It’s the word that will make or break you in the NFL. If you meet them, you live to see another day on the field or the sideline. If you don’t, well, I’m sure it’s easy to think of what’s around the corner.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s hard to say what the expectations are for this season after a new coaching change and the departure of a few key players in free agency.
Two of those players were wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries. They combined to catch 87 balls for 1,590 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, which is obviously a good bit of production (26% of Tampa Bay’s passing offense to be exact).
One player expected to replace some of that is Chris Godwin, the third-year receiver out of Penn State. After two solid years to begin his career, he appears ready to take on the role.
Bruce Arians turned up the heat during the NFL Owner’s Meetings a few weeks back when he said that Godwin could be “close to a 100-catch guy” in 2019.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians says he thinks Chris Godwin can be a “close to a 100-catch guy” in 2019.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) March 26, 2019
But for Godwin, the chatter means nothing. He’s yet to cross the veteran threshold in the NFL, but he already knows talk is cheap until September.
“It’s cool seeing those types of things, but at the same time everything – preseason, it doesn’t really matter until you put the film on. I’m not really big on preseason talk and all that stuff, because if we don’t go out there and execute, none of it will matter,” Godwin said during media availability on Tuesday. “So, I’m more interested in looking at the season afterwards and seeing how I actually did and the expectation that I had for myself and if I lived up to that.”
There it is again, that word.
Would it be fair to expect Godwin to improve upon his 59/842/7 line from last season? Considering the circumstances, it’s certainly not unfair. However, success is defined differently - especially in the NFL - and Godwin’s words reflect that sentiment.
“I’d rather be a 50-catch guy that won a Super Bowl then a 100-catch guy that isn’t in the playoffs, Godwin said. “It’s all about execution, all that preseason (stuff) doesn’t matter to me. I got to execute day in and day out.”
And if he can in fact reach expectations for 2019, then the Bucs’ offense will be one step closer to finishing as a top-five unit again.
But there is still a long way to go and Godwin knows that.
“I think obviously we have a ton of talented guys and it’s just a matter of how hard we work and how well we’re executing that will determine how successful we are,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “Like I said, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can be one of the top offenses in the league. We have to go to work, we have to put in the time and we have to be on the same page.”
“We all have to be on the same page, so regardless of what the system is if we’re on the same page and we’re making it shake, man, we’re going to roll.”
With a drive and attitude like Godwin’s, that should be no problem.