The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are officially back in business, as this week’s minicamp marks the return to the field for a team trying to wash the base taste of last season out of everyone’s mouth.
It’s also the debut for a handful of new faces looking to help usher in some change.
Baker Mayfield was signed back in March to compete with Kyle Trask for the right to succeed Tom Brady as the Bucs starting quarterback. While it’s not his official debut, as Mayfield was present at OTAs last month, it’s the first good look we’re getting at him as he truly settles in.
Another new face is kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. The former Georgia standout is attempting to compete for the Bucs starting kicker role, where he’ll be up against Chase McLaughlin — the man who replaced him in Indianapolis.
That might lead one to believe there’s some tension with Blankenship, which was indeed the case but it wasn’t with McLaughlin. Blankenship made a name for himself at Georgia for his big leg and thick frames, becoming known for wearing his thick rimmed glasses during games while kicking.
Perhaps his most famous kick, and one of the most iconic in recent memory, happened in the 2018 Rose Bowl. Blankenship nailed a 55-yard field goal right before halftime, one that remains the longest in Bowl history. It also helped spark a comeback by the Bulldogs that included another kick by Blankenship to force double-overtime and eventually power Georgia to ending Oklahoma’s dreams of reaching the national championship game.
Baker Mayfield takes a dig at Rodrigo Blankenship over the 2018 Rose Bowl
Baker hasn't forgotten.
While meeting his new teammate at Buccaneers minicamp, Mayfield made sure to let Blankenship know that he hasn't gotten over what he did in the Rose Bowl five years ago.
Obviously, Baker is kidding -- sort of. He's not actually telling Blankenship off but
If there’s one main takeaway from this, it’s that Baker seems to have his vintage swagger back. His dry wit and sense of humor is something that might help the Bucs through their identity crisis, and is a sign that he’s already settling in as the likely starter next season.
It’s also a classic moment that serves as a reminder that time marches on but it hardly heals all wounds.