Although the wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin seems to have more beef with head coach Todd Bowles in this instance, we have another immediate family member calling out Baker Mayfield for his inability to distribute the ball to a superstar pass-catcher.
Baker had this problem in Cleveland with Odell Beckham Jr., and despite both the quarterback and OBJ dealing with injuries throughout their shared tumultuous time on the Browns, something just didn’t click. Eerily similar circumstances here in Tampa with Godwin, who had 202 receptions over the previous two seasons but is on pace for only 75 this year, per ESPN.com’s current projections.
𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗡𝗚: Chris Godwin’s wife took to social media to call out #Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles’ explanation on why Chris Godwin’s usage has gone down.
“I'm not sure why we are just blatantly lying here. regardless of how banged up Chris is, he continues to work his… pic.twitter.com/EvEChxnfqt
Fox Sports’ Greg Auman, a longtime Bucs beat reporter, did his best to quell the negative notions Mariah Godwin was launching out for the entire Internet to see in a lengthy thread that I’ll do my best to succinctly capture below.
Thing is, Godwin has been dinged up. He missed practice Friday with a neck injury and was questionable to play at all. The week before, he was listed with knee and elbow injuries and pushed through and played. He takes a lot of pride in doing that.
I don't think Bowles intended to "imply negativity on his work ethic," as Mariah said. Coaches are consistently positive in praising Godwin's efforts, and just acknowledged that he's dealt with injuries. Canales said last week "I'm just betting on the guy."
I don’t know what the expectation is for remembering rotation and usage on the other side of the ball. I don’t think he meant to mislead, just knew Godwin missed practice Friday and was dealing with an injury. They elevated two WRs from practice squad to guard against him not…
So yeah, Mariah Godwin was basically accusing Bowles of lying, when really it seemed more like Bowles was out to lunch, preoccupied with trying to get his side of the ball right with the Bucs’ defense. This is my problem with defensive head coaches in the modern game. Everything is so skewed toward the offense. You almost have to have a head coach who calls offensive plays to guarantee organizational stability and continuity.
Bowles was handpicked to be Bruce Arians’ successor and while it would suck to see a minority head coach get fired, his seat has to be feeling pretty hot right about now. Maybe Tampa Bay figures Bowles could do better with a little bit of a youth movement on the roster and an upgrade at QB from Baker in 2024. Also, the 5-7 Bucs are only one game out of first place in the NFC South. If they can win that dumpster fire of a division, maybe Bowles stays.
Complicating matters is the fact that Baker might actually be playing better than many of us realize — and the drops issue highlighted below has little to do with the sure-handed Godwin, who only has two drops all season, per PFF.
Accounting for drops, Baker Mayfield would be 6th in the NFL in total EPA despite very low volume, bad coaching, and a very patchy OL.
…It kind of cuts both ways, though. Winning the division, hosting a playoff game, and — uh-oh! — pulling an upset as a home dog on Wild Card Weekend would likely mean one more year of Baker under center. Thus, another season of Godwin underachieving, the offense having a clear ceiling, and potential friction in the locker room, which wouldn’t bode well for Bowles’ future.
Some Godwin-related optimism that may put his spouse’s concerns at ease for the time being, as the Bucs prepare to take on the Falcons on Sunday:
Two of Godwin's four best games ever have come in Atlanta:
Tampa Bay really is in a tough ‘tweener/no man’s land situation among where all 32 NFL teams currently stand. They’d be best served to do a true post-Tom Brady era reboot, keep Baker as a backup, and find a new franchise QB. But as long as Bowles is at the helm, any good offensive coordinator he has will garner serious head coaching consideration every hiring cycle, leading to a revolving door of play-callers for whomever is under center.
I imagine Mariah Godwin will have even more to complain about unless Bowles gets far more intimately involved with the offense. Or delegates someone to tell him snap counts/usage/etc. Because yeah, I’d say get Chris Godwin as involved as you possibly can.
In case you want more context on the Baker-OBJ thing — to be fair to Baker, he’s still getting the ball to Mike Evans plenty — here’s a throwback segment from Nick Wright about the fiasco.
Odell's dad posts video showing Baker missing throws to OBJ:
"If you think Odell is washed, go watch this video. He's running these perfect routes, getting separation, getting open. It's not that Baker is throwing it to someone else, he's throwing to no one." — @getnickwrightpic.twitter.com/7kbmbGWsAD