Interceptions A Looming X-Factor

May 7th, 2023

Fun facts: Jameis Winston, the former “America’s Quarterback” of the Buccaneers, led the NFL with 30 interceptions back in 2019.

That got him fired, but the Bucs quarterback the following season tied for the league lead in interceptions.

Bucs fans may remember that guy. It was Tom Brady.

Brady had 15 picks in the 2020 season. The Goat had mastered the no-risk-it-no-biscuit offense while Jameis mastered giving away too many biscuits.

Total picks have dropped across the NFL in recent years, in part because the league has enacted rules that don’t let you breathe on QBs without a penalty.

Don’t think that’s true? Consider that the last guy to throw more than 20 picks in a season not named Jameis was new Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield, 21 interceptions with the Browns in 2019. Before that, it was the guy Mayfield replaced, DeShone Kizer (22) in 2017.

In 2016, it was veteran Phillip Rivers giving the ball away like Halloween candy, leading the NFL with 21.

After that, you have to jump all the way back to 2013 to find a sea of interceptions. Eli Manning led the NFL with 27, followed by 22 for Andy Dalton, 22 for Joe Flacco and 22 for Carson Palmer, who was in his first season with Bucco Bruce Arians’ no-risk-it-no-biscuit offense in Arizona.

As Joe stated, interceptions are down — in a league increasingly dominated by passing.

Joe assumes Mayfield will win the Bucs’ starting gig over Kyle Trask. And when (if?) he does, interceptions are going to be a huge X-factor this season. Interceptions drive most coaches insane, especially defense-first head coaches like Todd Bowles.

Joe is somewhat concerned considering Mayfield will be a brand new offense with new receivers, and the Bucs don’t have the punishing rushing attack Mayfield was used to Cleveland.

Mayfield has 64 picks in 69 career starts. Not so good. Jameis has 96 picks in 80 career starts. Dreadful.

Joe pulled a few other guys for perspective — and for fun. Former Bucs gunslinger Josh Freeman had 68 picks in 61 career starts. Dak Prescott has 65 picks but in 97 career strarts. New Saints quarterback Derek Carr has 99 picks in 142 starts.

32 Responses to “Interceptions A Looming X-Factor”

  1. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Winston’s 30 int are not even a franchise record lol. Vinny had 35 his rookie year.

  2. Infomeplease Says:

    Interceptions are huge momentum stingers! A pick 6 is the worst! Jameis used to start games throwing those…

  3. Lt. Dan Says:

    Baker will be just fine. All offseason to learn a new offense – one that the Joes have mentioned is not crazy complicated (my words not theirs verbatim). Heavy on the run game etc. look at Geno Smith last year. Anyone think that he’s a better QB than Baker?

  4. Infomeplease Says:

    Correction, momentum swingers

  5. R.O. Says:

    Compare INT Rate to Air Yards per Attempt. I would bet there is a direct correlation.

  6. Aaron Says:

    Y’all trying to lose as many games so get the 1st pick next year shouldn’t be allowed it’s crazy

  7. Bucsmarley Says:

    Trask should beat out baker because he knows how to protect the ball. We are looking for a game manager (Brad Johnson) and Kyle will be fine if given the opportunity. It was senseless bowels not playing him with the starters. Fear of losing his job Based on trask college play he should be fine. Any doubters look at Trasks stats in college. And no bs about the 11 passes he threw in a nfl game with scrubs that aren’t playing. Just want it to be a fair competition but knowing our wonderful coach is scared about losing his job. We know baker is not the answer so you play the unknown to see what to do in the future. Just my opinion. And cue the Trask haters….,…

  8. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Momentum stingers applies, too.

  9. Geno711 Says:

    R.O. I agree there is some relation between air yards per attempt and interception rate but really not to the degree you may think. Some guys just throw more interceptions. Jameis Winston throws more certainly when he is trying to throw downfield, but he also made many ill-advised short throws as well.

    The bigger differential is just understanding where players might be and when just to take an incompletion instead of trying to fit a ball into a spot.

    We saw this with the difference between Brady and Winston in the same darn system.

  10. ATLBuc Says:

    Trask will undoubtedly win the starting job. If it were Mayfield they would have drafted a quarterback.

  11. Geno711 Says:


    Don’t care one bit whether Kyle Trask or Baker Mayfield wins out. Personally, I want the better player to get the gig. Not sure why anyone would think that the coaching staff would choose anyone but the better player.

    All things being equal, most of the players will also gravitate to the QB who plays better in the games. We saw that last year with the Jets, or even with San Francisco.

    All things being equal, I would hope Trask wins out because it will be better for the Bucs salary cap both this year and next year.

    But not sure, why anyone would look at Trask’s final year at University of Florida and think that for some reason that would mean he would be successful in the NFL. There are too many examples of great college QB’s who do not translate to good NFL quarterbacks. I typically value the NFL coaches opinions on these guys over someone who watched a guy play in college.

    I wish you could accept this reality.

  12. Pryda…sec147 Says:

    Really think our OC is going to be the difference maker

  13. Lamarcus Says:

    It just seems like bigger force is happening with BUCS QBs and Intercept problems. This to me isn’t a coincidence. Something about Tampa football

  14. Kenny Says:

    I think Baker will be fine. Baker has had more coaches than years in the NFL… Also hes mostly been on super crappy teams.

    I think Baker has been humbled and he knows hes on one of his last chances here. I expect that he will play well.

    Watch him feed Evans…. Surely thats his gameplan.

  15. Craig Says:

    Mayfly would be much better if he was a pocket passer.

    It is when he runs around, trying to extend plays, that he tosses most of his interceptions.

    The question is if the team learned a lesson with Jameis and will sit Mayfly.

    That depends on Trask playing in camp like he is going to be a starter. If he doesn’t keep Mayfly close to honest it will be a long season.

  16. Mike Johnson Says:

    Mayfield will start. If he starts his Jameis like tendencies? Trask will get his shot sooner than many think.

  17. Wild Bill Says:

    The Bucs wasted Trask all last season while Brady sucked. The kid should have gotten most of the preseason reps after Brady played the first couple possessions. So now the only returning qb from last year who got almost no reps in preseason remains an unknown! And Baker comes in with a lousy history. Trask could have been tested but was not. The whole qb situation reeks! Coaches and owners screwed up big time.

  18. Eric Says:

    Hey Joe keep banking on Baker lol Crap is crap wait you will see!

  19. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    When JW was QB, it seemed like the Bucs were down 2 scores before the middle of the the 1st qtr. This caused the Bucs to abandon the running games and it was downhill early. JW threw a lot of passes up for grab. He should’ve had even more ints, not to mention he wasn’t exactly a model citizen. Don’t miss those days.

  20. Bobby M. Says:

    The interceptions could open the door for Trask. Bowles is a game manager, his mentality is built around not giving games away. Polar opposite of no risk it no biscuit.

  21. Rand Says:


    The Bucs would most of the time be behind because of JW. How many times in the first series would he spot the others teams defense the lead?

  22. Hodad Says:

    Can’t touch the QBs or the receivers now Joe.

  23. Allen Lofton Says:

    Not all picks are on the Quarterback – Receivers running wrong routes, the offensive line leaking like a sieve allowing defensive linemen to hit the quarterback’s arm just as he’s releasing the ball, and too much pressure on the quarterback and having to throw into baited coverage. It’s a team sport and like Todd Bowles says, you’ve got to run the ball to take pressure off the quarterback.

  24. Pickgrin Says:

    Joe – You forgot to mention the ‘modern era’ interceptions leader.

    A Buccaneer (go figure).

    In his 2nd year (1988) Vinnie Testaverde threw 35 Interceptions.

    The next season when it made news that Vinnie was colorblind – everybody nodded their head and was like – Ok – yea – that makes sense…. LOL

  25. Stanglassman Says:

    This is not going to be high risk high rewards, no risk it no biscuit offense. I’m not too concerned with interceptions this year.

  26. Dooley Says:

    I remember reading somewhere Mayfield has also completed the most passes on balls thrown >20 yards since 2020. Not a fan of the guy, stated it feels weird rooting for Baker to do well, so I’m going into this w/o my hopes to high or low at this point.

  27. Aaron Says:

    Edit much? Does anyone look at these before they are posted? Had this been handed in to any high school English teacher, it would have been covered in red ink.

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I am simply not convinced that Baker can become a true franchise quarterback. He has been on too many teams, had too many chances, and blown all of them.

    Suddenly, the Bucs are the perfect fit for him? With an unstable, untested offensive line and very little chance of an effective run game?

    (Gotta have a good OL to have a good run game)

    Some fans can claim Mayfield never had enough to work with…But the truth is that there is no way that was the case with every team he was on.

    That said, I am also 90% certain he will be handed the starting role unless he is injured. I do NOT believe this is a open competition. Trash is not going to get a fair shot to take over this team…within the first 8 games.

    But I’m actually okay with that. By game 9, the OL should be gelling. The run game should impressive by then as well.

    Trash will come in with no pressure…and that’s when we’ll finally see what he is capable of.

    Unless, of course, Bowles chooses a veteran again.

  29. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Less than a 40% winning average in his best year. That’s Baker.

  30. Pepsi Says:

    Brady did not tie for a league leading interceptions in 2020, nor did he throw 15 ints in 2020.. unless you’re counting post season (which you seem to be for some reason). If you’re counting post season then you can’t start by comparing Brady leading the league in ints like Jameis the season before, because no that’s false

  31. Geno711 Says:

    Interception rates league wide through history:

    1966: 5.0%
    1980: 4.7%
    2000: 3.3%
    2020: 2.3%

    Jameis Winston in 2019 was 4.8%.
    Tom Brady in 2020 was 2.0% (2.2% in playoffs).

    Quarterbacks make a difference. Shocking to few but Brady (even scared or noodle armed version as some have called him) is way better than alleged in prime Jameis Winston.

  32. Goatfarmer Says:

    Ya well.


    The Bucs starting QB will be playing from multiple scores down in the first half in most games. Poor bastages at QB.