In the NFL offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to Tampa Bay. With these new additions, how will the Bucs elite receivers, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, fare in 2020?
Evans and Godwin combined for over 160 receptions, 2,400 receiving yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns last season. Evans is one of the most elite red zone targets in the league, and Chris Godwin emerged as one of the best all around receivers in 2019.
However, Brady and Gronk’s introduction into the Bucs offense has to change the dynamic in northwestern Florida. Starting with Brady, his style of play does not suit Bruce Arians’ offensive strategy. Brady is a master of the short intermediate passing game, utilizing running backs through checkdowns to move the chains.
That is not to say that Brady can’t throw the deep ball, yet Brady’s success does not revolve around chucking the ball downfield. Part of Evans’ and Godwin’s ability to thrive last year was due to Jameis Winston’s ability to launch 50/50 balls downfield. Now, Evans and Godwin will be used less as deep threats, and therefore their receiving yards and receptions may see some downturn.
On top of Brady not fitting into Tampa Bay’s offense, the addition of Rob Gronkowski puts a capable option in the passing game that will decrease Evans’ and Godwin’s target share. Also, the familiarity between Brady and Gronkowski is something that may hamper not only Evans and Godwin but all Bucs receivers’ efficiency in the red zone, as Brady already trusts Gronkowski to be an elite red zone target from their shared time in New England.
Although Evans and Godwin are unlikely to fall out of the top ten of the NFL’s wideouts next season, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s presence in Tampa Bay will lead to regression for the Bucs wide receiving duo. Therefore, not only watch out for a drop in production from Evans and Godwin in 2020, but watch out for the Bucs electric offense to crash and burn at times next season, while getting used to a quarterback who doesn’t quite model his game around the style of aggressive offensive play that have made the Buccaneers' aerial attack so explosive in recent history.
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