NFL

Godwin: Bucs' continuity gives champions Tampa chance to be even better in 2021

By Sports Desk June 14, 2021

Chris Godwin believes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' continuity in the 2021 season gives them an opportunity to be even better than in last year's Super Bowl-winning campaign.

The Buccaneers won their second Lombardi Trophy in the 2020 season, routing the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV 31-9 as Tom Brady capped his first year in Tampa with his seventh title.

Brady is under contract for two more years and will be 44 by the time the new term gets under way. However, the seemingly ageless quarterback appeared reinvigorated by his switch from the New England Patriots and will again have a stacked roster around him in 2021.

Despite working under the constraints of a salary cap negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Bucs kept the core of their roster intact, with wide receiver Godwin retained on the one-year franchise tag.

The Bucs also gave head coach Bruce Arians a pay rise and extended the contract of general manager Jason Licht.

Godwin is poised be a free agent in 2022, but his focus in the more immediate future is on ensuring the Bucs compete to defend their title.

"This offseason, we became the first Super Bowl winner ever to bring back all of our starters, our key subs, our coach and coordinators and our GM," Godwin, guest-authoring Peter King's Football Morning in America column, wrote. 

"We appreciate what the GM, Jason Licht, did bringing us all back to take our best shot.

"No one knows what kind of impact that will have, when you bring all the players back. But I think it's a really good thing because we felt like we hadn't played our best ball, even in the Super Bowl.

"We scored 31 points, but it wasn't a great game for our offense for four quarters. We know we can be better. And I think we will be better.

"Our offseason gives us a really good opportunity to do that. But anybody who comes in saying we're automatically in great position to win again because we brought everyone back? You're lying to yourself. Familiarity guarantees nothing except giving us a good starting point."

Godwin has little doubt in Brady's ability to make the most of his supporting cast, and he expects the NFL's most serial winner to allow no team-mate to rest on their laurels as the season draws near.

"As for Tom, we've thrown a few times this spring. His arm is so live," Godwin added. 

"What I appreciate about him is the ball he throws is so receiver-friendly—the touch, and putting it right where you want it.

"I think, mentally, he has a good feel for the fact that he knows everyone isn't like him. Because he's like, "Okay, on to the next one".

"But he's not forcing his attitude onto anyone. Now, if we get to training camp, and guys keep saying, Remember this and that from last year? Then he'd say something. But I don't see that happening. We know what the mission is."

Related items

  • Tagovailoa amid trade rumours: 'I don't not feel wanted' Tagovailoa amid trade rumours: 'I don't not feel wanted'

    Tua Tagovailoa says he is not worried about trade speculation linking the Miami Dolphins quarterback with a swap for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

    The 23-year-old quarterback, who is playing in his second season, has been the subject of trade speculation but said he felt reassured after conversations with Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

    The NFL's Tuesday trade deadline is approaching, although Tagovailoa said he was not thinking about it.

    "I don't not feel wanted. That's what I could say," Tagovailoa told reporters.

    "I really don't think about it. The only time I'm really hearing about it, like I've said before, is if [the communications staff] is kind of telling me what's going on within the rumours or if my agent calls me.

    "That's really when I hear it. Other than that, I don't really hear it."

    Watson requested a trade from the Texans in January and is facing 22 civil lawsuits that remain unresolved as the NFL conducts its own investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.

    Tagovailoa, who was pick five in the 2020 NFL Draft, has enjoyed the best two-game stretch of his career to date over the past fortnight, completing 75 per cent of passes for 620 yards and six touchdowns.

    The Dolphins are 1-6 this season with Tagovailoa completing 82 of 118 attempts for 835 yards, with seven touchdowns, four interceptions and five sacks across his four starts, having missed time due to a rib injury.

    Tagovailoa has shown improvements this season but the Dolphins have been let down in defense, giving up 207 points for the season, the second-highest total in the NFL through Week 7.

    The Hawaii-born QB would not be drawn on what was discussed in his conversations with Flores but insisted it reassured him.

    "Honestly, I don't base my emotions off of who says anything about me or who is saying what," he said.

    "All I can do is my job and do it to the best of my capabilities. Everything else, I mean it's out of my control. But I have the utmost confidence and trust that I am the quarterback of this team, just off of conversations that I've had with Flo and whatnot.

    "That obviously stays between us. I feel very confident that I'm the person."

    Tagovailoa started nine games in his rookie season, winning six of them as he threw 11 touchdowns to five picks with some steady but unspectacular performances.

  • Prescott limited at practice but 'preparing to play' for Cowboys Prescott limited at practice but 'preparing to play' for Cowboys

    Dak Prescott is "preparing to play" on Sunday despite being limited at Wednesday practice according to Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy.

    Cowboys quarterback Prescott suffered a right calf strain on the winning touchdown pass for CeeDee Lamb in their 35-29 overtime win over the New England Patriots on October 17.

    The Cowboys had the bye in Week 7, allowing Prescott time to recover from the injury ahead of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Prescott was listed as "limited" for practice on Wednesday where he went through extended warm-up, simulated drops and threw passes to his running backs, receivers and tight ends.

    "He's going to practice and he's going to go through the individual part of it and he's in the game plans. He's preparing to play," McCarthy said before practice on Wednesday. "He's got to cross the threshold to make sure he's full-go."

    McCarthy added: "He's going to do everything he can to play on Sunday. That's a given."

    The Cowboys head coach said backup quarterback Cooper Rush, who has not played in an NFL game since 2019, would start if Prescott is not cleared.

    "I think it's a matter of trying to make sure Cooper's ready and make sure Dak is getting what he needs," McCarthy said.

    "We've got to make sure we're getting Cooper ready too."

    McCarthy acknowledged Prescott could potentially play at quarterback with a calf strain, having seen Aaron Rodgers do that under his watch at the Green Bay Packers in 2014.

    But he added that they would take a no-risk strategy with Prescott, given the Cowboys are 5-1 and three games clear in the NFC East early in the season.

    "I think it's a clear decision, we don't want this to be a week-to-week situation, so until he clears that threshold to try to minimize the risk is really what the decision will come down to," McCarthy said.

  • Lance back in practice for 49ers after knee injury prevented 'take-off' Lance back in practice for 49ers after knee injury prevented 'take-off'

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance returned to practice on Wednesday, though there is no immediate sign of him taking the starting job from Jimmy Garoppolo.

    Lance missed the 49ers' Week 7 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts because of a knee sprain he suffered when starting in relief of the then injured Garoppolo in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.

    Garoppolo was heavily criticised for his performance in the 30-18 loss to the Colts, which saw him complete 16 of 27 pass attempts for 181 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions as San Francisco lost a fourth straight game to drop to 2-4.

    That has predictably led to calls for Lance, whom the 49ers selected after trading up to the third overall pick in this year's draft, to take the reins full-time.

    He will not start against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, however, with head coach Kyle Shanahan waiting to see how Lance's knee reacts to practice before deciding how much he will be involved if at all.

    "I don't think it's the right thing for him to start full-time right now, especially when I don't even know if he can get through practice today," Shanahan told a media conference. 

    "So, I told you guys I understood why the questions are coming, but that's why I don't understand why that keeps coming, because I want to see if he's healthy today first. And then when he's healthy for at least more than one day, then we'll start to see when it's the best time for him."

    However, Shanahan indicated he had been expecting an acceleration in Lance's development in the wake of his first start before injury curtailed his chance to build on that display, in which he went 15 for 29 for 192 yards and an interception while adding 89 yards on the ground.

    "I think it was real unfortunate that, at the time he got to play, I thought he was ready to take off a little bit after that getting that experience," Shanahan added. 

    "I thought that was going to be great for him to come back the next week, especially with Jimmy banged up a little bit, but he had an unfortunate injury, and it's lasting a little longer than expected.

    "So, I'm excited to get him out there today. But he hasn't done anything in a couple of weeks, so we'll see where his progress is now."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.