How Defenses Cover Chris Godwin (And Other Bucs Receivers)

December 9th, 2023

Documenting coverage.

So what the hell is going on with Chris Godwin? A graphic that outlines his play may offer a window.

A guy named Judah Fortgang who goes by the handle of @ThrowTheDamnBall works for the PFF tribe. Earlier this week, he posted a chart showing how often receivers (with at least 175 routes run) face single coverage and how often they get separation against single coverage.

It seems no receiver has been double-covered more than Godwin. You can see the details here as well.

So if Godwin is double-covered, that may be one reason why Baker Mayfield hasn’t been getting him the ball. Yet the man who has the most targets on the Bucs, Mike Evans, sees double coverage quite a bit himself.

Interestingly, defenses have double-covered Trey Palmer more than Evans, albeit not much more. Is that because teams are worried about his speed and ability to take the top off the defense, despite the Bucs being too often allergic to throwing deep?

Godwin has been getting better than average separation in single coverage. More so than other receivers like Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase and George Pickens (Pickens is grotesquely misused by the Steelers).

So what does this tell you?

First, it tells Joe that defenses aren’t one bit worried about the Bucs’ run game. Gee, what a shock. Defenses aren’t losing sleep over the league’s worst rushing attack. Second, this provides a reason  why running back Rachaad White has had success in the pass game. You can’t double-cover everybody.

But Jiminy Christmas, if your top three receivers are getting blanketed this so much, then coaches either don’t understand or aren’t able to scheme these guys open more. And it could be a tight end issue. Maybe if the Bucs targeted White more that would set one of the three receivers free? But that would mean getting away from the cherished run game and the 3.5 yards-a-carry juggernaut.

Bucs can’t have that!

When an offense is so focused on running between the tackles (even though they cannot run) it’s easy to overlook setting aside practice time to develop ways to get receivers open more often.

48 Responses to “How Defenses Cover Chris Godwin (And Other Bucs Receivers)”

  1. BucsFan Says:

    Sounds like a coaching issue

  2. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Yep, tried and true, the run game opens up the offense. Play action becomes a factor, one or two extra guys down in the box. ME has success because he just muscles the defenders. CG is more let me get a shot and I’ll give you YAC

  3. BelleGladeBuc Says:


    And the choir says, “AMEN!”

    The Mesh pass play concept with crossing routes is the most devastating pass play in football.

    It allows to scheme open multiple players/positions with its various tags run out of 10, 11, 12, 20 and 21 personal.

    You can play action off of it and use jet motion away from it or towards it to manipulate the defenders.

    Miami, Philly, Kansas City, Cincinnati, San Fran run it a lot.

    I have yet to see that pass play run for the Bucs.

  4. SBucs Says:

    It’s always been a coaching…head coaching issue

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Opposing defenses can’t double-cover all the Bucs’ receivers like you said Joe. Even if they rush 4, that still only leaves them 7 defenders to cover 4-5 receivers. Something’s amiss.

    I think you struck gold with your ‘it could be a tight end issue’ comment. We’ve run 411 passing plays thus far, and our TEs have only been targeted 61 times … 14.8%. And in reality almost all of those (50) have gone to Otton; the rest of our TEs might as well not even exist in the passing game. Our TEs seem to be even less of a threat than our running game.

  6. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Lets face it, the Bucs just ain’t that good. If they were so talented (as some people claim) they would stand out at something, anything.

    Mike Evans is the only bright spot, as far as I’m concerned, and people start clamoring he’s washed up or finished if he drops a pass, lol…. But he’s not getting any younger.

    For now, the Bucs get a pass. We use the default setting, and blame everything on coaching or the QB.

  7. Dave Pear Says:

    Todd is simply incompetent and the incompetence oozes out over the whole team. Even Camarda isn’t punting as well.

    Adios, Todd .

  8. Craig Says:

    I don’t think it is a Godwin problem. It might be a QB problem, ours is vertically challenged and might not be able to find all of the receivers. I see too many of them running free while our QB only has eyes for Evans.

  9. Mr. Editor Says:

    Put Chase Edmonds and White on the field at the same time. It’s one of the only options left at this point of a depressing season. I feel bad for Godwin who probably feels that his talents are being wasted.

  10. Marine Buc Says:

    It all starts with the O-line… If Baker doesn’t get time to work through his progressions then it’s going to be difficult to find open receivers especially if they are the 3rd or 4th receiver on the play.

    I would be OK to bring back the Godwin WR screen passes that were thrown 5-10 times a game last year. Not at the same frequency but one or two a game wouldn’t hurt – especially on first down when our running game is struggling.

  11. Beeej Says:

    I noticed last week in every scenario where a play-action pass might have been appropriate (assuming the defense respected the run) the Bucs went to an empty backfield, completely relieving them of worrying about the run

  12. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Mike was doubled on his 75-yard score. Didn’t matter. Being double-covered doesn’t automatically mean you can’t make a play.

  13. D-Rok Says:

    Defense Rules Says:
    December 9th, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    “I think you struck gold with your ‘it could be a tight end issue’ comment. We’ve run 411 passing plays thus far, and our TEs have only been targeted 61 times … 14.8%. And in reality almost all of those (50) have gone to Otton; the rest of our TEs might as well not even exist in the passing game. Our TEs seem to be even less of a threat than our running game.”

    If we still had Gronk (even with Mayfield) we’d have 2-3 more wins. Hard to estimate a HOF TE’s impact on the entire offense, even without catches, it’s a great decoy and a devastating run-blocker.

    Sorry, reminiscing on what once was… LOL

  14. Oz Len Says:

    Wow, only one Trask jacka**. All time low…

  15. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Yes the gronk blocked like a tank, and ran fast like a deer, and had soft hands to boot. Too bad the Bucs don’t have that on their roster today. The really good ones like Evans, Gronk etc. don’t come along very often. It all adds up too. A little better here and a little better there equals more wins.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Somethings not right about that chart.

    Allegedly, Evans is double covered 69% of the time, Palmer (our #3) is double covered 71% of his plays and Godwin is doubled at 74% – highest in the league….

    All THREE of our top receivers are in the top 11 for the whole league as far as facing double coverage.

    Not sure how that is possible… I don’t remember seeing opposing defenses put 6 DBs on the field against the Bucs very often this year.

  17. Beeej Says:

    That’s what Detroit did to us, everyone else started doing it afterwards

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Bring back the lawn chairs … ‘It all adds up to a little better here and a little better there equals more wins.’

    That’s pretty much what we’re relegated to for the rest of this year and next IMO. I don’t see a whole bunch of superstars just itching to sign on with the Bucs (nor do I see us being able to afford them if they were).

    We’re supposedly into the easier part of our schedule but it just doesn’t seem like it. Jags, Packers, Falcons all are doing better than we are, and even the Saints are 5-7 like us. And the thing is they all NEED wins to make the playoffs, so they’ll all be super-motivated when they play us. Whoopee.

    My big hope right now is that we can get a really good evaluation of the talent we’ve got in our youngsters in these remaining 5 games. Impossible to replace the whole roster in a single churn, and I’d hate to see us get rid of some young talented players who grow up to be super-stars themselves in future years.

  19. HC Grover Says:

    Just put him in the slot and Palmer outside.

  20. Larrd Says:

    Well I am sure if I dedicated my life to smoking dope and watching football video for a living a statistical anomaly or two might result. What constitutes double coverage, anyway?

  21. T. McGee Says:

    According to stat nerds, the Bucs face double coverage of their top three receivers and also can’t run block. Excellent.

  22. T. McGee Says:

    Joe, please make this week’s poll of Bucs fans if we are hoping they win, or hoping Bowles gets fired.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    That chart says you should throw it to Mike even more than you already are.

  24. WiseCrack Says:

    @T. McGee

    Such an obvious but HUGELY overlooked point. “EXCELLENT”, indeed. LMFAO

  25. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Larrd ‘what constitutes double coverege’?
    Thats a great question as I’d be hard press to tell you that when dean and Davis are in single or double coverage; often you see them all alone, nobody nearby. So does intent constitute one half of double coverage? Idk
    As for dean and Davis, they must be in zero coverege most times. Thats gotta be it.

  26. Let em Bake Says:

    Baker facing more double coverage on wr than any other qb….passing with one hand tied behind his back….shocking.

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    Let em Bake Says:
    December 9th, 2023 at 4:13 pm
    Baker facing more double coverage on wr than any other qb….passing with one hand tied behind his back….shocking.


    Dummy, they’re not all double covered at the same time. All it means is that someone is wide open on every play.

  28. Capt.Tim Says:

    They double cover all of our receivers.
    We absolutely cant run the ball.

    Thats Why the greatest QB iof all time had a losing record last year.
    Thats Why Baker Mayfield is having a hard time this year.

    Im dying to see who the idiot” Its the QBs fault” simpletons want us to draft.
    Cant wait to see that scared lil Rookie dealing with that!!
    That will be hilarious.

    Question is- we knew all these problems last year.
    Why didnt we try to fix them??
    Added a lil tiny guy to d line, and drafted a guard from a tiny lil School( who is starting to look great.
    Then we lost our left Tackle- who is Killing it with the chiefs- may be in the Superbowl.
    Wirfs hasnt played as well as Smith did. Check the stats.
    Goedeke hasnt played as well at RT as wirfs did.

    So we actully made the line worse this year, than it was for Brady.
    So yeah, lets draft a rookie. That will at least make Brice Young feel better

  29. Let em Bake Says:

    Thanks, Rod, for the enlightenment. All things being equal, He faces more double coverage per wr.( he sees less one on one looks for his second read).of course they’re not at the same time, that be like explaining your CAP fetish, you don’t do it all the time, but those here have to see more from you than anyone else. 🙂

  30. Joshua porter Says:

    So many being doubled yet never open

  31. WyomingJoe Says:

    Capt’n Munch: Not so surprisingly, your mouth is the only thing wide open on the Bucs. Keep winning Baker.

  32. Tony Marks Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    December 9th, 2023 at 4:18 pm

    Dummy, they’re not all double covered at the same time. All it means is that someone is wide open on every play.


    He never said all dufus. Nothing is more vacant than claiming someone else is a dummy while you demonstrate a lack of basic reading comprehension.

    I guess you are also salty because this article from joe debunks your narrative that “its 2023. You don’t need RBs in the NFL anymore” ….lol

  33. Mike C Says:

    Beer whisper, give this team to Mike Tomlin and see what happens.

  34. Tony Marks Says:

    Pickgrin Says:

    All THREE of our top receivers are in the top 11 for the whole league as far as facing double coverage.

    Not sure how that is possible…


    Don’t know I would call Palmer within our top 3 receivers. However it can come pretty close to that ( not all double coverages at the same time) depending on downs played . Its especially so when your oline is suspect. Remember the 6 sack game a couple games ago? the turnover on one of them was against a four man line –

    When you can get to the QB with a four man line and don’t give a rip about a bottom tier running game that leaves 7 in pass protection mode. Depending on play recognition the defense can slide into double coverage without too much risk.

  35. Jeff Says:

    Chris Turtle Godwin just can’t get open. Simple as that. And zero chance of scheming him open due to poor coaching. Remember, NFL coaches are just the smartest dumb guys in the locker room.

  36. Jeff Says:

    Falcons 40 Yucs 3

  37. WiseCrack Says:

    So silly to read these comments suggesting yet another reason for why Baker can’t succeed. All his WRs are Double Covered. His OL and pass or run block. His Coaches can’t come up with a game plan that plays to his strengths. Anyone who can’t see that is why Baker Keeps Winning despite a losing career record is just Dumb.

    I mean its just crazy.


  38. Cleanhouse Says:

    Joe wants to be the coach, clearly.

    Truthfully, I’d rather watch that than Bowles.

  39. stpetebucfan Says:

    Just like Cheetah Hill is the best speed burner at WR…M.E. is the best “possession” receiver in the league.

    M.E. at 6-5 230 with amazing athletic ability…a hoops player who loved to rebound, is hard to stop even when he IS covered. That’s why he’s gotten all his touches from all the various TB QB’s he’s played with. They have faith if they throw it to him even covered, the pass may not be complete but the DB is not going to outjump or outmuscle a WR built like a small TE. Worst case scenario is a tie or breakup.

    The recent piece on how hard M.E. works to maintain that physical advantage explains a lot as well. The GOAT was known for his dedication and work ethic and I think Mike had it before TB but watching TB for 3 years must have emphasized for him.

  40. Saskbucs Says:

    Someone needs to remind Bowles, that pass interference happens a lot on deep balls. That’s a helpful penalty for the offense and your star WR is 6’5 with wheels. It’s been awful watching this offense last 2 years. Should be a deep ball to one of those 3 WRs every 2 or 3 sets of downs. Maybe that would help open some underneath space.

  41. stpetebucfan Says:

    Great point Saskbucs!

  42. Lakeland Steve Says:

    Glad you mentioned the tight end because reading this I was thinking our tight ends must be running free all over the field. Wait a minute we don’t really have a solid catch the ball anywhere tight end. Cade Otten should be getting all kinds of balls thrown his way given the fact they are trying to take everyone else away. The Bucs better draft a solid pass catching tight end next year or through free agency because our tight ends should be lighting it up. Teams know your weaknesses and it looks like ours have been found.

  43. David Says:

    Why is anyone surprised? They hired an OC who is hell-bent on running the ball in a passing league.
    The best year under Brady is when they passed, which set up the run, then used to play action.
    Last year and this year they’re trying to run first to set up the pass and play action and it does not work with their line and it does not work in this league anymore.

    Everything should start with a new HC, new OC, and drafting Jayden Daniels.
    I have been saying it for two months, and I’ll keep saying it until the draft.

  44. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Its more likely a cover two zone and not a double team for everyone. We have nothing 3-7 yards over the middle, and thats also due to a poor run game.

  45. garro Says:

    Thanks for the laugh Joe.

    Stat geeks rejoice we now have the technology to give unemployed house painters a job making… Stat spaghetti !!!

    Go Bucs!

  46. Fansince76 Says:

    I like the Gruden flash back Jiminey Christmas, those were the days!

    It seems this is a coaching issue, with receivers doubled we should be getting
    more yards per rushing play with less guys in the box.
    And of course we aint sooo?

  47. Since76 Says:

    It’s anyone’s fault but a QB named Baker. If you don’t believe it just read all the excuses you’ll hear from the Baker boys. Keep winning Baker. Or maybe start winning Baker. Today would be good.

  48. FRANK BUCS FAN Says:

    best laugh over coffee this morning, “cherished run game”