Why The NFL Is A Quarterback League

September 8th, 2023

No need to be a star.

Yes, Bucs fans pretty much know by now that national NFL analysts, reporters and broadcasters — almost universally — are way down on their team.

And the reason why is singular: Baker Mayfield.

Granted, Mayfield has had a bad couple of seasons. But you’d think he’s Mike Glennon the way people are hammering the Bucs for having the nerve to sign him.

But Mike Renner of The Messenger makes an interesting point:

How much of a quarterback-driven league is the NFL? Look no further than the Bucs, Renner typed.

This is how big the difference between “have” and “have not” at the quarterback position is nowadays. This roster is largely unchanged outside the quarterback position from a year ago with any losses (Leonard Fournette, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Donovan Smith) being relatively minor in scale. That is, besides Tom Brady.

Yeah, if you think about it, the team isn’t a whole lot different than last year’s team other than the defense may have received a needed injection of youth and athleticism. But there is a lot more youth and inexperienced depth.

Remember, last year the Bucs made the playoffs. And Joe and most fans thought the team grossly underperformed.

The only real difference maker, the only real star the Bucs lost this offseason just happened to be the best whoever played, at the game’s most important position. And many people think the Bucs, as a result, are now the dregs of society.

So if Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales can just get Mayfield to be an average quarterback, it’s not nuts to think the Bucs could make a playoff run in a lousy division.

It’s just that nationally, very few if any have an ounce of faith in Mayfield.

48 Responses to “Why The NFL Is A Quarterback League”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Uh, our ‘roster is largely unchanged outside of the QB position from a year ago’? Not hardly. We’re undergoing some major changes on the OLine, on the DLine, in the Secondary, in our RB & WR & TE rooms as well as a total about-face in our QB room. Our roster is anything but ‘largely unchanged’.

    Yes QB is the most important position out of the 53, but even the Great GOAT was ineffective without a strong supporting cast. Bucs finally figured that out (like we had a choice?) and started ‘retooling’ (sure) the roster. We’ll have at least 7 new starters on offense, defense & S/Ts by my count, but most of the key rotational guys will change (guys like Gage are gone & guys like Palmer will take their place).

    I don’t expect Mayfield (or ultimately Trask, who knows) to replace Brady. I do expect that the ‘supporting cast’ will improve dramatically as the year rolls on. Promises to be an exciting year, but you still have to play the games to see what you really got.

  2. Aaron Says:

    My concern for Canales, Bowles, and Mayfield is can they close out games. I can see a situation where the Bucs play well early in the season and lose games they should have won and then the season starts to spiral out of control.

    Love our chances at Minnesota (especially +6) but can we rush the passer without blitzing? Going to need help on the backend to cover JJ, TJ, and J. Addison.

    Go Bucs!

  3. Vegasbuccaneer Says:

    Are you guys going to suck like you did last year? Asking for a friend.

  4. Voice of Truth Says:

    Largely unchanged? 30 out of 53 players have 3 yrs or less playing experience!

    This is a completely different team

    BTW loved watching Donovan play last night, but Mahomes didn’t!!!!!

    Turnstile about got him killed multiple times and got the holding penalty to start his league leading stat AGAIN!

    We whiffed on Justin Watson and gave up too soon on him

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Yea Yea – sure the NFL is a Quarterback league…..

    Yet we just saw the Lions with a QB not much (if any) better than Mayfield (IMO) beat the Chiefs who have the best QB in the league.

    That 1st game of the season demonstrated a blueprint for the Buccaneers path to success in 2023.

    Run the ball and control the game (118 yards on 34 carries – a bad average but effective enough and the commitment to run was there).

    QB throws 35 times for 253 yards – 1 TD and 0 Ints – The Lions didn’t ask too much of Goff and he was able to make a few good plays and most importantly didn’t make any glaring mistakes….

    Play solid and opportunistic Defense. The Lions held KC to 90 yards rushing and held Mahomes to 226 yds 2 TDs and 1 Int. And 1 big defensive play – converting a muffed catch into a pick 6 made the winning difference.

    Defense still wins a lot of games in this league.

    Defense still wins Championships too – IF that defense is top notch and has at least a top 15 offense to score more than 21 ppg.

  6. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Having the best QB in the league wasn’t enough for the chiefs last night! It’s still a team sport!

  7. Duane Says:

    Watched the game last night in the season opener with Lions at Chiefs. The NBC game analysts were, as usual, all gaga and in love with Patrick Mahomes, referring to him as candidate for GOAT despite the fact he’s only been playing a few years in the league.

    In any event, the Chiefs were playing with a “replacement” offensive line including former Buc Donovan Smith who had a terrible season last year, and without their best skill player, Travis Kelce, and with a wide receiver group made up of young, inexperienced, unproven players. And the result was, the Lions won a road game that all the “experts” said they had no chance of winning against the defending Super Bowl Champs, and Mahomes looked very ordinary, scoring only 20 points … and he suffered a bunch of dropped balls by his young receivers.

    The point being, quarterbacks as always are given too much credit for flashy offensive performances and team wins, and too much blame for dull offensive performances and losses.

    All the yak about NFL being a “quarterback’s league” is silly and untrue. The game of football is and always has been about the team, all the roster members and the coaches working together to try and piece together wins. You start removing pieces from the board, like having a non-performing offensive line, or removing Hall of Fame tight ends and flashy speedy experienced wide receivers, and no quarterback, even the REAL GOAT, can make a sow’s ear into a silk purse, to mix my metaphors.

    Meaning, the Bucs can do alright with a journeyman or inexperienced quarterback as long as the other pieces are on the board.

    Football is a team sport, period.

  8. Duane Says:

    If last night’s game was not enough proof that football is a team sport just rewind the tape to the Super Bowl in 2021, when the Chiefs, quarterbacked by MVP Mahomes, never made the end zone once against the Bucs. Not because Mahomes was bad that night, but because three of the Chief’s starting offensive linemen were out of the lineup due to injuries. The superstar Mahomes also looked very ordinary in what became a huge surprise to most of the NFL “experts”, a Bucs blowout. Of course, those same experts said that Brady won the game single handedly, forgetting the lights out performance of our defense, and superb contributions by our offensive line and skill players who caught and ran with balls to score all those touchdowns for which the GOAT was singlehandedly responsible for, according to them, anyway.

  9. BillyBucco Says:

    Wow you wrote a novel then followed that up with an essay.
    Let’s hope Palmer, Jarrett and Thompkins can catch the ball better than Toney and Sky Moore whose name should be Earth Moore because he looked like he had a 19” vertical.
    Just shows you how 1 guy, Kelce in this case unlocks an entire offense.
    That was embarrassingly entertaining to watch.
    No way Baker plays worse than those 2 guys.

  10. Felipe Says:

    You omit that last season with the greatest we were 8-9. So if Mayfield overperforms and plays average, that leaves us at … 4-13? … 5-12?

  11. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Joe isn’t in the political discussion business and doesn’t sell political discussion to those who support this site.. When Joe sees it’s gone there, Joe shuts off. –Joe

  12. Fire Bowles Says:

    Just win this first one and let the confidence start to build!

  13. Hodad Says:

    Lions beat the world champs scoring two offensive TD’s. Their QB, a lot like ours, a first round pick who was dumped by the team who drafted him did just enough. He didn’t have to play hero ball, and on a big play 4th down, got his pass batted down. His defense bailed him out, with the help of holding penalty waiting to happen, happened by our old D Smith. Mahomes, the best QB in the league couldn’t catch his own passes, and the Chiefs couldn’t overcome their mistakes, even with the best QB in the league. So lasts nights game shows me football is a team game. Even with the best QB in the league it doesn’t matter if the TEAM plays bad.

  14. Felipe Says:

    “Why The NFL Is A Quarterback League”

    I dunno, last night’s game showed it’s a team league. Detroit beating KC at KC? Wow.

  15. Winny Testaverde Says:

    The Bowles Botch Effect is worth 3 games during a 17 game season. This truly has the feeling of Lovie Dovie 2.oh no. The cap strapped Bucs were fortunate to sign the former 2018 #1 overall pick at QB. Having said that, I completely expect Trask to get the nod once the team goes into the tank…as early as the bye ( bye ) week/weak.

  16. Felipe Says:

    If the NFL is a quarterback league, how come Matthew Stafford could not win a Super Bowl or much of anything else in 12 seasons with the Lions, and then in his 13th season he goes to the Rams and wins a Super Bowl? What changed? His team.

  17. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Voice of Truth Says:
    “We whiffed on Justin Watson and gave up too soon on him.”

    Watson averaged 18.5 receiving yards per game last year, and scored 2 touchdowns. I’m not sure he was a huge loss.

  18. SufferingSince76 Says:

    I figured it was something like that, Joe. In the good old days, most people kept their politics to themselves.

  19. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    BillyBucco Says:
    “… and Sky Moore whose name should be Earth Moore because he looked like he had a 19” vertical.”

    LOL Zing!

  20. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Felipe Says:
    “You omit that last season with the greatest we were 8-9. So if Mayfield overperforms and plays average, that leaves us at … 4-13? … 5-12?”

    You omit that last season our offensive line was in disarray, with an OC who seemed incapable of trying to adjust accordingly. Trying to compare QB performance from last year to this year is a faulty paradigm.

  21. Beej Says:

    It’s ALSO a left tackle league, and KC’s got them beat with a holding call late that nullified a 17 yard complete into winning field goal territory

  22. HC Grover Says:

    Buc linemen are injury prone. What Maybowles gonna do if 2 more get hurt? Sunday is going to be interesting for sure. Best hope is for the Vikes to outblunder us.

  23. Brandon Says:

    And this is exactly why we’ll be better. Brady turned in his biggest clunker year of his career, not surprising that happened at 45. He was only going to get worse with age. The worst part of his season wasn’t physical, it was the constant audibles to smokescreens and premature checkdowns. Him being a statue in the pocket did nothing to help a below average line as he had zero escapability and couldn’t even run a simple play action bootleg. Almost anybody in the league is an upgrade over Fournette who played six seasons in the league and average over FOUR yards a carry exactly twice. He was only around because Brady wanted a RB that could block more than one that was a threat with the ball in his hands.

    We will be better this season, addition by subtraction. Defense will be better, special teams, and definitely the offense. 10+ wins

  24. Waterboy Says:

    My points- If Justin Watson is one of the Chiefs best WRs, they are in serious trouble. The guy was constantly getting hurt and had trouble getting separation from CBs. I think he can be effective next to Kelce who draws double teams but Watson was never going to be a key contributor for the Bucs.

    Also, Brady was greatest QB of all time prior to last year. But if you watched his play last year, he was anything but great! May actually not have even been mediocre last year. No surprise given that he missed most of training camp due to divorce, lost 20 pounds of muscle due to family stress, looked unprepared as season started, threw the ball away before Wrs got out of their breaks because he was so afraid of being hit and couldnt scramble to avoid the rush, had no chemistry with his Wrs, etc. Mayfield doesnt have to replace the Brady from 3 years ago, just be better than the Brady of last year which wont be that hard. Im not a mayfield fan as far as believing he can get you 12 wins and a Super Bowl. But Mayfield can get this Bucs team to 8 or 9 wins especially against this current schedule.

  25. DailyRich Says:

    You can tell it’s a QB league when the Chiefs’ RT was able to line up incorrectly and move early pretty much all night long.

  26. KingLDavid54 Says:

    Now I love this take @Joe! Great commentary from Bucs Nation, too. Time will tell what this team accomplishes. It’s great to see new and fun life in this team, if nothing else!

  27. WyomingJoe Says:

    Most of the “fans” on this site, like the national media, hate Baker Mayfield.
    Actually, Joe has run mutltiple polls and a slim majority of fans like the move to have Mayfield be the starter for this season. –Joe And they base that hatred largely on Baker’s last two seasons when he played injured in 2021, then got shipped off to one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2022. They forget about his rookie season in 2018 when he broke Peyton Manning’s record for most TDs by a rookie, and finished second for Rookie of the Year honors. They forget about him being named to the NFL’s Top 100 players in 2019. They forget about him leading the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 and coming within one play of making it to the AFC Championship game. They forget about a Browns team that was 1-34 before he played in his first game. They forget about him beating Joe Burrows every time he played against him, including one game where he threw 5 TDs! So please, give all this talk about Baker stinking a rest because it only shows your ignorance.

  28. gotbbucs Says:

    Speaking of Donovan Smith. Can we have a moment of silence for Chiefs fans finding out the hard way what we already know very well. Donovan had his signature holding penalty at the end of that game last night that basically sealed the game for the Lions.

    Have fun running for your life this season Pat Mahomes.

  29. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    DailyRich Says:
    “You can tell it’s a QB league when the Chiefs’ RT was able to line up incorrectly and move early pretty much all night long.”

    Goodell’s merry band of secret society refs couldn’t even fix last night’s game, try as they might.

  30. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    gotbbucs Says:
    “Donovan had his signature holding penalty at the end of that game last night that basically sealed the game for the Lions.”

    Durable Donnie already leading the league in holding penalties, back in his familiar spot.

  31. Bucsfanman Says:

    Finally, we’re speaking my language in these posts. You can win in this league with a good defense and an average QB. Defense STILL wins championships.
    Is it a benefit to have a “good” QB? Of course, don’t be ridiculous!
    If you are able to run effectively and play good defense without turning the ball over, you are going to win games.

  32. WyomingJoe Says:

    @ JOE: Thanks for the feedback. Didn’t know that a slim majority of the fans on this site like the Mayfield signing. Now it’s up to Baker to ball out!

  33. Eckwood Says:

    D Smith killed the Chiefs last night with a crucial hold , putting them second and 20 ……. That hold was the difference between winning and losing that game and this is where the dumb jock disease just hit KC . Oh he didn’t lose the game , well Mahomes second and 10 from the 35 scores 70 percent , 2 nd and 20 about 40 percent . One ex Buc has a loss for KC .

  34. Obvious Says:

    What last nights game.showed was that WITHOUT A SUPPORTING CAST…….

    You fill in the blank! The Chiefs Oline looks Probably BETTER than our Oline! And we Maybe in SERIOUS TROUBLE! Not including Donnie. He Sucks “usually”…

    Secondly, it DOES PROVE that it takes A TEAM to win. Goff has Always been a good qb and he was given up on WAY to early.
    Mayfield IS NOT Goff. Mayfield doesn’t measure up. That’s just the hard truth.

    But what is being missed? THE DETROIT DEFENSE IS LEGIT!!!

    Buddy, Detroits defense HAS IT GOING ON! I think a LOT of people maybe Discounting what their lying eyes just witnessed! Detroits defense basically Held them down to NOTHING ALL GAME LONG and exposed the Chiefs GREATEST WEAKNESS… The Chiefs have NO DEPTH on their offense… It seems that their cabinets are BARE and they are toothless without Kelch.

    Who would have thought that ONE GUY would make that kinda difference? One guy…

    But, Detroits DEFENSE IS THE STORY OF LAST NIGHT’S GAME, TIGHT FRONT TO BACK WITH VERY FEW WEAKNESSES. It looked like US beating them to death in the Super Bowl. Almost identical EXCEPT we ABSOLUTELY DIDN’T LET THEM BREATH!


  35. Obvious Says:


    Nicely put my man. They really thought they got something special. THEY DEFINITELY GOT SOMEONE OF “SPECIAL NEEDS” and a moment of silence is HILARIOUS!!! They are going But to need STRAIGHT UP “MEDITATION THEROPY” by the time Donnie gets their greatest asset PULVERIZED!

  36. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Look at you all pointing to last night’s game as proof. A single game.

    At the end of the season, the Lions will be where they always are, and the Mahomes led Chiefs will have a winning record and be in the playoffs.

    Lions won a game. Yes, they did good. In one game. But you are all lying to yourselves if you think it proves anything.

  37. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Defense and discipline won the KC vs Lions game last night. Detroit had only one costly penalty, a PI that was a half-second of early contact away from being a great play by the DB.

    Not having Kelce was definitely a big factor in the loss by KC but last time I checked he isn’t a QB. It’s still a team sport as we saw last year.

    Discipline is huge. You can string together 15 consecutive good plays on O or D and have all that good, hard work undone with a single bone-headed penalty. You need discipline with the QB too. No “hero ball” or unforced errors. Throw it with confidence or throw it away.

    Speaking of QB and their obvious value and need to keep them healthy, I still wish the rules committee would tweak the “roughing the passer” penalty. I hate seeing sacks wiped out for ticky-tack stuff like a thumb brushing a QB’s helmet or the guy whose momentum causes him to land “too hard” on a QB. Use some discretion. Incidental stuff, 5 yards from the spot but still a loss of down. The offense scewed up by letting a guy hit their QB. Why reward them for that? 15 yards and automatic 1st down should be saved for deliberate or actual dirty stuff (like going at the knees or whipping the QB to the ground, etc). “Late hits” also need to actually be LATE. A split second after the ball is released isn’t “late”. Can’t stop the momentum of a 270+ lb man in mid-air without CGI.

  38. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bucsfanman Says
    “You can win in this league with a good defense and an average QB.”

    I almost agreed with you…but then I realized that Baker Mayfield is below average…and that puts us on our couches watching the pla at home.

    If I felt Mayfield was as good as, say, Brad Johnson in his prime? (different style, but Brad was a quality average QB)

    Things would be different. Heck, I’m not convinced Baker is even at the level of a Sean King in his prime.

    So the question to me is, can we win with a below average QB? And if that is what we have why are we sticking with a guy who already proved he is below average? Why not take a chance on an unproven guy?

    At least then, there would be a chance.

  39. WyomingJoe Says:

    OK, this will be my last Baker whining fit before the season starts. But the Lions/Chiefs game last night really made me appreciate the talents of TE Travis Kelce and how valuable he is to this Chief’s offense. I know, duh! But without Kelce, Mahomes looked like an average QB, similar to what LA looks like without Kupp. And similar to how average Joe Burrow looked for 4-5 games when he lost JaMarr Chase. Well, Baker finally has two quality wideouts, arguably, for the first time in his career. I’m excited to see how he does. Go Bucs.

  40. Don’t tell me it’s raining Says:

    This happened, that happened, so and so was injured. Sounds like every week in the NFL. This or that always happens to some team. And some team is always going to have someone injured. That’s just the nature of the game. Goff threw for 253 yards and 1 TD, and they still managed to beat the supposed best team in the league. And Goff, who towers at 6’ 4”, had at least 2 passes batted down last night. There could have been more but I saw two. So if a QB that threw for 253 yards with 1 TD and had at least two of his attempts batted down can beat the #1 team, why can’t The Bucs beat the cesspool of the league? Is Detroit just that much better than we are? I’m pretty sure KC is better than all of the trash we have to face in NFC South.

  41. Felipe Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says: “Why not take a chance on an unproven guy?”

    I would say he proved and acquitted himself admirably this preseason, throwing for 50% more yards-per-completion than Mayfield. Fans should be storming the barricades demanding answers to why we are not going into battle with this guy.

  42. Joe Says:

    I would say he proved and acquitted himself admirably this preseason, throwing for 50% more yards-per-completion than Mayfield. Fans should be storming the barricades demanding answers to why we are not going into battle with this guy.

    Here is your answer: Joe has been saying why all offseason and training camp. If you don’t know the answer, you haven’t been paying attention. (Sorry, but Joe called this and has repeated it several times each week since April).

  43. WyomingJoe Says:

    Baker is better than Goff. Goff is underestimated, but Mayfield is greatly underestimated. Of course, it’s up to Baker to prove how good he is. By the way, the “great” Deshaun Watson became AVERAGE when he played with the Browns last season going 3-3 with 7 TDs, 6 INTs and a 58% completion rate! Even with Nick Chubb (best RB in the NFL) Watson still couldn’t win with the Browns. So much for a QB-driven league.

  44. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Obvious Says:
    “The Chiefs have NO DEPTH on their offense… It seems that their cabinets are BARE and they are toothless without Kelch.”

    That’s what happens every time you break the bank and pay one player 25% of the team’s salary cap. Mahommes may wind up being a one trophy QB like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

  45. Bucsfanman Says:

    The answer is $$$

    But beyond that, ask yourself why the Bucs decided to sign Baker in the first place if they had ANY faith in Trask.
    “Below average”, well maybe but he’s shown flashes in his career. I equate him to a Fitzy-like QB at this point. He’s a gamer and will either win you games or lose them for you.

  46. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Put down Hunter’s Crack Pipe…Maholmes has 2 trophies already. You’re not wrong about salary cap constrictions and star players however. Chris Jones sitting in a luxury suite while holding out for example.

  47. Crickett Baker Says:

    I’m hoping Baker sticks to the game plan and doesn’t all of a sudden think he needs to prove something to us. He has been saying all the right stuff and I have faith in him ATM. So do the coaches, BTW. GO BUCS!

  48. garro Says:

    Wow that will get him kicked out of the hot take BS club for sure.

    Go Bucs!