TAMPA — Chris Godwin had no catches against the Panthers but he was targeted with plenty of questions Thursday about his relationship with Todd Bowles after the Bucs coach suggested his lack of production was related to injuries.
Godwin said he met with Bowles and offensive coordinator Dave Canales about how to make better use of him in the offense going forward, adding that he didn’t feel disrespected.
“I don’t think disrespected is the right term,” Godwin said. “I think it’s tough, because obviously it was tough getting through the game (Sunday). We all go through things physically. Being out there and trying to put everything on the line for the team and trying to be available as I can, you want to contribute and that didn’t happen the way I would’ve hoped.
“But it’s things that you live and you learn from, right? At the end of the day, I was still there, I was able to contribute in some capacity. I don’t think Coach Bowles had any malice in what he was saying.”
Godwin had only three targets and no catches against Carolina but ran for a touchdown. He has only caught one touchdown pass this season but has 53 receptions for 606 yards.
Bowles seemed to suggest Monday that Godwin’s injuries were the reason for his lack of production in the passing game.
“We were subbing him out a lot,” Bowles said. “Obviously, he’s a little nicked up, so he’s not totally 100%. Nobody is, but he is probably banged up more than most.”
Godwin played 52 snaps against Carolina, right on his average of 52.5 per game this season. On Wednesday, Godwin’s wife, Mariah, accused the Bucs of “blatantly lying” about why her husband failed to have a catch Sunday. She clarified her comments Thursday, saying the team was “implying negativity” on Godwin’s work ethic by referencing his history of injuries.
“I think her intent with the whole thing was it wasn’t a play count-type thing,” Godwin said. “That wasn’t the reason why things didn’t play out how we had hoped and just make everyone understand I work my ass off, which I do. I work my ass off to make sure I’m ready to play, to make sure I give my best to my teammates and that I’m not a liability. That was it. That’s my dawg and I’ll always have her back and the same is true for me.”
Godwin said his wife wanted to make sure fans knew what he had done to be able to play Sunday and didn’t want the Bucs to use injuries as an excuse. Godwin had been questionable leading up to the game with a neck injury.
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Canales took the blame Thursday for not finding more ways to get Godwin involved in the offense.
“I mean, just the numbers show like (he played) 82% of the snaps,” Canales said. “That’s a full load. I think we had reinforcements ready because he was on the injury report working through some things throughout the week. ... He was just a stud on game day. He had the one opportunity to make a play and he did.
“It’s a huge reminder for me, right? The guy is just magic with the ball, so I have to do a better job. I come here and say it every week. I’m not satisfied with how we’re using Chris in our offense. He’s a huge part of what we do.”
Godwin hasn’t seen a lack of targets this season, even though he had three Sunday with no catches. In fact, his 85 targets are more than the Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle (83), and 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk (72) and Deebo Samuel (53).
“I’ve never had any malice or like ill will to Dave or Coach Bowles or anybody,” Godwin said. “I think I have a really good relationship with them. They’re all part of the team and I consider them to be like cool people to me. So now it’s how to move forward and make this the best that we can make it because we want to win, we want to go to the playoffs. ...
“Nobody is beefing. We’re all great right now.”
Bowles is not scheduled to meet with the media again until Friday.
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