It was expected and reported, but now it’s officially official; Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023. Head coach Todd Bowles informed the media of the decision after practice on Tuesday. Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times on Twitter, Bowles said;
“There’s a lot that goes into it. I can’t sit up here and give you every detail. We go through man training camp (practices) and OTAs and we love everything Kyle (Trask) has done. He’s gotten leaps and bounds better. And he has in the spring and he’s continuing to get better. And we’re excited about Baker. We like where we’re at right now. experience wise and his understanding the playbook just a little bit better.”
The Buccaneers already had the hype video ready to roll following the announcement;
Baker. Frickin'. Mayfield. pic.twitter.com/ehffslWoon— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 22, 2023
Mayfield, the former Heisman Trophy winner and number one pick of the Cleveland Browns, had a tough 2022 after being unceremoniously jettisoned from Cleveland and landing on a sinking ship in Carolina. He showed flashes with the Los - including a fourth quarter comeback after arriving to the team 48 hours prior to the game. Now, he gets a chance to prove that he deserves to be a starting quarterback in the NFL and potentially be the long term answer for the Bucs.
Wide receiver Mike Evans spoke out last week about the team wanting to know who the starter is so they can prepare accordingly. Now, heading into their final preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, they can do exactly that.
Offensive coordinator Dave Canales spoke about the benefits he saw last year in Seattle with the quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Drew Lock going into the final preseason game, but the Bucs don’t want to wait that long.
In a wide open NFC South, this is the perfect opportunity for Mayfield - and the Bucs - to prove all the doubters and naysayers wrong about the state of the team while both sides get a solid glimpse at their future potential either with or without one another.
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