There is virtually no hype surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, and it is a brave new world for them after the legendary Tom Brady retired months ago.
Their new starting quarterback is Baker Mayfield, a man whose talent is undeniable but who has had trouble putting it all together on a consistent basis.
Although Tampa Bay still has Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, the two stud wide receivers that helped them win Super Bowl LV, few, if any, feel they can make the playoffs this winter.
Some QBs may feel insulted by such prognostications, but Mayfield seems content with people counting out his team — in fact, he says it may work to its advantage, per NBC Sports.
Baker Mayfield: Low expectations provide different kind of motivation for Bucs. https://t.co/vIymT6VgbT
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 8, 2023
“That’s fortunate for us, because that makes our guys have a different type of motivation they might have not had recently,” Mayfield said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “It puts them into a different level of competition and trying to prove that our locker room is more than capable of keeping that success.”
In his first five seasons, Mayfield has shown flashes of brilliance, such as when he set a rookie record for most touchdown passes with 27 (that record has since been broken by Justin Herbert).
In the 2020 season, he also led the Cleveland Browns to not only their first playoff appearance since 2002 but also their first postseason win since the mid-1990s.
But his tenure there ended amidst friction between him and the team’s coaching staff, and it all culminated with a member of the front office saying it would prefer an “adult” at QB.
Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers last offseason, and after playing poorly there, he caught on with the Los Angeles Rams late in the year as a replacement for the injured Matthew Stafford.
It is very possible that this will be Mayfield’s last chance to prove he is a quality starting QB, as it will be harder to make excuses for him if he doesn’t play well.NEXT: Insider Reveals Buccaneers' Plans For A Mike Evans Contract Extension