Baker Mayfield’s first four weeks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been a case of the ol’ Michael Scott ‘how the turntables have turned’.
He was trolled into oblivion when he signed with the Bucs back in March, with faux comedians all over social media running with the same tired joke about the optics of Baker replacing Brady. Anyone actually paying attention would see that was never intended to be the case, but the morale of this whole post is a lesson in paying attention and not getting tricked.
The gamble from the start was that a healthy Baker in a stable system with th best weapons he’s ever had would unlock the No. 1 overall potential he showed glimpses of in Cleveland. It’s a small sample size, but so far that gamble is paying off and we’re seeing a version of Mayfield that we haven’t seen before.
Tampa Bay is 3-1 and sits alone atop the NFC South, with Baker playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He only has two turnovers in four games and is masterfully efficient in Dave Canales offense. Last year Canales unlocked Geno Smith and it appears as though he’s producing a sequel with the Bucs.
One of the other things Baker brings to the Bucs his is underdog attitude, something that fits right in with the rest of the team. He’s a totally different vibe than Brady — or any other quarterback the Bucs have had — and everything is clicking perfectly.
That attitude is what put a national spotlight on him at Oklahoma and Cleveland, and now that the Bucs are good Baker is a shiny object that folks can’t help but reach for.
No, Baker Mayfield didn’t take a shot at the Browns after Week 4
After the win a quote started making the rounds in which Baker Mayfield took a shot at the Cleveland Browns and their coaches.
"This is only the second time in my pro career that I've had a coaching staff that lets me play to my full potential. McVay understood what I'm capable of but no one else before that did,” the quote read.
It’s seems like a pretty juicy quote, something that even Sports Illustrated’s The Spun blindly took at face value. Even a Cleveland radio station talked about the quote the next day while bemoaning the Browns after a blowout loss.
The only problem is the quote isn’t real. Anyone who did two seconds of research would have found this out, as Baker’s full postgame press conference was easily available to find and use to cross reference this.
What this highlights is how easily Baker is made a target and why his success with the Bucs is so deeply satisfying to watch. We heard the offseason trolling when he signed in Tampa Bay but this little incident is a reminder that Baker is a lightning rod that people already love to touch — the better he and the Bucs play the more attention is going to be placed on the team.
Tom Brady retiring was supposed to mean the end of national relevance for the Bucs, but this proves that life after Brady can be just as sweet as it was while he was still here.