“‘Operation: Caleb Williams’ Is In Full Effect”

September 4th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Even our friends in the desert think the Bucs will be a doormat.

Joe came across this yesterday and even though it’s harsh on the Bucs, Joe thought it was hilarious. Apparently, the sharps in Las Vegas believe the Bucs need to take a page from the Cardinals and start greasing the wheels to lose and lose a lot to set themselves up to dominate the future.

Adam Burke, the managing editor for VSiN, typed a preview of Week 1 NFL games where he expects the line to move this week. One of those games is the Bucs at Vikings, the season-opener for both teams.

At the time this article was published yesterday, the line is Vikings -6. Burke thinks this spread is low, in part, because the Bucs’ biggest goal in September, he believes, is getting a franchise quarterback in April.

I think the only question about this game is how quickly the line gets to -7. There are a lot of people low on the Vikings because of their clear regression signs after winning 13 games with a -3 point differential and 11 one-score wins, but “Operation: Caleb Williams” is in full effect for the Buccaneers.

Why does Joe think this is so funny? Joe thinks the Bucs defense is going to be good and if they find an edge rush, possibly damn good.

Joe doesn’t know how you tank for Caleb Williams if you have a top-five defense, let’s say. Not unless you have a rash of injuries where half the defensive starters are sidelined.

People outside the Tampa Bay area are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt the Bucs are going to blow chunks this fall. Yeah, yeah, people don’t like Baker Mayfield, Joe gets it. But it has to be something deeper.

Are most people so down on Todd Bowles that by adding Mayfield they believe the Bucs have sealed their fate with a combination of the two?

60 Responses to ““‘Operation: Caleb Williams’ Is In Full Effect””

  1. Voice of Truth Says:

    Last paragraph answer, emphatic YES – that is what 90% of the general public believes

    Top 5 defense? Maybe top 15 is far more likely. I believe the O will be better, but anything is better than last year so not a real measure there.

    Top 20 O, Top 15 D, pray for a Kieth Armstrong rare good year on ST – heck we could win as many as 7 games – but 5-6 is most likely as the injuries set in and the complete lack of depth coupled with 13 rookies begins to really show up

    We have 30 of 53 players with 3 years or less experience and a HC that is notoriously bad at game management

    The recipe is pretty simple here

  2. Chris Stewart Says:

    They see what happened last year, then minus the GOAT Tom Brady and expectations are low. Do you really think Mayfield could have worked that Brady Magic against the saints on Monday night?

  3. Mike S Says:

    Caleb is just another one read run around guy who dominates college, but isn’t squat in the pros.

  4. Vlad The Impaler Says:

    Are most people so down on Todd Bowles that by adding Mayfield they believe the Bucs have sealed their fate with a combination of the two?


  5. Pewter Power Says:

    If they are drafting a quarterback please say goodbye to Bowles. Let’s not ruin another quarterback, if you can’t take the ball out of Brady’s hands no telling what he’ll do with a rookie

  6. SB Says:

    As a fan of 47 years I know that the game is played on the field.
    Been through some rough seasons

  7. Joe Says:

    If they are drafting a quarterback please say goodbye to Bowles.

    If Bucs are drafting a quarterback in the first round in April, that tells Joe there has been a coaching change. Otherwise, if Mayfield gets the job done, you won’t need to draft a quarterback.

  8. adam from ny Says:

    they might not be naming captains rn because it seems like as per the internet, they’re trying to get a trade done with detroit for mike evans

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Is Caleb really that good?

  10. garro Says:

    Soo tired of tank talk Joe.
    Please find something of actual football interest.

    Go Bucs

  11. Joe Says:

    Is Caleb really that good?

    Have you seen him play?

  12. adam from ny Says:

    mike evans spotted in aisle 9 at publix this evening wearing a detroit lions cap and shirt


  13. Jack Clark Says:

    I think Caleb Williams is overrated. He throws to wide open receivers and will probably get injured in the NFL from scrambling too much. He’s good at throwing on the run though.

  14. Divis Says:

    Keep Mike. Johnny Wilson to the Bucs.

  15. RGA Says:

    It’s a very sad statement Joe that Todd Bowles future is tied to the success of Baker Mayfield.

  16. CHRISTOS Says:

    I would love Caleb Williams for sure and i ve been saying this year should be a transition year. We had to mortgage some of our future for the 3 year Brady plan, we got a Super Bowl it was woth it. Fix your finances, your cap issues and develop the young players should be the priorities this year.
    I m not saying you tank and loose on purpose, when i watch games i never feel that i prefer to lose. But you should start building the future, in this age of the NFL when you cant touch the QB you must have a top one to compete year in and year out. A decent QB that will have good games and bad games wont get you nowhere, so see what you have in the young players.
    Anyway Caleb Williams seems impossible cause Arizona will not win games. If a team wins 3 games they are definitely out. Go Bucs

  17. Asdf Says:

    Todd is a .400 winning head coach. If and when he proves he can be a good coach he’ll get respect by the National media…until then…no

  18. Warrenfb12 Says:

    Bucs had a losing record last year with the goat. I have zero faith in bowles to improve after losing brady

  19. Fire Bowles Says:

    Yes, everyone is down on Bowles and that is the real issue at hand.
    He is so painful to watch and get behind.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Yeah, yeah, people don’t like Baker Mayfield, Joe gets it. But it has to be something deeper. Are most people so down on Todd Bowles that by adding Mayfield they believe the Bucs have sealed their fate with a combination of the two?’

    I love your segues Joe (subtle? nah). If Bowles had decided to start Trask, Bucs would have exactly the same odds, possibly worse. Todd Bowles track record as a HC doesn’t help, but it’s not Reason #1 why folks are down on the Bucs (Vince Lombardi could be leading it, wouldn’t matter). The reality is that we’ve got a very young, inexperienced, unproven roster and no one’s gonna pick that to win the Super Bowl. Or to even have a break-even year.

    This roster has to prove itself first to change minds. I believe that we’ve got the starting talent to do that, especially on defense, but it’ll still be a game-to-game adventure. Respect has to be earned, and there’s only 1 way to do that in the NFL. Just win.

  21. Allbuccedup Says:

    Deion Saunders son looks hes the top quarterback in college Caleb is a product of the same system that put out Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. Hurts played at Alabama before which actually made him better.

  22. Hodad Says:

    Rather have Maye.

  23. Smashsquatch Says:

    Last year’s offense was offensive. I don’t see how they could be worse than 18 ppg this year. All the talking heads are blinded by the Brady departure. They’re oblivious to how stagnate & stale the offense had become. I expect the Bucs to be improved in all three phases this year, but Is Bowles going to improve? That’s the concern I have.

  24. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Todd Bowels at head coach is a – 2.5-3 game handicap speaking of odds/betting lines. They will probably win just enough in the lousy NFC South to eke out 5-6 wins overall..taking them out of the running for a top 3 pick.

  25. Joshua porter Says:

    Caleb and maye from north Carolina both looked really good thus past weekend . Going to make 2 franchise really good for the next 10+ years

  26. Mr. Editor Says:

    As bad as the Bucs record “may” be at the end of the season (and I have to believe that it won’t be as bad as the other prognosticators say), does anyone serious believe that they will surpass the Cardinals in futility?

  27. ModHairKen Says:


  28. BucsFanSince 1996f Says:

    The Glazer’s were fully on board with going all in to win a Superbowl and bringing everyone back the following year in an attempt to win another. They understand the situation we’re in now with the salary cap and the impact it has. And they’ll take that into consideration at the end of the season when evaluating the HC.

    If Bowles puts a Top 5 defense on the field, the young players are being developed, the offense is continuing to improve throughout the season under our new OC, then Bowles will be back, even if we’ve got a losing record.

    If we DO have a losing record, the most likely reason will be lack of depth in certain positions. And Bowles can’t be held responsible for that.

  29. Shakeandbaker Says:

    Joshua, I was not impressed with Maye at all. Seems to make some bad decisions and forces throws. He will take some lumps if he ever pans out in the NFL. I worry about Williams because coach and the system he is in at USC makes almost all QBs successful. I’d take my chances but hard to gage unless you can get a package deal for Williams and Riley.

  30. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Watching Caleb Williams he looks a lot like a more athletic Sam Darnold with better weapons. I think it’s more the scheme than his play.


  31. WyomingJoe Says:

    I don’t know about the players tanking the season, but most of the fans on this site certainly are! Suck it up.

  32. Beej Says:

    Most of the first round qb picks don’t pan out, no reason to believe these guys will be any different. I feel bad for Trask, because as Joe said, we get a new coach, he’s not gonna want his success to rely on unproven Trask. His only chance is for Baker to REALLY, REALLY suck, else break a leg

  33. Bobby M. Says:

    It’s Bowles, he doesn’t inspire confidence in the local fans much less the outsiders. He’s mediocre at best in game management, this roster needs top tier game management to be above .500. Look at the Cooper Kupp/Rams play call….baffling. Look at the Brady/Browns game…..he’s scared the GOAT will turn the ball over. Bowles doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, he’s consistently mediocre as a HC.

  34. BigBucsNoWhammy Says:

    Yep, I’m so down on Toad Bowls, he makes me sick. That rascal is supposed to be a defensive guru, but his defense gave up two big chunk plays to Rams C Kupp, cost the team a SB. Unforgiveable, in my opinion. Baker Mayfield, what can I say about him? Nothing good. He’s a bottom feeder, closer to the worst QBs in the league than the best. A QB that is just good enough to win a few games and miss the playoffs each year. Yeah, the Bucs have whiffed on all the QBs they’ve drafted, but the team has to find a franchise QB at some point. All the contenders have very capable QBs that are still relatively young. We need to get a young franchise QB in the next draft or two, or its going to be a lost decade or more. The Tom Brady era, three short years, was some of the best football we had in Bucs history and now its possible we will see some of the worst. Sorry mateys, looks like the pirate ship is about to run aground.

  35. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Not sure how a top 5 defense with one of the worst RB, TE, OL, QB rooms in the league are going to help Bowles, Traskerfield, Caleb, or this franchise. That alleged special secondary that we are going to continue to invest big money in cant catch, so I dont see them playing offense to help out. The only stats and rankings that are going to matter are wins and losses.

  36. Jason the licht is never on Says:

    All this QB talk is great. Todd toilet Bowles is the real problem. But if I had the chance to grab Jordan Travis, in round 2 or trade up to get him. I would do so. He goes thru his progressions and has had time to learn the game in college. Not to mention a damn good football coach in Norvell.

  37. Infomeplease Says:

    This team with, TB as Head Coach, is about 3 key injuries away from total disaster. If the last couple seasons are an indication, we could be in to a very long season. On the other hand, if the pendulum swings back to relatively healthy, we may win another division title.

    DC has this offense primed for success and TB has reloaded his defense. Injuries will dictate how well the season goes!

  38. Capt2fish Says:

    Baker is on a one year deal. I would not presume he signs with Tampa if he has a good year. He has played for enough bad coaches in his short career that he will be very carefully about who his next contract is with. Especially if Canales becomes the flavor of the month for head coaching jobs next year. Stay with Bowles and a new OC? Not likely.

  39. Beej Says:

    ” I hate to say it, but the best thing for Trask is probably to get out of this hate-filled toxic environment.”

    WOW! He posts here??

  40. Wayne perez Says:

    Morons all of them lot of talent on this team true the coach is not the best but I believe we will be a good team

  41. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Why would anyone think Bowles is a good head coach?

  42. Mike S Says:

    RGA Says:
    September 4th, 2023 at 1:55 am
    It’s a very sad statement Joe that Todd Bowles future is tied to the success of Baker Mayfield.


    He did that to himself

  43. D Cone Says:

    If Bowles is fired chances are they let the replacement bring in the QB of his choice.

    To Bowles defense where was his choice? First year he was saddled with Brady. This year he had a choice but it could not exceed X amount of dollars. He managed to get an experienced (based on starts) QB with a skill set that on paper should fit his new OC’s scheme. As a Defensive Guy there is no way his dream pick(pun intended) has led the league in them since he came into the league. Un drafted free agents were more of a necessity.

    Fan Base expects Waterfront Property Team and Team is on a Highland Pines Budget.

    If Bowles can manage to somehow pull out a winning record with the Roster that he has he might be a candidate for coach of the year.

    Based on Baker’s record against teams with a winning record (2-7-1 as of 2021) Bucs have a 1 in 4 chance of beating the Vikings. Bears should be a W.
    1 and 1 start going into the Philly game would not be the worse thing but as they say the worse is yet to come.

    I have not bought in to Peter King’s prediction but Baker would be well served to watch the tape on Rex Ryan’s assessment of him. Basically 1 read and he’s looking for a check down, throws off the timing of the routes and ends up holding the ball too long. Ends up in a scramble and a sack or a hasty throw and a pick.

    Bowles sees a lot of that in the first two starts Trask will be starting against Philly whether he is ready or not.

    If he is going to make coach of the year he will go with experience but will be real quick at pulling the plug. No way he goes 1-4 before making changes.

  44. Fred McNeil Says:

    Bowles plays scared. I was hoping maybe he’d learn from that, but his cowardly refusal to let the team vote for it’s captains just reeks of cowardice. Such a young team is going to need on-field leadership. Wether Bowles likes it or not the men will naturally be attracted to certain peers when the chips are down. That’s a bad vibe. This Mike Evans situation is unhelpful too.

  45. Sal Says:

    Not sure about caleb Williams #? I’d Rather take drake maye

  46. Buddha Says:

    This guy is a square. All the sharps wagered heavy on the Buccaneers in July at +7. The line is down to +6 in many places. No way it goes to +7 again What do the Vikings have, a Pro Bowl receiver, no running game, and a mediocre defense. Would be a shock to see them win a blowout. This is not Alabama vs. USF. Hi

  47. Greg The Truth Says:

    Providing Mike Evans doesn’t hold out the Bucs are waaay to talented to be drafting in the top 5. Maybe not even top 10. If you think the Bucs have a shot at Williams take a look at the Cardinals. They will cut Kyler Murray in a heartbeat.

  48. Bradinator Says:

    Williams IS that good! Watched him at Baylor before he was at USC. Set “the scheme” argument aside. He is one of the most aware QBs out there. He’s good in the pocket, can move, but never looks flustered. He aware of what is going on all the time. Can’t teach that. Unfortunately we won’t be bad enough to get him. I was blown away by the Sanders kid this weekend. He was in control that whole game. Never looks lost. A little concerned about the sacks, although his O-line is nothing to brag about. We’ll see. long season to go yet

  49. BWWilliams Says:

    Caleb Williams threw 5 TDs this weekend all to wide open receivers. None required threading the needle.

  50. Craig Says:

    If Trask falters after Baker does, it is time to try something different. To me that would be Jordan Travis. Travis showed he could learn a lot when he spent that year with Mackenzie Milton.

    After that year Travis was a different QB, one who might make his mark in the NFL. Caleb is a natural talent, but no one knows if he can step up because he hasn’t had to.

    I just to see this team, now. I want to see them prove the world wrong, but I think Hot Toddie will screw it up if the QB gamble doesn’t.

    If he learned anything from driving the Jets into the ground we need to see it. I don’t think he did learn anything because he blew it a few times last season, so prove something to me.

  51. Thomas Edrington Says:

    You won’t know who the best QB in college football is until the season is waning……I’m thinking Deion Sanders’ son my be better than good old Caleb….

  52. Rod Munch Says:

    I do agree that I think this Bucs defense will be good – but it’s not going to be good enough to overcome Mayfield.

    The 2004 Buccaneers had the #5 defense in the NFL and finished 5-11, even with that offensive ‘genius’ Gruden heading the team — and that 2004 Bucs offense had better QB play than what we’re going to see from BM.

  53. BWWilliams Says:

    Oh no here we go again hyping an FSU quarterback how did the last one work out?

  54. Why Not Says:

    The Bucs need to focus on putting their best team on the field and trying to win games. Losing is for losers! If you lose while fighting to win, that’s showing grit. No tanking! The 2024 draft will have a lot of really good quarterbacks to choose from, so we don’t need to tank. This next draft might even be as deep at QB as the 1983 draft.

  55. catcard202 Says:

    I hear you Why Not…

    catcard202 Says:
    July 27th, 2023 at 12:11 pm
    I just can’t see the FO dealing away a core cog for anyone of substance or being willing to cut anyone of substance to create the cap space needed to get a legit QB. Just can’t see that a happening. Scrap heap low dollar cast-off, maybe…If Bucs QB room sustains an injury in camp.

    I believe the Licht Plan is to roll dice that the Baker/Traskcan/Woeful combo will give the Bucs a shot at repeating against a weak NFC South…But regardless, the next franchise face will come from the 24 draft class…As, there will not be bad slot to keep you from getting a good rookie QB to build around for the future.

    The 2024 QB draft is deeper than any class I have seen in at least 4 decades.

    C.Williams, Maye, Penix Jr., Ewers, Pratt, McCarthy, Hartman, Nix, Travis, Leonard, Daniels, Rattler, A. Reed, Leary, Jefferson, Sanders, Dart, Schlee, Ward & Milton….At MIN – 10 will go by end of Day2 & All 20 have legit chances to hear their names called by the end of Day3.

    It will 100% be the Yr of the QB…And every scouting department in the league will be focused on how to slot the above…1-2 may be real easy to imagine…but 3-20 is a crap shoot at this point.

    2024 QB FA will be fun to watch, as well…As I think we will see less teams willing to throw buckets of loot at the position next spring, knowing the above class offers rookie coin QB’s a plenty.


  56. Nprbuc Says:

    2015 draft. Not that many years ago. Everyone here was wringing their hands over “Should we draft Winston or Mariota?” There were arguments made for weeks on end, each with bad predictions of what would happen if we chose the wrong guy.Guess what? The two best college prospects never developed into that elusive franchise QB. Few do. Stop with the tanking talk for unknowns next year! Let’s see what we have and go out and play some serious football. Hand wringing can wait. To give up on the talent and potential talent, that we have before the season even starts is a totally defeatist attitude for any true fan to have. You go to battle with the troops you have. LFG Bucs!

  57. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I don’t get this kind of thinking. Lose to get good players. Forget taking a play out of the cardinals playbook we should be looking to take a page out of the patriots. They constantly picked last year after year or at least at the end of most drafts and yet still were able to find compitent players. You don’t have to lose to get good players just got to do a great job scouting. We haven’t done great but have done rather well if not better than well. Losing should never be a option

  58. Nprbuc Says:

    Thank you #1 Buc!

  59. Usfbuc Says:

    I hope we aren’t tanking for Caleb. Not sure that even 50% of first round QBs actually have success in the NFL. If we do suck that bad, we need to trade it away for a kings ransom of other picks. Winston was a sure bet too and we saw how that turned out.

  60. MelvinJunior Says:

    “Capt2fish,” hate to tell ya… But, there’s not going to be a whole lot of other options for Baker next season either, no matter how nice of a season he has this year. And, if he’s smart and has been humbled enough by now, to have gained some ‘self-awareness’… He won’t misplay his hand as poorly as what he did in Cleveland, by ‘thinking’ he was the ‘next guy up’ mentality & expecting $35MIL+ (at the time). He should’ve realized ‘who’ HE really IS and taken much more of a team friendly deal maybe, around a 4/$100MIL Deal, but NO… HE wanted to try to play hardball and then Cleveland took the opportunity at hand by deciding to deal for Watson!!!! C-ya Bake. NOW, look at him… Bet he wishes he’d played that one A LOT differently. It’s the one-thing, I just canNOT understand with these NFL-contracts. It’s mind-blowing to me that THE NFL Owners are allowing this and especially at some of the players they do.