Peter King Is Worried About Chris Godwin (And Rob Gronkowski, Too)

May 23rd, 2022

Looking at the Bucs.

It frightens Joe to think that Tom Brady’s two more trusted targets may not be with the Bucs to begin the season, and may miss a lot of time.

A guy who has a backchannel for intel from One Buc Palace, former Bucs defensive tackle and current BSPN talking head Booger McFarland, said recently that Bucs receiver Chris Godwin should not be expected to return until after Thanksgiving. Yikes.

And then there is the will he/won’t he drama from foot-rubbing tight end Rob Gronkowski. If he doesn’t return, he’s done, that is it. The Bucs playing without Godwin maybe until the final month of the season and without Gronk? That gives Joe the shivers.

Well, per Daylight-Savings-Time-scared, crossword-puzzle-puzzled, Elon-Musk-peeved, Barstool-Sports-triggered, almond-milk-sipping, hot-dog-eating-contest-protesting, mock-draft-scowlingL.L.-Bean-wearing, tennis fans’ advocate, Second Amendment abolitionistMike-Florio-arguingparrot-insensitivechewing-with-his-mouth-opensoup-gulpingCalifornia-train-romancing, anti-football proliferationouthouse-admiringairline-nappingsteerage-flyingYogi Berra-worshipingurinal-picture-takingvideo-game-playingTaylor-Swift-listeningpickpocket-thwartingBucs-uniform-frowning, Allie LaForce-smitten, Big-Ten-Network-hatingpedestrian-bumpingolive oil-lappingpopcorn-munchingcoffee-slurpingfried-chicken-eatingoatmeal-lovingcircle-jerking, craft-beer-chugging, cricket-watchingscone-loathingcollege football-naïvebaseball-box-score-readingNPR-honkfilthy-hotel-stayingfight-instigatingbarista-training, Budweiser-tolerantbaseball-scorecard-keeping, pasta-feasting, vomit-dodging scrooge, Kay-Adams-following, Coors-Light-souring, pineapple-upside-down-cake-eating social activist and NFL insider Peter King of NBC Sports fame, Joe and all Bucs fans should get the shivers.

King put out his team rankings Nos 1-32 this morning and he has the Bucs at No. 6, behind both the Rams and the Packers. A big reason is Godwin’s unknown status. King likely would have dropped the Bucs a few more spots if he knew Gronk was retiring.

6. Tampa Bay (14-5, lost in the divisional round to the Rams)

I could have put the Bucs ahead of Green Bay. Maybe I should have. I just don’t take for granted that 45-year-old Brady will just pick up where he left off. Even with bottom-feeders Carolina and Atlanta to get fat off, the Bucs will be seriously challenged by the Saints (4-0 versus Brady and Tampa in the regular season in the last two years) for division supremacy, even post-Payton. It worries me, too, that both starting guards, Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa, left in the offseason. Brady’s a statue, and anything that affects his protection is an issue. Career backup Aaron Stinnie and ex-Pat Shaq Mason have big jobs to do at left and right guard.

Have you noticed a trend in the NFC? Every top contender is somehow diminished. The Rams without Von Miller and maybe Beckham. The Packers without Davante Adams. Dallas without Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory. The Saints without long-time coach Sean Payton. Arizona without Chandler Jones, Christian Kirk and, for a six-game suspension, DeAndre Hopkins. The Bucs are part of that trend. They’ve got two new guards protecting Brady, Rob Gronkowski’s future is uncertain, and they might be without Chris Godwin—recovering from Jan. 3 ACL surgery—at the start of the season.

The Bucs scored 30 points a game last year, thanks in large part to the chemistry between Brady and Chris Godwin. In his last two full games last season, Godwin was targeted 32 times by Brady and caught 25 passes. We’re all used to Brady figuring it out with whoever he has to catch the ball, and he’ll still have Mr. Reliable, Mike Evans. But if Gronk and Godwin are missing in September … yikes. The Bucs open at Dallas, at New Orleans, Green Bay home and Kansas City home. Not too friendly.

It’s impossible to not like Tampa Bay. The Bucs are 30-9 since Brady walked on campus, and he’s still here, coming off leading the NFL in passing yards. I doubt the coaching change to Todd Bowles will be much of a factor. The schedule might be the biggest factor of all. Other than four against the Panthers and Cards and one against Seattle, I don’t see any fluff.

Joe does believe there will be a difference between former Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles. How could there not be? But that may only be a difference of a game, maybe two.

Godwin missing time is bad and the longer he is out the worse it is for the Bucs. If Gronk throws in the towel, then the Bucs are looking at Cam Brate (solid receiver, not a blocker) and two rookies at tight end, or the free agent market.

Not very comforting.

23 Responses to “Peter King Is Worried About Chris Godwin (And Rob Gronkowski, Too)”

  1. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Brady currently still has a better assortment right now to throw to than he did in NE during a lot of his time there.
    Yes we all want to see CG actually play, but the reality is this will be the 4th straight year he will miss games. CG is a Big Talent. But can you really trust that there are not going to be more injuries that to happen to Chris after he comes back this year? And going forward in the years to come.
    For me, I am thankful for what he is able to contribute, but he just has not been able to stay on the field for a full season the last 3 years, and this next season also. I hope it changes somehow for Chris, you know CG is more frustrated than anyone else.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  2. Dman Says:

    Godwin tore ACL and MCL. No way he’s ready to start the season. Let’s hope he’s ready by Thanksgiving.

  3. BucsFan81 Says:

    I just hope they don’t rush CG back to the field. We have seen them do that in the past where players return from injury to soon. Then miss even more time. This WR room is deep. Other players will have to pick up the slack.

  4. SufferingSince76 Says:

    We still have a while for things to play out. I’m fairly confident Brady can convince Gronk to return, but I doubt he’ll do it for peanuts.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Does this qualify as the “Gronk-a-day” article….I think not….it’s a half a “Gronk-a-day”

    As for Godwin……he’s a very hard worker…..I’d like to hope he’d be back by 10/15.

  6. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I disagree with King, we should be ranked higher then the Packers!

  7. PSL Bob Says:

    The running game is going to be critical early on. Hopefully, Fournette can get it rolling out the gate and White will become a trusted receiver out of the backfield. Kieft can fill in for Gronk in the blocking role. This will take the pressure off the passing game. And, let’s not forget Gage. If he can gain Brady’s trust during training camp, we should be fine until Godwin returns. If projections are correct and Godwin returns Thanksgiving weekend, we will have our full compliment of receivers together for the playoff run. The team will be hitting on all gears as we enter the playoffs. Everything is going to be fine!

  8. geno711 Says:

    In this instance, I agree with Peter King.

    “And they might be without Chris Godwin—recovering from Jan. 3 ACL surgery—at the start of the season.”

    Godwin relies on his cutting ability and route running to be effective, meaning he will need to be close to 100% healthy before having the same impact, Chao said.

    Initial video of the injury showed Godwin suffered a knee hyperextension and MCL sprain, Chao said. MRI results Monday revealed the torn ACL.

    “When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. We don’t put a timetable on it,” Bowles said at Buccaneers minicamp Tuesday. “He’s coming along. Obviously, he’s better than where he was. But, he’s not where he needs to be. He’s coming along – he works hard.”

  9. PassingThru Says:

    Foreward: I’m frequently pessimistic at the beginning of any given season. This season is no exception.

    Last season I broke character and was fairly optimistic, despite fretting about Licht not upgrading the CB position. The Bucs should have spent a draft pick or two (2nd round, and early Day 3) on a couple of CBs. And of course, that’s where the Bucs got hammered. Not a shocker, the position group wasn’t that good overall and the depth quality was questionable. But I get it, every team in the NFL has weaknesses every season. Last season the front office was overwhelmingly “ALL IN” mode for winning another championship.

    I’m not feeling the love from the front office this season. There’s no “ALL IN” look. Some of that is understandable, the draft was as shallow as a 2-year-old’s wading pool. Moving up to grab ready out-of-the-box talent would have cost a king’s fortune, every GM knew this draft sucked for immediate impact talent somewhere between the first 15 to 20 picks. But what eats at me is that they haven’t moved on vet CB help and that they haven’t moved on Akiem Hicks, who is the only true impact DE talent left on the board. I’d even welcome Suh back, even though I know it’ll be highway robbery for whatever he “settles” for.

    I still expect Gronk to re-sign, but no Godwin. No AB. No Ali Marpet (don’t expect a rookie to seamlessly replace one of the best guards in the game). Gage looks decent, but it takes time to establish chemistry (and that assumes he’s a fit, which is really a 50-50 proposition with many free-agent signings). No JPP (yes he was a shell last year, but he entered the season as one of the best 3-4 OLBs in the game). And a developmental, rookie DE at a position that used to be a strength.

  10. stpetebucsfan Says:

    We have plenty of skill players. The only one of those who is ABSOLUTELY essential is Brady.

    I hope we’re as solid in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Right now I feel better about the O than the D.

    Bottom line for me is worst case scenario our offense might not be awesome enough to save an underperforming D. But our offense will not cost us any titles.

    It’s on the D this year. Lots of questions. I see our offense as being very good to great. I see our Defense as being very good to a leaky sieve. I can see the pieces but I really haven’t seen the “team” since that SB run.

    Everybody wants to blame Bowles for a blown call and as DC he obviously has some responsibility. But D White…LVD…other leaders out on the field were out of synch as well.

    In honesty IMHO I just didn’t QUITE see the hunger from the guys last year as in their SB year…Devin White may be exhibit A but there were others.

    I have faith in Devin White. He got his fill during our SB year but last year he didn’t get to feast…I believe he’ll come back this year hungrier than ever. HE is a real key to whether our D is great or not.

  11. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Part of me believes with CG’s dedication, mentality and work ethic he could pull an Adrian Peterson.

    Might be wishful thinking because everyone responds a little differently to the surgery, but if any player can do it on the bucs it would be CG.

  12. Allbuccedup Says:

    We can survive without Gronk, Suh and Godwin( until the playoffs) our division stinks Carolina is horrible Atlantas not much better and the Saints are average a winning record will win this division 9-8. Not worried at all as long as Tom stays healthy.

  13. Razor Ramone Says:

    Passing Thru: I feel that, as a life long Buc’s fan I’ve always been ultra pessimistic at the start of every season, even the golden age of the 2000’s. Since we first signed Brady that script has flipped though. Even with the National (and some local) press trying like crazy to poke holes in this year’s team you just gotta put all your trust in TB12. After all, he’s done a whole lot more with a whole lot less talent before. I’m optimistic he will get everything he can out of this offense. Defense??? Hopeful. Go Bucs.

  14. SOEbuc Says:

    Booger and Peter King are always a joke. They very likely didn’t trade up for Goedeke, who they don’t even know,in the second round to worry about Stinnie and a one year deal. If PFF ranks Mason at #5 OG that has five years experience with Brady, Alex Cappa don’t mean sh!t. I also don’t know why Gronk has not just signed on and waiting for OTA. We will get Gronk and/or Suh before OTA. O can’t say anything about Godwin, except I’m not a surgeon and neither is King or Booger.

  15. Jeff Says:

    Lol! Godwin will totally be able to play. He’ll be full go in camp, come 2023. He won’t play this year. His injury was brutal. I hope an 85% future Godwin is worth the big bucks he was paid.

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    Jeff do you want to bet Godwin’s playing this season?

  17. Simeon97 Says:

    Seems like fair analysis to me.

  18. Ed Says:

    The biggest issues the Bucs had in the games they struggled in between the Rams and the 2 Saint games was poor pass protection in key downs and distances. The offense will hum if some of the young guys they have drafted can be physical and push back at the Saints and Rams pass rushers. If they can, it doesn’t matter whether Gronk or Godwin are in the lineup. When Brady has the time he will find the open man. The Bucs have multiple options at WR and if TE is the weakness in the passing game Bucs will have to run it better and throw it to the running backs. The only thing that I worry about is whether the offensive line can beat down some of the aging pass rushers on the Rams and Saints and can the young guys on the Bucs defensive line play way better. The expectations are on JTS and Logan Hall are going to be high. If they both can step up, the defense will be a better than average one. If they aren’t doing their assignments correctly, this is a defense that will be torn up through the air.

  19. Thadeus Says:

    Rob will be back at the start of the season. The Bucs should have traded Godwin for Anything they could get. He will Never be the same.

  20. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    LMFAO @joe with your greatest ever roasting of a person ! That was in itself worth reading. Peter King is a blowhard and I don’t really care about any of the outside media’s take on our Bucs ! They all love to hate us . They can’t predict a fart and that’s why they wear 3 pairs of underwear every day. As far as Godwin goes , we will just have to wait and see. But I don’t like the comments on here about “The BUCS should have traded Godwin for anything they could get . He will never be the same” …. WRONG !! ACL surgery is not what it was even 10 years ago and Godwin is a player who takes care of himself. The one’s who are never the same are the ones who return too soon and don’t rehab the way they should. Plenty of players have blown out their knees and came back just as good afterwards. You know nothing dude who said that above me ! Go Bucs and go Joe on the great Post as usual ..

  21. Joe Says:

    Thank you DJ!

  22. ChiBuc Says:

    I’m going positive. This is a soft launch to Bowles’s HC redemption. He’s cooking up something. I just find Hall a solid but hedged bet. Safeties that play like LB (Neal), Ryan can sub S. Bowles gonna holster his blitz, max containment/coverage and pressure from where ev.

    Or we need Suh.

    For years there was only optimism, It’s kind of synonymous with being a buc fan. I don’t get pessimism before kickoff.

  23. Brazen Zebra Says:

    Gronk plays. Godwin plays. Brady throws magic. Bucs win. Amen.