While he’s hasn’t been with the team for long, there might not be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers player with more pressure on his shoulders than Baker Mayfield.
The former No. 1 overall pick brings a considerable amount of bagggae with him to Tampa Bay, but the way he’s being talked about suggests he won a charity raffle where the prize is to be an NFL quarterback.
Mayfield hasn’t even played a down with the Bucs, yet he’s already being written off just as much as the team as a whole is. It’s almost a perfect fit in that regard, as the team is playing with as big of a chip on its shoulder as its quarterback it.
Of course, this is assuming Baker wins the training camp battle with Kyle Trask. While the third-year quarterback out of Florida deserves a fair shake, it certainly seems like Mayfield is the clubhouse leader to win the competition.
Not only does he offer more experience, but it sounds like Mayfield is fully winning over his teammates in his short time with the team.
Lavonte David sets the record straight about Baker Mayfield
Baker isn’t just winning over the locker room, he’s earning the important endorsement of its most well respected member.
Look no further than Lavonte David making a recent appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Alex Marvez and Robert Turbin, and publicly supporting his new quarterback.
He wasn’t showy about it, rather David went about it in the savvy veteran way he’s done just about everything he’s done during his career in Tampa Bay. Basically, David contradicts every negative assumption that has been made about Baker during his short stint with the Bucs
“Baker is great for our locker room. I like the way Baker carries himself coming in with a ready-to-work mentality. Everybody loves him already and the way he approaches practice is great to see,” David said, via JoeBucsFan. ”He’s a guy who’s done it before — took his team to the playoffs and done some great things so far. So the competition with those guys is going to be very, very competitive and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
To have the captain of the defense and one of the most well-respected players of the last decade-plus throwing his support behind Baker is massive. Skeptics might try to argue that David is simply politicking to ensure the boat doesn’t rock, but he also doesn’t have to say anything at all.
The fact that David made sure to point out that Baker is having this sort of impact on the locker room is as positive an omen fans have gotten in a while. Of course, it’s one thing to be liked by your teammates and another thing to earn their respect on the field, but David is doing something that most folks avoid when talking about Baker.
It’s easy, low-hanging fruit to troll Baker for the many faults he’s has in his career. Very few are willing to admit that his strengths and successes are both valid and perhaps outweigh the pitfalls.
Being forced out of Cleveland has somehow been held against him, when the move to trade for Deshaun Watson was out of his hands and wasn’t well-received by many at the time. He then went to Carolina and stepped into the Matt Rhule dung pile, but once he was with a good head coach and a solid organization with the Rams he started to show flashes of the old Baker.
Pick at that thread a bit and you start revealing the guy David is talking about, the one who won a Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma and helped the Browns win their first playoff game in over two decades. The lame joke everyone made about Baker replacing Brady entirely misses the point; he’s not supposed be Tom Brady, and it seems like the right people inside the Bucs locker room understand that.