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Chris Godwin Dishes on Comfortability in Offensive Role, Marriage of Run and Pass

Behind the podium during Organized Team Activities, Bucs’ wide receiver Chris Godwin discussed his comfortability in the slot and the installation of Liam Coen’s reimagined system


Chris Godwin, the Buccaneers' do-it-all playmaker, will play an integral role in Liam Coen's reimagined offense. Godwin is able to attack off-man coverage, sort through traffic, find soft spots in zone being patrolled by linebackers/safeties, run with the ball on jet sweeps and is a willing blocker in the trenches. He executes with pristine discipline and is unselfish in nature on the gridiron. Godwin will revert back to a full-time role in the slot in 2024, which will maximize his skillset.

"I think the flexibility of being inside allows me to be able to be more creative and allows me to be more involved in the run game without it being so obvious," noted Godwin. "It allows other guys to move around, as well. That seems to be part of the emphasis of the offense, too, is allowing guys to be versatile and playing in whatever spots we need to be."

Modern NFL offenses rely heavily on slot receivers to get open quickly, providing the quarterback with a friendly outlet to move the chains. Short passes and quick drops can help supplement the run game and Godwin being positioned on the inside of the formation can help conceal his blocking responsibility pre-snap. The Penn State product beats defenders with physicality at the catch point and he is adept at extending rush lanes from one-on-one blocks.

Coen, who has roots in the Los Angeles Rams' system with Sean McVay and most recently was calling plays at the University of Kentucky, will implement an iteration in Tampa Bay come fall. As the Bucs work through the early stages of installations, one shift has been noted by players and coaches: an uptick in motion. Per ESPN, the Bucs' offense used motion before or at the snap on 42.8% of its snaps last season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. In contrast, the Miami Dolphins led the NFL in that category, using motions and shifts on 82.8% of their offensive snaps. One of the coaching additions that the Bucs made to their staff during the offseason is from that renowned Dolphins' system. Josh Grizzard, Tampa Bay's new pass game coordinator, spent the previous five seasons in Miami, including the last two under Head Coach Mike McDaniel - a product of the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. The 49ers fell second on that aforementioned motion-usage list behind Miami in 2023, putting players in motion before the snap on 75.4% of their plays (Rams were third at 70.4%). The goal of motion is manipulation of the defense through strategy, aimed at creating mismatches in coverage. While the principle of motion is the same, the application varies by Shanahan, McVay and McDaniel based on team personnel.

In 2019, the Rams pioneered a system based out of 11 personnel (90%) with a heavy-dose of motion and pre-snap movement to disorient defenses. By keeping all three receivers on the field in 11 personnel, defenses were forced to try and combat. Some teams employed base personnel as opposed to a nickel package in an attempt to prevent Todd Gurley from gashing a lighter box. However, given the club's three speedy receivers, defenses were often left with no alternative but using a nickel alignment. Having the same players on the field for nearly every play provided the Rams with an advantage in play-action (34.6% of Jared Goff's dropbacks in 2018), not disclosing their intention by formations. What allowed the Rams to have success in using an onslaught of 11 personnel and not tipping their hand at a 'pass,' became the blocking prowess of skill players. In the Bucs' retooled offensive system, Godwin's ability as a blocker opens up the playbook for Coen.

"There will be a lot of moving parts for defenses to have to try and figure out," stated Godwin. "I think the way they are teaching it will allow us to have cohesiveness within the offense. We have a bunch of different terms and phrases that can get us into one formation or one play that looks like a different play. I think how it all marries up will be beneficial for us."

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