TAMPA, FL – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the first week of training camp, and since this a transitional year following the Tom Brady chapters, the quarterback position is on the top of everyone’s evaluation list.
Enter Baker Mayfield, a highly touted but controversial NFL journeyman. Mayfield, 28 , comes to the Bucs having passed for 16,288 yards and 102 touchdowns in six NFL seasons with the Browns, Panthers and Rams. He’s had successes, having a 95.9 QB rating atone point with the Cleveland Browns, and passing for over 1,300 yards for the Charlotte Panthers in 2022.
Mayfield is ready to get his chance with a stronger offense and defense this year with the Bucs, especially with Mike Evans as lead wide receiver. The began to get to know each other on the field during this weeks scrimmages.
“He obviously makes my job easier. Seeing him going up against the defense and going full speed, there are little nuances that he does that make him special. He’s been awn all pro for a reason.”
Mayfield competes with 2nd year QB Kyle Trask. The former Gator played third string last year under Brady and Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason, leaving the Bucs with Mayfield, Trask, and four year veteran John Wolford.
The Bucs offense has a new coordinator with former Seattle Seahawks QB Dave Canales could make Canales had a hand in the resurrection of Gino Smith’s career and phenomenal 2023 year.
So far in scrimmages, Mayfield has had some nice pitch and catch interactions with Evans and Chris Godwin, giving him a tase of the experience at the wide recover position.
But the memo are still in t-shirts and shorts, so as they get used to the Florida heat, the progression to pads will continue the tests of NFL training camp.
The Battle at CB
One of the key positions battles for Tampa is at the CB position, specifically at starting nickleback. The Buccaneers are seeking to replace Antoine Winfield Jr., who is going to focus exclusively on free safety this year after playing a kind of hybrid slot/safety position last year.
With the two potential options to take over Winfield, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Mike Edwards, leaving in free agency that leaves a slew of young players to compete for that job. Coach Bowles identified five of them on Tuesday: 2022 draftee Zyon McCollum, returning veterans Dee Delaney and Anthony Chesley, sixth-round rookie Josh Hayes and undrafted free agent safety Christian Izien.
“I think Zyon [McCollum] had a great spring and we’re looking for him to play a bigger role this year,” said Bowles.
McCollum managed an interceptions against Wolford on day three of camp, impressing the coaches.
But as Bowles said ti the media, this is just t-shirts and shore, and this doesn’t really mean anything yet. We have yet to really play. I don’t consider it real football until; we see them in pads next week.
The Buccaneers open their preseason on August 11th against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Raymond James Stadium.
Their first game of the NFL season is when they face the Philadelphia Eagles on September 25th at Raymond James Stadium