Mayfield leads the starters early.
Baker Mayfield took the field Saturday night and turned in an impressive short performance, going 6/6 for 43 yards and a touchdown to Chris Godwin. This was his second solid performance of the Spring, setting himself up nicely for a week one showdown in the Norris Division with the Vikings. Trask followed and again turned in a solid performance, going 19/31 for 192 yards and a touchdown to David Wells. Neither quarterback turned the ball over while leading the Bucs to another win and taking down the Baltimore Ravens 26-20 on a night without Lamar Jackson to tend with.
Experience the difference in Bowles Eyes.
The experience factor was the deciding factor in Baker Mayfield being named the starter. More likely than not, this could be Baker Mayfield’s last solid shot at a starting job in the NFL. He’s on a one-year four million-dollar-make-it-or-break-it-deal. This is where he wanted to play football, the spot for his immediate future, to play out. “Tampa, the land of his career redemption, or not.” It could end up being his personal Battle Of The Alamo, or Pearl Harbor. Most fans and experts, alike, believe that Mayfield has the skills to play in this league. It’s all about consistency; can Mayfield keep it together and helm a steady ship? Ruling out his past and focusing on the here and now, Mayfield has kept it together in his two preseason stints. He looks confident and sure of himself and his team-mates. It could be that Mayfield has found himself a home in Tampa, a new leash on his career. He’s capable of playing very well, and he may very well do just that this season. But there will come a game when things start heading south, and he makes some mistakes. A couple of quick picks, especially if one or both are returned all the way. Will it shake him? Will he be able to regroup and not only rectify the situation but rise above it and effectively lead this team to victory despite his mistakes? It’s pull it together, sink or swim, win or lose time. Will he answer the bell, or will he be sucked down into the muck and the mire, much like Jameis Winston was in his pivotal last season? I am not able to say when that moment may come, but it will arrive at his doorstep; it’s inevitable. In that moment, he must control the outcome and overcome it. There is a pretty good chance that Todd Bowles, depending on how bad the situation is, could call upon Kyle Trask to replace Mayfield in the game. This would be the worst outcome for Baker Mayfield. This is what he cannot allow to transpire. If Kyle Trask gets on that field and does what he’s very capable of doing, then Mayfield’s “one more chance” season could be done. If Mayfield can keep Trask off the field; and stay firmly in command, then his chances are greatly enhanced of getting a longer deal starting next season.
Beating the odds
Mayfield has a history of beating the odds. He is the most successful college walk-on player of all time. He was a walk-on at Texas Tech before leaving, and again, being a walk-on at Oklahoma (his boyhood favorite team), where he won the Heisman Trophy, the first walk-on player ever to do so. Furthermore, the Browns selected him as the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. So don’t count him out just yet; he’s got a chip on his shoulder, and the Bucs wouldn’t want it any other way. Go Bucs!!