Chris Godwin Probably Won't Catch 100 Balls. It Doesn't Matter.

May 01, 2019
Chris Godwin Probably Won't Catch 100 Balls. It Doesn't Matter.

There are only two conclusions one can draw upon hearing Tampa Bay Head Coach Bruce Arians proclaim Chris Godwin could be “close to a 100-catch guy” in 2019: Godwin will overtake Mike Evans as the Bucs’ No. 1 receiver, or Tampa will shatter NFL passing volume records.

He’s never coming off the field,” Arians added, forcing me to relive the trauma of believing Buffalo coaches a while back who said C.J. Spiller would get the football until he puked.

Only six teams in NFL history have sustained two 100-reception pass catchers, including last year’s Pittsburgh Steelers. It requires quite the collision of factors: an exceedingly narrow target distribution, two dominant receivers, and a massive volume of pass attempts. The Bucs might have that in 2019 with Evans and Godwin soaking up all the targets—JuJu Smith-Schuster and his understudy Antonio Brown combined for 334 targets in 2018—and maybe Jameis Winston will finish 2019 as fantasy’s runaway QB1.

But here’s the thing: Evans, in five incredibly productive pro seasons, has never cracked the 100-reception mark. And Evans has enjoyed a target hog role throughout the various offensive schemes and quarterbacks he’s endured in Tampa. So yes, Godwin—the third-year wideout who drew 95 targets in 2018, posting WR26 numbers—would probably have to become the team’s No. 1 receiver, or share the role with Evans.

Any time a head coach or offensive coordinator makes a (seemingly) outrageous comment about a player’s potential, it’s only natural to examine that coach’s history to see if his outlandish claim has any basis in the vast computer simulation we call reality. Such an examination hardly ever offers a crystal clear view of what the coach may or may not do in the coming season, though it can inform our decision making, and therefore our process, which is our queen, our king, our every deity.

Below is a look at the opportunity of every WR1 and WR2 in an Arians offense since he got his first coordinator gig in 2001.

Top Receivers in Bruce Arians' Offenses
Year Team WR1 Targets WR2 Targets
2001 Browns 129 72
2002 Browns 120 97
2003 Browns 93 79
2007 Steelers 113 85
2008 Steelers 124 114
2009 Steelers 138 137
2010 Steelers 98 95
2011 Steelers 124 114
2012 Colts 195 124
2013 Cardinals 135 113
2014 Cardinals 103 102
2015 Cardinals 145 101
2016 Cardinals 150 120
2017 Cardinals 161 69
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