In 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Oakland Raiders to claim their first ever Super Bowl championship. Led by Jon Gruden, former head coach of the Raiders, the Buccaneers’ defense intercepted Rich Gannon five times before the confetti fell. Famously, stories broke soon after the game that Tampa Bay’s defense was able to take advantage of Oakland using the same offensive signals from Jon Gruden’s time with the team. This knowledge played a crucial role in Tampa’s defensive performance.
Week one is not a Super Bowl, and Baker Mayfield learning defensive signals is not the equivalent of Jon Gruden knowing the signals of his opponent by heart, but this is your 2023 remix, of an old Buccaneer classic.
The Bucs posted an interview with running back Rachaad White on their YouTube channel where team reporter Casey Phillips, former Buccaneer standout Ali Marpet, and White were talking about the team’s slow start against the Vikings. A few minutes into the conversation, Marpet noted that he noticed a difference between the Bucs’ offense in the first half and the second. He asked Rachaad White, “Was there a change in maybe, energy?… Something that changed from like a confidence [perspective] for you guys?”
White gave an expansive answer. One powerful detail buried in his response — just after the 9:00 mark — his quarterback figured out Minnesota’s defensive signals.
“I just remember Bake came in the locker room, literally at half time, he said ‘I got it.’”
White continued explaining how Tampa’s much maligned quarterback spent the intermission working with his offense, relaying the information he had gathered.
”We in there talking as an offense and he’s like, ‘I know all these signals. If they do this, they go into Cover 2. If they do this, they go into Cover 3. Every time I alert this and they do this signal, they’re dropping back to this.’”
White remarked at how impressed he was that Mayfield was able to pick up so much in just a half of football saying, “I’m [just] like, 'Wow, that’s amazing.’”
Baker Mayfield’s short time in Tampa has been tumultuous, from the outside looking in. Media and fans, who weren’t behind the signing, have spent the better part of their summer downing the Buccaneers’ quarterback. Inside the facility and around the team, the tone has been much different. The Bucs have remained consistent in their messaging that Baker Mayfield continues to impress and have propped him up as their franchise quarterback. The world outside of One Buc Place has refused to believe it thus far, but a little glimpse into Baker Mayfield behind the scenes may show why he has quickly won over this organization and his teammates.
The guy! We stole him! Everybody thought he was a bust and we stole him!
Underrated. I didn't realize how much I was going to like this guy as our quarterback.
Still. Not. It. Sorry. He's not the guy, not the answer, he's just not it.
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