Among the many pleasant surprises for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season is the play of quarterback Baker Mayfield.
He was trolled back in March after signing with the team, and the national media didn't stray far from that narrative during training camp. Those weird aggregation accounts shared grainy practice footage of Mayfield missing his receivers, usually with some lame pithy comment that they thought was clever.
The only folks laughing now is Mayfield and the Bucs.
While his Sunday against the Lions was by far his worst game since coming to Tampa Bay, Mayfield has generally had a decent bounce back season. According to PFF he ranks second in the league for quarterback performance under pressure, and has helped the Bucs grind to a 3-2 start with wins over the Vikings and Saints.
Baker's grit has been something that has stood out so far, and that energy has radiated throughout the rest of the team. He set the tone for the season with a nasty stiff arm and angry run back in Week 1, but it's something his coaches don't always love to see when he's on the field.
Buccaneers QB coach points out biggest weakness for Baker Mayfield
Thad Lewis hopped on the Buccaneers radio network (per our pals over at JoeBucsFan), and dove into the strengths and weaknesses of Baker Mayfield.
While it was mostly positive, something that reflects how well Baker has played this year, Lewis didn't shy away from pointing to what he feels is his quarterback's biggest weakness.
“The thing that I just have to continue to work on him is because of his grit and his excitement, just to get him not to go as fast. Sometimes he goes super fast," Lewis said. "Just to get him to be smooth and slow down a little bit because you can just twitch up. And smooth is fast, and not being herky-jerky. That’s when he gets in trouble; he’s a little herky-jerky."
Lewis noted that when Baker smooths that out, he's 'unstoppable'. He also highlighted his football IQ and general intelligence as strengths, pointing out how much Baker is able to commands a new system.
"He understands the [Dave Canales' offense]. He has command of it. You know once he knows it very good, he’s going to execute it,” Lewis said.
That's sort of a compliment sandwich, but even his 'weakness' isn't really that bad. The fact that Baker gets so fired up that he loses the plot is definitely the sort of thing Bucs fans have seen before -- *cough* Jameis Winston -- and is chaotic energy Baker needs to harness.
As Lewis points out, though, when Baker is able to harness that energy it gets channeled into the types of performances the Bucs brought him to Tampa Bay for.