Welcome back to the latest edition of Job Number One as the Panthers travel the seas to London to face the Buccaneers for the second and final time this season. The last time we looked at Tampa Bay, we highlighted Mike Evans as Job Number One in Week 2 – now it’s time to take a look at the other starting receiver for the Bucs.
Third-year wideout Chris Godwin is having a terrific 2019. He’s eighth in catches (33), third in receiving yards (511) and leads all receivers in touchdowns through five weeks (6). He’s been unreal statistically in his first year under Bruce Arians, and he’s been an excellent fit in the Buccaneers’ deep-pass-happy offense.
The last time Godwin faced Carolina he had eight catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. With that said, what do Panthers fans need to know in regards to his skill set? Let’s take a look.
First, let’s look at Godwin’s touchdown from the Thursday Night matchup against the Panthers in Week 2. Here Godwin faces off against Donte Jackson.
A very nice route from Godwin. Jackson’s coverage is pretty soft on this play, but the receiver’s clean footwork on this post route is noteworthy.
Next, let’s get a look at a play where Jackson gives Godwin tighter coverage. The Buccaneers offense starts off in their own end zone on this snap, where Jackson uses press coverage against Godwin.
This is a pretty good release from Godwin, but the speed and hands from Jackson make them evenly matched here. As aforementioned, Godwin does manage to catch this ball, but partly because of the tight coverage he’s unable to get both feet in bounds.
Next, let’s take a little breather from deep routes and look at something a little simpler – although bringing down Godwin is anything but simple.
Godwin is currently tied with Jarvis Landry for the 11th most yards after the catch through five weeks, with 183 of his yards coming after the catch. At 6-1 and 209 pounds, he’s not the biggest receiver we’ll ever see, but as these two plays show, he runs at a high pad level, making him slippery and tough to bring down at the catch point.
In addition to getting yards after the catch on deep and intermediate routes, occasionally, Godwin will be used as a screen option. He had the fifth-highest 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine, so he’s certainly no slouch in the speed department.
Inside the red zone is another area where Godwin is no slouch either. In 2018 he tied for the eighth most red zone touchdowns (6) and in 2019 he’s currently tied for fourth place (3).
Godwin runs an out route to the right corner of the end zone on this red zone snap. It’s difficult to see in stills, but Godwin manages to get both feet in bounds on this play, securing the touchdown pass from Jameis Winston.
Godwin’s toughness at the catch point allows him to harness this ball in without getting bullied by the defensive back. This isn’t a spectacular play, but it’s an important one that shows that he has the basic fundamentals of receiving in his hip pocket.
Last, let’s take a look at how Godwin’s played against another NFC South opponent. Last week at New Orleans, he caught seven passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, with one of his receptions occurring on this impressive snap against third-year corner Marshon Lattimore.
Due to the amount of attention Mike Evans has faced, Godwin hasn’t faced an overwhelming amount of press coverage, but in the few instances he’s been in that situation he’s had nice plays like this.
Another thing to keep in mind regarding Chris Godwin is that 47% of his yards in 2019 have come as a slot receiver on the right side. In total, 75% of his yards have come from the slot. James Bradberry has had little trouble guarding Godwin, as he’s given up a 45.6 total passer rating for his career against the Buccaneers receiver – but Bradberry will likely be following Mike Evans around the field. Godwin has had a little more success against Donte Jackson, who’s given up a 69.4 rating when the two face off – he might actually be a better matchup for Ross Cockrell, who can be a little bit more physical with him and has allowed only six receptions on 19 attempts when they’ve faced off.
Godwin is receiving the most snaps of any Bucs receiver, even beating out Mike Evans (327 to 311). It’s obvious at this point that Tampa Bay will heavily involve the third-year star, mostly in the slot. Godwin hasn’t been the flashiest receiver this season, but he’s been ridiculously productive, and combines a solid skillset with great, consistent hands, making him Job Number One for Week 6 in London.