Last Chance Kids

August 14th, 2023

Career crossroads.

This is a little weird, but life hits funny sometimes.

Joe has written many times that this season could be Bucs coach Todd Bowles’ last opportunity to lead an NFL team. Why? He’s on a four-season streak of losing seasons.

Team Glazer history has been very consistent: Unless you win a Super Bowl, you don’t return after consecutive losing seasons. Back up the U-Hauls. Only Chucky had back-to-back losing seasons with Tampa Bay and survived. And yes, he won Team Glazer a Super Bowl. Rings tend to give coaches job security. Funny how that happens.

So to whom who will Bowles turn to help him keep his gig? Another guy at a career crossroads. Baker Mayfield is on his fourth team in three years.

The former No. 1 overall pick needs to have a strong year to remain a starting quarterback. If he fails, he’s likely to finish his career as a backup.

This has not been lost on Mike Jones of The Athletic who visited the Bucs this month during training camp to type about the career crossroads of Bowles and Mayfield, how they’re leaning on each other.

For Mayfield, Tampa Bay likely represents his last legitimate shot at becoming an NFL franchise quarterback. He’s 31-38 in five seasons, with a winning record in just one year (2020, when he went 11-5). With success in 2023, he can prove that his fizzle in Cleveland and inconsistencies while on the quarterback carousel in Carolina were due to circumstances beyond his control. He gets a chance to show he can be a high-level field general capable of directing Super Bowl pursuits.

Bowles, meanwhile, gets his best — and possibly final — chance to show he can improve on his struggles in four seasons with the Jets and last year with the Bucs. That the head coach can build, develop and lead a winning team.

These two need to find a way to nine wins. That should equal job security.

If the Bucs move on from Mayfield, well, Joe cannot recall a starting NFL quarterback on his fifth team in four years.

And Bowles? Very, very few coaches have a fifth-straight losing season and survive to coach a possible sixth consecutive losing season. It’s been decades. So Bowles, like Mayfield, needs wins.

Can both help each other out?

39 Responses to “Last Chance Kids”

  1. Wild Bill Says:

    Not a big fan of Mayfield but but for the Bucs sake I hope he is at least adequate. Also I would really like Trask to gradually develop into the starter sometime this season.

  2. Cchead Says:

    Bowles is 34-51 as a head coach in the NFL. I don’t think this guy makes it to the end of the season. I seem him getting canned if he looses to Atl in December and Canales takes over the final 4 games.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    While I never root against any Buc player or coach…..I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if we had a new QB & new head coach next year.

    If Mayfield makes it, Bowles makes it….not necessarily vice-versa.

    I still have zero confidence in Bowles as a HC.

  4. Boss Says:

    IF TB could not help this OL baker or trask aint gonna do it. as for toliet bowl…..wellhe can not be helped.

    wish them the best after this year and would not be upset to have new HC and hope bext year. I did not say qb because trask has yet to get a shot.

  5. ATLBuc Says:

    Can a year when the coach won the division and went to the playoffs despite inheriting, not picking, personnel and assistants really be called a losing season? Especially after inheriting a nonexistent salary cap. in an era where black coaches are perceived to be on extra short leashes I don’t think the Glazer’s want to be viewed in that light. I reject the theory of Bowles being on the hot seat in what is essentially the first year with “his team”. I think the Glaziers have told him as much.

  6. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Not sure why he would suddenly figure it all out now after so many bad seasons as a mediocre to bad coach, but it’s August and I am hopeful anyway.

  7. Thomas Edrington Says:

    Thanks to CAPTAIN OBVIOUS at The Athletic for telling everyone what most all of us already know…….

    Truth be known, Mayfield is an NFL backup……and — most of today’s successful NFL teams have younger, offensive-minded head coaches, with the exception of Andy Reed, older yes, but an offensive guru — we’ve got a defensive-minded coach with a miserable head-coaching record…..he turned Tom Brady into a loser…..and, by the way, I can’t see those Mayfield-rolls-out passing plays doing much against teams with speed up front….

  8. ATLBuc Says:

    Can a year when the coach won the division and went to the playoffs despite inheriting, not picking, personnel and assistants really be called a losing season? Especially after inheriting a non existing salary cap. I don’t think the Glazer’s want to be viewed in that light. I reject the theory of Bowles being on the hot seat in what is essentially the first year with “his team”. I think the Glaziers have told him as much.

  9. Craig Says:

    I think Hot Toddie’s fate will fall on how he treats Duh Baker.

    Baker might start big, but I doubt he can sustain it. He gets somewhat complacent as the season drags on.

    If he starts to trend down will Hot Toddie pull him to see if door number 3 might open on treasures.

    If Baker stays in and the season splutters, Hot Toddie won’t be that hot anymore. He might find a DC job, but not another HC.

  10. EA Says:

    There’s no hope this season, fans feel it.
    Baker will not start more than 6 games this season before his mouth gets him in trouble, and yeah he doesn’t have the talent to back his talk.
    IMO Baker-Bowels combo is doomed from the start, those personalities don’t match, 2 mediocre at best never equal great.
    Remember when The Brownies released him they said ” We want an adult at QB”. Obviously they think Watson is more of an adult than Baker. 🤣😂

  11. Dave Pear Says:

    I hope Todd learned something from last year although Forrest Gump would have made better game decisions than Todd did last year.

    We shall see. Tom Brady wasn’t good enough to overcome Todd’s coaching – hard to expect Baker or Kyle to deodorize that stank.

  12. BucU Says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Baker but he’s done everything right since he walked in the door. I’m sure as hell going to give him a chance to prove himself here.

  13. Danny Husak Says:

    “Lost is the soul who speaks on what he knows not.” Above, I see a gaggle of those who are lost. For Tampa’s sake, I pray the rest of the fans are “The SMART Silent Majority.” “Baker gets complacent as the season drags on.” Obviously NO ONE watched the Christmas Eve game against GB. 2021. Baker had a bad aiming shoulder, a rotten defense,a beaten-up body, a thrown-together OL, AND, a coach who pulled Chub out of the 4th quarter potential winning drive. Lost interest ? Why don’t you WATCH the games.

  14. Usfbuc Says:

    Hopefully we aren’t basing a decision on – did we win 9 games. I can understand wins being the determining factor if we are winning 12+ games. If we are at 9 wins we need to also be looking at the quality of play and coaching decisions.

  15. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Geno Smith would be the only other comparo at 4 teams in 4 years and starting well in Seattle last season. It is not only Bowles job on the line , it is the entire coaching staff.

  16. Buc4evr Says:

    This combo is doomed from the start. 9 games is a tall order for a losing coach and a losing QB. It’s especially hard with a bad O line and a new offense. if the Bucs think they are going to have a reliable run game, they are sadly mistaken. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Even with the cap situation, I think Jason could have a lot better with linemen and a QB.

  17. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    @Danny Husak. Yeah, I remember it well. If I’m not mistaken, a GB loss in that game would have given the Bucs a boost above them in the playoff seeding (I think we were battling for #1 or 2 seed?).

    Anyway, yeah, Mayfield was hurt and Chubb was running at will, picking up chunks of yards with ease. Then, inexplicably, with the clock winding down, approaching easy FG range for the win (only neding about 10 to 15 yards), they pull Chubb and call a pass play that gets picked. Brutal coaching move on par with Pete Carroll calling the pass in the SB instead of pounding it in with Beast Mode, but less costly of course.

    Easy to blame Mayfield for the pick, but with a bad shoulder and easy running for Chubb, it was a dumb call and the DB made a great play jumping the route.

    Even tho Bowles has a history of poor decisions, if we have a running game that’s working like Chubb was doing and what Carroll had in Lynch at the goal line even Bowles wouldn’t say, “Let’s throw it here”. At least I hope he wouldn’t. Lol

  18. Toad Bowels Says:

    Who is the offensive line coach? That guy will have more impact on whether Toad keeps a job and Baker or Trask does well than anyone else in the house.

  19. FortMyersDave Says:

    CcHead, I agree with you in that Bowles should get launched if the Bucs are 0-4 at the bye but if the front office decides the season is lost and decides to tank they could keep him at the helm to ensure a 3 or 4 win season. The Bucs may have learned from the 2022 Carolina squad. They were horrible under Rhule, going 1-4 before he got canned. They went a respectable 6-6 under a more competent leader and slid from a potential top 2 or 3 pick at 3-14 or 4-13 to #9 at 7-10 so they had to give up the farm to move up to number 1 and get their franchise QB. The Panthers should have tanked and the Bucs, well if they are 1-3 or 0-4 at the bye they will have a big decision to make, especially if the QB play is why the Bucs are so bad……

  20. bucsfaninOregon Says:

    IMO Licht let last year’s season go down the drain since he never improved the OL once the season started. Note to Licht: All hands on deck- -must improve this OL ASAP!

  21. fishhawkbuc Says:

    Arians new Bowles would fail and that it would make him look that much better

  22. Buddha Says:

    I’m a fan and I don’t feel hopeless. Everybody knows the Buccaneers could have been 9-8 last year but for the good of the team he rested the starters in the second half against Atlanta. How many division championships has this franchise won. Bowles won one and he crafted the defense that made Maholmes look pathetic. This may be the only FAN site in the US where the posters root for the team to lose. Sad. Baker is the all time most efficient QB in the history of the NCAA. He got a bad deal in Cleveland. His QB rating on Friday was 160+ and the touchdown pass was a thing of beauty. What do you have to lose to support him?

  23. Student of the Game Says:

    I agree with Toad Bowels. O-line is the difference between 5-11 and 11-5. Mayfield was 8 of 9 and the incompletion hit the guy in the hands. He sees the coverage quicker and moves to another receiver faster when 1st option is covered.
    Thomas Edrington, that offense works for KC, Seattle, San Francisco and roughly half the league to some degree. Its the sitting duck in the pocket offense that doesn’t work anymore with the speed of defenses. You have to be able to move or have All Pro tight ends.

  24. tbc 1 Says:

    Wow can you feel all the love for Mayfield–he will play better than Bradys last year-quarterback should be as follows 1 Mayfield 2 Wollford 3 Trask. If coach thinks all he needs to do is run the ball bucs season is over after 6 games.

  25. Eric Says:

    Franchise QB I will take bets that’s not happening!

  26. PewterStiffArm Says:

    11- 6 would be awesome, 10 and 7 is more realistic, double digit wins are absolutely necessary. If not this team needs to be blown up.

  27. SlyPirate Says:

    Devil’s Advocate
    Boyles won the NFCS last year
    If he wins the NFCS with a losing record (not probable) he’ll retain his job
    If the team has a lot of key injuries, and gets 7-8 wins, he’ll retain his job
    Bill Belicheck recorded losing seasons in 5 of his first 6 years

  28. Student of the Game Says:

    Buddha, you are spot on. On this site the same fans that say Mayfield is too short and demand Trask, also advocate tanking after the bye so they can draft Caleb Williams. LOL, how tall is he?

  29. Pewter Power Says:

    I think whether baker plays well or not we should draft a quarterback. His stats could very easily be a product of the talent we have at the skill positions. good is not enough we need a long term solution to replace Brady

  30. gp Says:

    Bowles has proven his coaching ability, as a DC. As a head coach, he has not been able to prove himself, yet. I hope he can/has found the right mix of coaching personnel to run his scheme in a winning way.
    Unfortunately, his history as a head coach doesn’t exactly build any confidence in that happening.
    I don’t know the circumstances surrounding his tenure in NY. But here, he was given a staff that had coached this team to a super bowl and then a 13-4 record the next year. He also, largely, had the same player personnel as well. The argument that he didn’t get to “pick” his own staff is BS considering what the staff and players did in the previous two seasons.
    The only viable excuse would be the implosion of the OL just before the season started. And for those that blame Licht for not rebuilding it in the off season I say, “go back to your fantasy world video games”. Replacing the talent we lost is not done with waiver wire or practice team talent.
    On the other hand,continuing with a game plan that assumes the same talent level there is also from the fantasy realm. Bowles was seemingly unable to revise his game plan or prep to account for that loss of talent.
    To my eye, he did not change his game plan at all throughout the season.
    I hope he gets his ‘HC act’ together this season. It really doesn’t matter who we have at QB if he doesn’t.

  31. Boss Says:

    most sense ever

    fishhawkbuc Says:
    August 14th, 2023 at 10:56 am
    Arians new Bowles would fail and that it would make him look that much better

  32. Beej Says:

    For those of you advocating tanking for a QB, CHJStroud had his first action…2 of 4 for 13 yards, a pick and a sack

  33. Dave Pear Says:

    Tanking works well for teams that like being constantly in the tank. I applaud Bowles and Licht, and the Glazers for ignoring the losers mantra.

  34. Eric Says:

    we sold out for the Brady glory, which was glorious, now we pay the piper.

    no QB, aging superstars, lousy coach. Horrific O-line.

    Otherwise we’re good to go.

  35. Buddha Says:

    Bowles won more games his first year than Arians!

  36. Kelby Says:

    Anyone who thinks the Bucs will tank knows nothing. Period. If you think those coaches and players will agree to tanking your crazy. The O-line will be the issue for the Bucs.

  37. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    I can see Mayfield leading a winning team, but I can’t see Bowles at the helm for a winner.

    Mayfield has had some lousy situations, and could be a diamond in the rough. Bowles has already had way too many chances.

    How Bowles will mess it up is going to be interesting to watch.

  38. Dave Pear Says:

    I saw a real QB playing against the Steelers, without much help from Goedeke and Hainsey. He feels it – gets it. I was not a fan but can be converted.

    Trask also had no chance with Turnstile and Matador in front of him.

    Let’s see if Trask can take command. That’s the thing to watch.

  39. garro Says:

    Good luck to both!
    The alterantive is not a pleasant thought.

    Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter.
    Byron Leftwich, Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon, Jameis Winston.

    Not looking forward to more of this.

    “Dave Pear Says:
    August 14th, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    Tanking works well for teams that like being constantly in the tank. I applaud Bowles and Licht, and the Glazers for ignoring the losers mantra.”

    Absolutely agree! Love the screen name BTW!

    Go Bucs!