Can Baker Mayfield lead the Browns to a third straight NFC South Division title?
If you listened to his press conference on Monday, Mayfield still has the swag and confidence he exhibited as a rookie quarterback, perhaps with just a splash of humility.
The 27-year-old Mayfield hopes to revive his career in Tampa and will compete with Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback job this off-season.
He knows he will not be handed the job and is all in on competing with Trask.
Mayfield On Competing With Kyle Trask
“To me, competition brings the best out of everybody. I’ve always believed that, and that’s just true for all sports. I think Kyle and I are gonna push each other no matter what happens, and I think we’re going to make the most of it.”
At the combine earlier this year, Jason Licht had indicated that Kyle Trask would be given the first chance to be the starter this season. However, it appears that has changed with the signing of Mayfield.
Mayfield will replace Tom Brady, the greatest player ever to put on a uniform.
No one can ever replace Brady, and Mayfield mentioned that when he spoke to the media. “Listen, I’m never gonna be Tom Brady. “There’s a reason he has won so many Super Bowls, and he’s the greatest of all time. I’m not going to be Tom. I’m going to be me.”
Rumor has it the Baltimore Ravens were also in hot pursuit of Mayfield as insurance in case Lamar Jackson were to sign elsewhere.
Mayfield ultimately chose the Buccaneers for a couple of reasons.The stability of the organization and offensive coordinator Dave Canales.
Why Baker Chose To Play For The Buccaneers
“With an organization like this that has had success for a while, and in recent years as well, it was important to me to be in a stable place that knows how to win and how to do it properly,” Mayfield said. “I want to go somewhere where we can win right away, and this is that place.”
He also spoke highly of Buccaneer’s offensive coordinator Dave Canales. “In my short term of knowing Dave so far, just realizing who he is, how he’s going to tailor the offense to his playmakers –to me, that speaks volumes. You find a lot of guys that want to just run their system without really trying to play to the attributes of their players, and that’s not Dave.”
Mayfield is looking for stability. He knows that the great NFL quarterbacks have had stability throughout their careers, and that was part of his decision to come to Tampa.
“I think any time you look at some of the quarterbacks that have had a lot of success, you look at the stability they’ve had. Unfortunately, I haven’t had that. I haven’t played the best I’m capable of. I’ve had flashes of that, so I’m just eager to have this next opportunity and see what it can become.”
It’s been a minute since Mayfield has had an entire off-season to learn a new offense. Last year he learned two different playbooks over five months. So he’s looking forward to having a full offseason to learn the playbook.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity of learning the offense through the full offseason mode and just learning the foundation of it. To me, the stats will come later on, but right now, you’re trying to find the foundation of your team, of what really is my job, footwork-wise, scheme-wise, how can I put us in the best position possible to win. And then the stats will come with that.”
Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles first met Mayfield in 2018, and the competitive spirit of Mayfield impressed Bowles.
Baker Has The Tools He Needs To Succeed In Tampa
So it’s up to Mayfield to learn the playbook, execute on the practice field, and put himself in the best possible position to win the quarterback job.
When healthy, the Bucs receiver group led by Mike Evans, with Chris Godwin, and Russel Gage is the best that Mayfield has ever worked with.
Tristan Wirfs will be the best tackle that Mayfield has had, protecting his blind side. (The Bucs may move Wirfs to the left tackle spot this season.)
The pieces are in place for Mayfield to succeed and get his career back on track.
Will he take advantage of the opportunity? That is the big question.