This offseason is unlike any other – and not just because the Buccaneers landed the biggest free agent in recent history. It's different for every player across the NFL who would be thinking about starting the offseason program at their respective facilities this week. Instead, accommodations are being made to equip players at home and with social distancing restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, their workouts will have to be solo.
That's less than ideal for guys like wide receiver Chris Godwin, who will have a new quarterback this year in Tom Brady. It's the first time Brady will be with a new team since he was drafted in 2000 and players will be the first to tell you, timing is everything.
"It's very different," Godwin said. "We're used to at this point in time being able to work out together and start to get our daily routine down pat. Obviously, this is a very difficult time for everyone. It's upon us to take it on ourselves and do the best we can to be ready whenever we are able to come back."
In order to gain some form of familiarity, the two have spoken over the phone a few times since Brady's signing. Though getting their timing down on the field is the most obvious of needs right now, another not quite so obvious one has taken precedence in those conversations.
"It's not much conversation about what each other is like as a player," Godwin said. "I think that Tom is a really smart guy and from what I can tell, I'd imagine he's watched some film on us as a team so he probably has a pretty good feel for the type of person I am or the type of player I am. The few conversations we've had have literally just been trying to get to know each other on a little bit on a personal basis and get a little bit of familiarity so that meeting in person it's not like we're meeting for the first time and now we're trying to play catch up."
Brady infamously only asked for one thing when he signed his contract with the Bucs: his teammates phone numbers. Brady has also revealed a lot over the years of the types of relationships he has with his teammates. In short, he cares about them a great deal and builds those relationships for life. That doesn't happen by just throwing them the ball on game day. It's a more wholistic style, which make no mistake, can affect play on the field just as much as drilling routes and reps.
Godwin got candid about Brady in his Zoom call with the media on Thursday. Not only is he a new quarterback, he's the quarterback. Brady has six world championships to his name. He has four Super Bowl MVP trophies and three league MVPs. He's never had a losing season as a starting quarterback. Getting on the phone with a 20-year NFL veteran could be a little daunting for anyone. Instead, Godwin has been struck by his humility.
"The biggest thing that's stuck out to me thus far is really that [Brady's] a lot more normal than he kind of seems," said Godwin. "I think you see this figure being this elite player at the top of his game and just so highly regarded that I guess you expect something a little different. But when I was talking to him, he just seemed like a really normal guy. You could kind of sense a little bit of the competitiveness and sense of urgency in him but I think that's just who he is naturally."
Urgency is probably a blanketed feeling as players, coaches, personnel and tam staff anxiously await any sort of direction for the upcoming season. There is a lot up in the air given the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn't stop everyone from wanting to get better while navigating these uncertain circumstances.
"I'm really looking forward to getting together as a group whenever this virus and all kind of calms down," said Godwin. "At this point, it's really just trying our best to make sure we're ready mentally so that whenever we get the ok, physically we're already a step ahead."
The Buccaneers have a new look in 2020 - take a look at pictures of their new uniforms!