Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin Emphasizes Route Efficiency at Minicamp 

Entering his seventh season in the NFL, Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin is honing in on route precision during mandatory minicamp

CG minicamp

Mandatory minicamp is officially underway for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and seven-year veteran Chris Godwin has his eyes set on refining his route running for the 2023 campaign. Complacency is often the thief of progress and Godwin, who despite his solidified status as one of the NFL's best slot weapons, is still focused on perfecting his craft. 

Heading into the 2023 season, Godwin's aspirations have shifted from what they were one year ago. In Week 15 of the 2021 season, Godwin suffered a torn cruciate ligament in his right knee that required surgery on January 3rd. The Penn State product spent the 2022 offseason working through a grueling rehabilitation process to be ready for the start of the regular season. Emboldened by the scar on his right knee, Godwin returned for the Week One matchup at AT&T Stadium and suffered a hamstring ailment in the opener. He was sidelined for two games and returned in Week Four against the Kansas City Chiefs. Each game, Godwin further distanced himself from the injury and grew in confidence rep-by-rep. 

Godwin finished his 2022 campaign with a career-high 104 catches and surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark. He routinely exploited cushion in coverages when defensive backs did not challenge at the line of scrimmage, showcasing his prowess in the underneath/intermediate area of the field. This offseason, Godwin continues to work his way back to peak-explosive form after the catch. In 2021, Godwin averaged 6.3 yards-after-catch (YAC) per reception and last season, the number slightly dipped to an average of 5.2 YAC/reception per Next Gen Stats. While Godwin's metric total was still seemingly impressive in 2022, it did not meet the lofty expectations he has placed on himself. 

"I can work on bettering myself as a player and seeing where I need to improve at and spending some time working on that as opposed to trying to figure out how to make my knee not be swollen," Godwin stated. "I really want to be more efficient in my routes. I feel like I can do a better job of that at the top of my routes and my releases. I want to do better with my run after the catch. I felt like that was something that dropped off last year for obvious reasons, but I think there are a lot of ways that I can improve.

"If you look at the greats, they are always looking at ways to improve. You would not hear Aaron Donald say, 'Yeah, I'm good.' He is one of the best defensive players of all time. Then you have Cooper Kupp, he won the triple crown, but he is always working. Same thing with Davante Adams; Those are guys that look for ways to improve and that is who I want to be." 

Godwin will have an extended role in 2023, splitting reps on the outside as well as in the slot. Last season, Godwin played 60% of his snaps out of the slot. Add in formations where he was lined up tight with the offensive line or in the backfield, and 27% of his snaps came on the outside. Under the direction of Dave Canales, the Bucs reimagined offense will look different come fall, including the role of Godwin. There is expected to be an increase in movement from scrambles and bootlegs to misdirection and mid-zone. Regardless of what the alignment or launch point is, one thing is certain: Chris Godwin will play an integral role in the Buccaneers' 2023 aerial attack.

"You'll see a little bit of everything," said wide receiver's coach Brad Idzik. "And I know that sounds like coach speak, right? 'Oh, I don't want to give away our trade secrets.' Chris [has shown] early on that he can stretch the field and that's what I want to remind him of. He can stretch the field. I know he is coming off of the knee injury from last year, but he has already shown it out there. When you put him outside, this guy is a problem one-on-one."

Whether Godwin is tasked with generating yards after catch off jet sweeps/hooks, a decoy on misdirection to get the defensive coverage tell, or used vertically to stretch out the opposition, Godwin will be a focal point of the retooled Tampa Bay offense. As he cultivates an enhanced, detail-oriented route tree to exploit defensive backs, Godwin will catapult himself forward.

Latest Headlines