sustained buzz around Godwin challenges Koetter and his coaches to find more balls for another emerging and talented option in the passing game. Look at yards per target last season, and Evans (7.36) and DeSean Jackson (7.42) were well behind Godwin, who averaged 9.54.  Don't forget second-year tight end O.J. Howard, who was even higher as a rookie at 11.07.

"I just look at it as being better than I was the year before," Godwin said. "I would love to have a lot better numbers than I had last year, just a result of me playing more. I don't want to have that success with sacrificing my technique, doing the little things I did right. The things I did well, I have to improve on them and produce."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) catches during a drill at mandatory mini camp on June 13, 2018 at One Buc Place in Tampa, Fla. MONICA HERNDON | Times

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] Follow @gregauman

Comments
Bucs GM Jason Licht pays tribute to a mentor and friend

Bucs GM Jason Licht pays tribute to a mentor and friend

Perhaps nobody in pro football has had a bigger impact on Bucs general manager Jason Licht than Tom Heckert, Jr., who died Aug. 3 at age 51 after a long battle with amyloidosis. Heckert spent four years as the Broncos pro personnel director, helping ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs could use another Tony Dungy to spark culture change

Bucs could use another Tony Dungy to spark culture change

TAMPA —  It seems a little odd, but Tony Dungy is just now being installed in the Bucs' Ring of Honor, two years after his bust was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Leave it to his former team.As if it matters to this man. Dungy...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tony Dungy addresses Bucs and tells them the devil is in the details

Tony Dungy addresses Bucs and tells them the devil is in the details

Tony Dungy's team's were known for being disciplined and not beating themselves with penalties and blown assignments. But the ones that reached the postseason or went deep into the playoffs always played the game the right way.When Dungy addressed Bu...
Published: 08/14/18
Dungy says 2018 Bucs have talent, but need togetherness

Dungy says 2018 Bucs have talent, but need togetherness

Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, set to be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor next month, talked with the current team for about 20 minutes on Tuesday morning, stressing the importance of them coming together this season."They have to have that toge...
Published: 08/14/18
Tony Dungy on NFL and protests during anthem: Listen to why it matters to players

Tony Dungy on NFL and protests during anthem: Listen to why it matters to players

Tony Dungy says the issue of NFL players protesting during the national anthem has been a divisive topic, but he hopes both sides can come together by listening to why players care enough to choose to protest."We really have to understand what these ...
Published: 08/14/18
Dungy: Jameis Winston must be a leader for Bucs, all the time

Dungy: Jameis Winston must be a leader for Bucs, all the time

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will miss the first three games of this season while he's suspended, and former Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy said his focus is what Winston can do to turn his current situation into a positive moving forward."I look at i...
Published: 08/14/18
Bucs’ corner injuries press Justin Evans into cameo at nickel

Bucs’ corner injuries press Justin Evans into cameo at nickel

The Bucs continue to be hit hard with injuries at cornerback, and for the third straight practice, starting safety Justin Evans was pressed into a cameo as the team's nickel cornerback on Tuesday."Because we're getting stressed in our depth at corner...
Published: 08/14/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Tony Dungy to enter Bucs’ Ring of Honor

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Tony Dungy to enter Bucs’ Ring of Honor

With Tony Dungy at One Buc Place today for a news conference in advance of his induction into the Bucs' Ring of Honor, Rick Stroud recalls Dungy's tenure as the team's head coach.Dungy established a winning culture in Tampa Bay and led the ...
Published: 08/14/18
Even bigger: Bucs TE Antony Auclair up to 270 for 2nd NFL season

Even bigger: Bucs TE Antony Auclair up to 270 for 2nd NFL season

A year ago, when Antony Auclair made the Bucs' roster as an undrafted rookie, the Canadian import was already the largest tight end at 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds.That's even more the case now as he heads into his second season with the confidence that c...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/14/18
Brent Grimes happy to be back, healthy at Bucs practice

Brent Grimes happy to be back, healthy at Bucs practice

Veteran cornerback Brent Grimes had returned to practice in a limited capacity Saturday, but Monday saw him back in 11-on-11 full-squad work for the first time in nearly two weeks."We want Brent Grimes out there. He's our best cover guy, so it's grea...
Published: 08/13/18