QB Mayfield helps surprise Buccaneers develop new identity without Tom Brady | Region

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are building a new identity without Tom Brady.

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady retired last winter, ending his three-year run as the team’s goalkeeper, and the Buccaneers were left searching for a quarterback who could help them stay competitive.

Four games into the season, Baker Mayfield beat out third-year pro Kyle Trask to become the starter in training camp and he looks to be a solid choice.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 882 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions, helping the Buccaneers enter this week’s bye with a surprising 3-1 start.

“He’s a fighter and has a tough tone. I think he’s a great fit for us,” receiver Chris Godwin said of Mayfield, who has been on the field for more than two years. Joining the team for the fourth time.

“You see him making plays. He makes some big shots and he comes back,” Godwin added. “I think he’s a leader, and I think he loves the ball. I think that runs through him. “It’s contagious to the guys on the team.”

While it may be too early to classify Tampa Bay as Mayfield’s team, the 28-year-old quarterback is clearly part of what coach Todd Bowles described as the Buccaneers’ “transformation into a physical, A big part of a team that’s hard to beat.”

Bowles stressed that the Buccaneers, who have beaten Minnesota, Chicago and NFC South rival New Orleans but lost to undefeated Philadelphia, are still trying to establish themselves.

“We’re close. We’re not there yet. I’m hoping to get another game or two in,” Bowles said. “In the bye week, once we get everybody back (from injuries), we’ll have a chance to get everybody in the mix and have a chance to see that.”

Led by Brady, Tampa Bay has one of the best passing offenses in the league.

The Buccaneers are trying to find more balance, with Mayfield running a system installed by first-year offensive coordinator Dave Canales and relying on a stingy defense to do its part to help the team succeed.

“This is a great team,” said Mayfield, who spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns before splitting time between the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams in 2022. “Everyone is on the same page.” “Everyone is doing their job.”

Teammates have been impressed with Mayfield’s leadership and toughness, including his ability to extend plays with his legs and his willingness to put his body on the line when he comes out of the pocket and becomes a runner fighting for extra yards. among.

“You don’t want him to take on too much of that, but he’s strong, he’s tough. He’s a very smart football player and a competitor. He’s been that way his whole life and it’s never changed. He has a lot to offer. stuff, and he had a lot of fun there,” Powers said.

“It makes the offensive line want to block more. It makes us want to run our routes harder and give him a chance because we know he’s going to extend the game as long as possible to give us a chance,” Gold said Wen said. “I’m happy to have him.”

Mayfield was happy to get off to a 3-1 start, something few outside the locker room saw.

He said the Buccaneers didn’t pay much attention to outside rhetoric when the season began and there’s no reason to change that mindset now.

“We can’t change whether people are going to pat you on the back or say bad things about you,” the quarterback said.

Powers agreed.

“Whether they say we’re good or bad, it doesn’t make any difference to us. We write our own stories, we create our own stories,” Powers said.

“Everyone in this building loves each other. “We play for each other, we coach for each other, and we have a lot of fun. “

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