It’s been a tough season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the team squandering a surprisingly strong start by reverting back their old frustrating ways.
After beginning the season 3-1, the Bucs have lost six games in the seven weeks since their bye and just about everything is going wrong. One common thread throughout the year has been the struggles of the offense. A lot of blame has been put on first-year offensive coordinator Dave Canales, but for the most part quarterback Baker Mayfield has escaped the discourse.
Some fans have called him out for either being part of the problem or not being good enough to pull the Bucs toward a solution, but most fans still seem to be shopping at The Bakery hoping to find something worthy buying.
It’s these fans, and the underwhelming play of Baker, that drew the ire of one former Bucs player who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.
Ex-Bucs player roasts Baker Mayfield and fans who keep defending him
On the latest episode of his always spicy podcast, In The Trenches, former offensive lineman Ian Beckles went after Bucs fans who keep defending Baker Mayfield — or as he essentially puts it, keep settling for less.
“Our expectations of Baker Mayfield are so darn low that when he just doesn’t stink, we think he played well. I think that is the issue,” Beckles said. “I don’t want my quarterback to be gritty. I want my quarterback to make the throws, to make the right decisions and to lead. We got a guy off the trash heap that didn’t win and is still not winning.”
To be fair, Baker has put together one of the more solid seasons of his career. He’s battled through some injuries but hasn’t missed any games and the glimpses we see of him connecting with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are beautiful to watch.
He’s also a victim of circumstance. Canales has been unable to find ways to scheme Evans and Godwin into the offense more, and the poor offensive line play is starting to catch up with Mayfield’s ability to navigate around pressure.
That being said, Beckles and others are quick to point out that a talented quarterback should be able to elevate the team above its short comings, which Baker has been unable to do this season. That’s a critical piece of his game to analyze as the Bucs contemplate whether to further invest in him becoming the quarterback of the future.
“Baker Mayfield is not the answer. Why would you want him to be the answer if you are a Buccaneer fan? [If Mayfield starts next year] we’re going to be sitting in the same spot,” Beckles said.
Tampa Bay is just a game out of first place in the NFC South, but also has a Top 10 draft pick at the moment. The team is equally distance away from firing its entire coaching staff and hosting a home playoff game, and Baker is right smack dab at the center of it all.