Have the Bucs found a mini-Godwin?

by Gary Shelton on October 22, 2020

in general

Godwin is someone to copy./CARMEN MANDATO

Thursday, 3 a.m.

One is a star, a Pro Bowler. When he has been hurt, the entire huddle walks with a limp. He knows where he is going.

The other is a newcomer, and his price tags are still attached. He just got here.

Yet, if you squint, you can see a lot of Chris Godwin in rookie Tyler Johnson.

That’s kind of what we saw on tape in college," said Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. "That’s something that reminded us of guys that we really

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like. He was a very good run after catch guy [and] he was a very physical receiver. That was one of the things we liked about him a bunch.”

Oh, Johnson has a lot of ground to make up before you can make an honest comparison with Godwin. But the last two weeks, Johnson has caught five passes, including a touchdown. There seems to be something there.

“I’ve seen a lot of really, really good things from Tyler," Godwin said. "I think over the couple months that he’s been here so far, I’ve seen a lot of growth. You can tell that he’s having a lot more fun now that he has a really good understanding of the offense [and] he’s learning more. He’ll continue to get better with the more experience that he gets. I love the type of questions that he’s asking and he’s very receptive to coaching. I think if he continues to do those things, he’ll continue to grow and he’ll continue to get better.”

For Johnson, a fifth-round draft pick from Minnesota, there are worse receivers to emulate than Godwin and Mike Evans.

“They’ve been very helpful from the day that I first stepped in the building," Johnson said. "They’ve been right here, taking me under their wing [and] they’ve been helping me become a professional athlete, whether that’s me running out of my breaks, seeing different coverages [or] me knowing who to block and different looks. It’s been a lot of the small things that people really don’t get to see. I’m definitely going to continue to learn from those guys. Like you said, they’re a bunch of great guys (and) I’ve got a lot of great guys in the receiving room that I’m learning from. It’s definitely been very, very helpful and it’s a blessing to be around them.”

Considering all the hype of the off-season, and all of the payroll spent, it might be strange to suggest the Bucs' offense is behind its defense. But the offense continues to sputter in games. Some of that is because of injury, some because of newness. But the offense will be counted on Sunday night against the Las Vegas Raiders.

In that game, the Bucs will attempt to repeat what they accomplished over the last three quarters of their win over Green Bay.

“I think it’s looking back and seeing how you got there and why did you play so well?" Arians said. "Again, I go back to last week’s preparation. Thursday and Friday, there was just something special about the practice field. I didn’t know if we were going to win, but I knew we were going to play well. My challenge is [that] we set a standard – can we match that standard this week in our preparation? So far, we have.”

One of the keys to the defense has been the play of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

“I’m not sure (where he ranks) all-time, but he’s up there," Arians said. "He’s been at a high, high level for a long time. I think he’s enjoying being one-on-one more this year than he was last year. I think he was the most double-teamed player in the league last year. He’s playing at a high level and I don’t see any drop off in his play. One thing about him is he takes such great care of himself and he’s very meticulous in his preparation physically and mentally that he can maintain that.”

Sunday's game is scheduled to begin at 8:20 p.m.

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