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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield: Bucs Starting to Figure Out New Offense

The Bucs goal for the offseason program, which ends on Thursday, was to lay the foundation for a productive training camp, and the trickiest part of that process has been learning a new offense and putting it into action

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one day left, together as a team, to finish putting in the foundation for this year's training camp, which is the overarching goal of their full offseason program. The Buccaneers will wrap up their mandatory minicamp – and their offseason efforts as a whole – with one more relatively brief practice on Thursday morning. The idea is to have learned enough and absorbed enough so that they can hit the ground running when training camp begins.

This year, the trickiest part of that process is the installation of a new offensive scheme under first-year Coordinator Liam Coen. The 2024 Bucs are blessed with a good amount of continuity among their offensive personnel, from quarterback Baker Mayfield to his supporting cast of skill-position players to most of the offensive line, but they are starting anew after the departure of former Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales.

And within that tricky proposition is the aspect that is requiring the most brainwork for Mayfield and some of his teammates – the significant increase in instances of multiple play calls being sent into the huddle to allow Mayfield to get the offense in the best possible position against whatever the defense presents.

"That's why we do this time right now," said Mayfield after Wednesday's practice. "It is hard, but that's why you put stuff on tape – you learn from your mistakes and the good stuff. Like today and the last couple of days, being competitive with the defense. It's a lot of learning tape to go from there, but you can tell our guys are starting to figure it out and that's what you really want to have at this point of the offseason, to where you kind of master it a little bit.

"Then, you come back, start from scratch in training camp and re-install everything, to where guys have kind of a little knowledge of it and you go from there."

Mayfield was sharp during Wednesday's practice, according to Head Coach Todd Bowles, who can already see significant progression for the veteran passer since the offensive installation began. Prior to this week's minicamp, the Buccaneers also conducted 10 voluntary OTA practices, which allow for full-team and full-speed drills (but no contact), and Mayfield attended all of them. Most notably, the understandable mental errors – 'M.E.'s in coaching parlance – at the beginning of the process have steadily declined.

"There's a lot fewer mistakes and 'M.E.'s," said Bowles. "He has a lot more audibles on his plate than he did in the past and he's getting them down very [well]. I thought they had a very good day today. I thought the chemistry and the connection with those guys and checking to the right plays was very good. I just look for that to continue."

Though the players and coaches won't have any more time together on the field to work on that foundation for about six weeks after Thursday, the upcoming stretch is still considered an important time on the team's calendar. The break allows everyone to rest, rejuvenate and get a breather from the grind before they go full bore for six months straight.

"I've always been a firm believer with this break to take a little bit of time off, get away from it a little bit, and obviously make sure you're still in shape but enjoying your time off," said Mayfield. "It is a long grind. Workouts, a couple of vacations sprinkled in here and there, and then just dialing it back down once it comes time closer to camp. [Then] reviewing with those guys once we get back here."

Mayfield won't wait until reporting date in late July to get back to work, however. This week's minicamp has included some occasionally scorching temperatures but there has also been a reasonable amount of cloud cover to offer some relief. The team probably won't be that lucky in July and August, and Mayfield knows it is important to be ready for the conditions.

"The biggest thing for anybody coming down here for training camp is how hot it is, so coming back, getting re-acclimated in this heat, working out outside, running outside [helps]," he said. "Yeah, it's taking a little time off and [then] getting used to it again."

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