Skip to main content
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield Ready to See Bucs' Offense 'Come to Life' Sunday

Starting QB Baker Mayfield feels as if he has gained command of the Bucs' new offense and he's eager to see the results when the regular season opens this weekend in Minnesota


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers intended to play starting quarterback Baker Mayfield for most or all of the first half in their final 2023 preseason game. After two drives, they had seen enough.

Mayfield was sharp on those two possessions, completing all six of his passes, the last one an 11-yard touchdown laser to Chris Godwin in the back of the end zone. He then gave way to Kyle Trask, who immediately directed an impressive 94-yard touchdown drive of his own. After sticking to vanilla play-calling in the first two preseason games, Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales cracked open the playbook just a bit and got into a groove with his calls. That helped his two quarterbacks get into a groove as well.

Now Mayfield, who beat out Trask in a tightly-contested battle for the starting job, is eager to see that sort of action for a full 60 game minutes. The Buccaneers open their regular season on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, where they will finally put their new offense on full display.

"To see everything that we've been working on [and] to see it come to life," said Mayfield when asked what he was most looking forward to in his true Buccaneer debut. "I think our group truly understands the system that we've put in [and] what we're trying to get accomplished. To see them fly around and enjoy it and play for each other – that's the best part. Preseason, you've got guys rotating in quite a bit. Now, it's just about getting our guys in, getting them on the same page and letting them have fun. We'll know what to do come time for the game, but it'll be fun when it hits."

Godwin is confident that Mayfield has put himself in position to make the most of this opportunity to start for a new team.

"I think he is getting really comfortable at getting the offensive scheme, getting comfortable with the terminology, and being able to effectively communicate what he is looking for with the receivers, and their relationship growing as a whole," he said. "As the weeks and days kind of start, I see him getting more and more comfortable with that."

The Buccaneers hired Canales from the Seahawks in February after choosing to move on from former coordinator Byron Leftwich. Once the offseason program began in the spring, all of the offensive players began the laborious task of trying to absorb a new scheme that didn't bear much resemblance to what the team had been running the past four years. That can be a particularly long process for the quarterbacks who have to not just understand the offense but take command of it. Head Coach Todd Bowles said he had become comfortable in Mayfield as the starter near the back end of training camp when he saw the quarterback making throws quickly and without having to think about it.

"Just grasping the offense and making it his," said Bowles of Mayfield's progress since the spring. "The mental part of the game – there is so much you have to learn installing a new offense, as far as audibles and getting us into the right plays and everything else. I thought both of them for the most part did a great job at that, but Baker really kind of took off on it the last two weeks. [He's] just understanding it and getting us in and out of plays. Knowing what he likes and doesn't like, understanding what he can see and what he can't see and kind of tailoring it a little bit."

Mayfield didn't play in the Bucs' second preseason game against the Jets, an indication that the week leading up to that game had been a good one for the veteran passer. Bowles would name him the starter the following Tuesday but clearly that decision was already in the works.

"I think [I got] the command of it," said Mayfield. "Once we got into that Jets week, I really started to see all the little checks at the line of scrimmage. We had the whole foundation and now it's about adapting to what the defensive is giving you. From there, I think I just took control of it. I think you guys saw a little bit of it when Dave started getting on a roll in that last preseason game, so you kind of saw what our offense is supposed to be – getting the ball out and taking care of it. That's when I really felt it."

Now the true challenge begins, as the Buccaneers try to turn all of that optimism about their offensive coming together into actual positive production in games that count. Of course, that's exactly what Mayfield has been waiting for.

"It's finally here, yeah," he said. "It's what you work all year for. The real thing is finally here. We're ready to finally go out and play somebody else for real and just see all the things that we've been working on – see how it comes to life, all the little details, all the offseason workouts, the foundational stuff that we've been trying to get installed and to see how it plays out and just to see how guys handle it throughout the game. It's football. It's the highest level you can play at, so there are going to be ebbs and flows, ups and downs during the game. We're built to handle that adversity and I'm excited to see how we do."

Related Content

win monthly prizes, download the app and turn on push alerts to score

Download the Buccaneers app and turn on push alerts for your chance to win

Latest Headlines