The joint practices between the Bucs and the Dolphins down in Tampa have allowed both teams to get important reps against other standout players in the league. Day 2 of practice has produced incredible performances from both teams, but the standout play of not only the day, but potentially in all of the Bucs training camp, was a catch made by Bucs WR Chris Godwin.
Godwin went up against the Dolphins’ corner in Xavien Howard twice in 1-on-1s but in the second match-up, Godwin beat him for a touchdown with a highly contested grab.
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) August 14, 2019
Sikkema had this to say about his performance during Wednesday’s practice.
“In his second rep, Godwin not only gave us the play of the day, but perhaps the play of the entire training camp.
If you’re not on the Godwin train yet, you better get on, because it’s about to be full and that train is about the leave the station for good.”
But he’s not the only one predicting a breakout season for the former Penn State WR.
About to enter his third season in the NFL after having been a mid-round draft pick from Penn State, Godwin appears to be poised to become more of a nationally known name in what could be a huge year for the Buccaneers offense.
A year ago, Godwin nearly doubled his reception output to 59 from 34 in his rookie season of 2017. He also caught for 842 yards and scored seven touchdowns, while essentially being the Bucs third wide recevier target downfield. And now, with burner- but locker room problem DeSean Jackson gone from Tampa Bay, Godwin is clearly poised to assume the complementary role to Perennial Pro Bowler Mike Evans.
And earlier this summer, Godwin was praised by NFL.com, as potentially being the Buccaneers next first time Pro Bowl player. Marc Sessler compiled a list of all of the NFC teams with players that have yet to earn the Pro Bowl postseason honor and Godwin was at the top of his Bucs list.
Here was his rationale on selecting the 6’1 210lbs. Godwin:
“This was a coin flip between Godwin and dominant-when-healthy tight end O.J. Howard. New coach Bruce Arians has a reputation for deemphasizing tight ends, but he acknowledged he’s never had an athletic specimen the equal of Howard. I trust Arians will use his best players, but I know the coach has fallen hard for his young wideout — who posted a 59/842/7 line in 2018 — saying in March: “I think Chris Godwin is going to be close to a 100-catch guy, especially because I think he can play in the slot. He’s never coming off the field.”
Clearly, the Buccaneers are hoping for a huge bounce-back year from quarterback Jameis Winston who has been an injured and suspended disappointment over the last two years, while compiling just a 3 – 13 record as a starter. Winston is hoping for a fresh start under Arians, who’s got a tremendous quarterback improvement track record.
However, Winston will be the first to admit that players like Evans, Godwin and the tight end tandem of O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate will be critical to whatever success he might enjoy in 2019.
Back to Godwin, it is the perfect opportunity in year three of his four-year rookie deal for him to show big time NFL potential.
And, with the other weapons at the Bucs have, he may be in prime position to do just that.
Positive injury update news for Bucs DT Vita Vea
Bucs coach Bruce Arians gave another positive update Sunday on one of his star defensive players he’s counting on to come back from injury. It looks like hulking defensive tackle Vita Vea is still on track to potentially play in the season opener September 8th.
After the Buccaneers Sunday morning training camp workout, Arians was asked, if there was any new news on Via resting and rehabbing the sprained ligament in his left knee? He told the media:
"Obviously, when you’re put in game-winning situations and your young players perform, you’re proud of them, and they did exactly that."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 18, 2019
“He’s getting better and better everyday. No pain (in the knee). So, I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’s gonna be ready (opening day),” Arians said plainly.
The former first-round pick a year ago out of the University of Washington was injured almost two weeks ago in a one-on-one pass blocking drill, crumbling to the ground with the Bucs and their fans holding their breath. However it turns out it was only a sprain ligament that did not require surgery and Vea could still possibly play at the beginning of the regular season, including the opener with the 49ers.
Vea was seen walking on the sideline Friday night during the Bucs preseason game with the Dolphins with the aid of a heavily braced left knee.
This is the second straight training camp that Vea has been sidelined with a significant injury. Last year, he suffered a torn calf muscle on the second day of workouts and missed all of the preseason and the first three games of the regular season recovering from the injury and getting into playing shape.
When he did comeback, Vea came on strong in the second half of the season and began to show signs of promise, as to why the Bucs had picked him in the top 15 of the draft. He had a career high nine tackles in a December game in Baltimore and was all over the line of scrimmage and the backfield causing disruptions.
Then, in Dallas the following week, he was once again making plays early in the game. Although, he had a first-half sack Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott nullified by a face mask penalty, he got another one that counted by blindsiding Prescott on the final play of the first half.
Vea finished with three tackles, the sack and one tackle for loss in that game. And, in the second half of the season, he ended up with 28 tackles with three sacks and five tackles for loss in eight games.
Vea is being heavily counted on to help the interior of the Bucs defensive line in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3 – 4 defense. He along with new free agent pro bowl veteran Ndamukong Suh are going to be the guys relied upon to get pressure up the middle for the defense.
Report- Bucs have extended GM Jason Licht’s contract
Hoping to practice some form of continuity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly extended the contract of GM Jason Licht.
This after a report Saturday morning from Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud, that Licht has been given a five-year contract extension to remain with the team:
Bucs signed general manager Jason Licht to a new five year deal https://t.co/g8fswc0gyJ
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) August 17, 2019
A big part of the reason why the Glazer family, which owns the team, wanted to keep Licht is: his ability to lure former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to come out of retirement and join them this past January.
Further, Stroud reports that Arians made it a condition of his coming out of retirement that Licht remain with the team long-term and that the Bucs keep embattled starting QB Jameis Winston.
Licht had been given a one-year extension for 2019 before this offseason, and the Buccaneers had already committed to keep quarterback Jameis Winston for the fifth year option of his rookie contract. Then, once former coach Dirk Koetter was fired in January, Licht’s previous relationship with Arians helped the Bucs get their new coach.
Licht was the assistant general manager with the Cardinals, when Arians was hired in 2013 and led them eventually to the NFC Championship Game in 2014.
Licht became the Buccaneers general manager at that the start of that same season, but has had a rocky tenure of results. This includes only one winning season out of five and several free agent moves and draft picks that have backfired.
None bigger than when Licht traded up in the 2016 draft for FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round, only to have Aguayo falter and be released the following year in training camp.
Licht has also had free agent busts like former Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker and last year, Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. Both of whom we’re paid heavily but did nothing in their one season before being released.
Licht and his staff do deserve some credit for finding unheralded players like tight end Cameron Brate, running back Peyton Barber and former wide receiver Adam Humphries. All of whom were undrafted and have been quality contributors over the last couple of seasons.
The team had no official comment on Stroud’s report of the extension.