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Bucs' Dirk Koetter: Chris Godwin played like a No. 1 receiver

Rookie Chris Godwin made the most of his playing time Saturday night. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. -- On a night when both of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' top two wideouts were missing -- Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson -- rookie Chris Godwin stepped in and showed he not only belonged, but that he's capable of stepping into a starting role this year, should the need arise.

He played 42 snaps on offense (57 percent), more than any other receiver. He was targeted five times, managing four catches, including a 19-yarder on the opening drive. He also had two 16-yard receptions in the second quarter, including one that set up a field goal by Nick Folk.

"Godwin did a nice job last night," Koetter said. "You figure, he's our [No.] 4 [receiver] and he needed to play like a one last night, and he did. He did a nice job. Had a couple of explosives, he blocked well."

Adam Humphries, who primarily handles the slot role, figured to get a lot more work in too. But he left the game in the second quarter with a hip injury and did not return. Godwin has shown he's capable of lining up in the slot, if necessary.

"That's the nice thing about Chris -- he's versatile," Koetter said. "He can do a lot of different things. I think he still needs to continue to build his stamina for playing hard over 64 plays, but we probably won't ask him to play 64 plays if we're healthy."

For Godwin, getting that much playing time with Jameis Winston was invaluable.

"Anytime -- especially as a rookie and a young guy -- you can go out there and get some experience, good or bad, it's valuable," Godwin said. "I think I did a pretty good job. I made a couple plays, but also made some mistakes so I'm going to go back, watch the film and see what I can do to correct those."

Having depth at the receiver position will also be invaluable for the Bucs. Last year, when Vincent Jackson suffered a knee injury and Louis Murphy never made it onto the field, there was a significant drop-off after Evans. Things got even worse when Humphries was lost for a game.

The offense struggled the year before when Jackson and Murphy both went down. That made injecting some youth at the position an important offseason move.