Pretty much everything about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season has caught the general football public by surprise. Experts predicted the Bucs to be one of the worst teams in the league this year and pegged them as candidates to tank.
Instead, the Bucs are coming out of their bye week 3-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Baker Mayfield is playing some of the best football of his career, Todd Bowles has completely turned the team around from last season, and the defense is once again playing on an elite level.
It’s a stunning turn of events, but those inside of One Bucs Place are hardly surprised by what’s happening.
Baker Mayfield says Lavonte David made him believe in the Bucs
While making an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Baker was asked whether he knew the Bucs would be this good and he went so far as to pinpoint the exact moment he saw the light.
Spoiler alert: Lavonte David was the spark that lit the fuse.
“Early on in OTAs when we were starting to compete with each other I realized the talent that we really had,” Mayfield told McAfee. “And then mandatory minicamp came around and it was my first time seeing Lavonte David play in person, how he was shooting the gaps. And I was like, ‘Sh*t, we’re gonna be pretty damn good.'”
Nobody should be surprised to hear that David is the one that inspired Baker to believe in the Bucs, as it’s yet another feather in the cap of the future Hall of Famer. David has been the heart and soul leader in Tampa Bay for almost as long as he’s been with the team, and has carried the torch that guys like Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber handed to him.
David could have left in free agency this offseason, but turned down a chance to join the Buffalo Bills to return to Tampa Bay. He went on record as saying he wants to follow in the footsteps of Barber and Brooks by spending his entire career with the Bucs, and he has undoubtedly left his own imprint on the team.
Lots of stuff is going well in Tampa Bay but this miraculous season starting with David’s influence is absolutely perfect.