Next Three Weeks A Good Gauge On Bucs QB

October 10th, 2023

Will he pass the test?

Of course, the folks who didn’t think much of Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield before the season aren’t easily knighting him as the Comeback Player of the Year. Not quite yet.

While the naysayers are giving Mayfield props for his play through four games, it’s almost like they are waiting for the roof to cave in.

Joe is not calling Jeffri Chadiha of a Mayfield naysayer. But Chadiha did mention a very interesting point. If Mayfield can navigate the pirate ship somewhat successfully through the rough seas of the next three games, then it will be safe to suggest Mayfield is back.

Can Baker Mayfield keep this going? There wasn’t any fanfare when Mayfield landed in Tampa Bay, largely because it was the fourth team he’s been on in 10 months. Look at him now. The Buccaneers are 3-1 and leading the NFC South at a time when every other team is shaky. Mayfield is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, and he’s thrown seven touchdown passes against two interceptions. Now comes the hard part. The Buccaneers will face the Lions and Bills in two of their three games after this week’s bye (with the NFC South rival Falcons sandwiched in between those two opponents). If Mayfield can look good in those games, then the Bucs truly will be on to something. If he can’t, then Tampa Bay’s road to the NFC South title will be a lot more treacherous.

Here is how Joe looks at it: Barring a complete and total collapse, the Bucs will beat the Dixie Chicks.

Now this Sunday against the Lions, well, we will see what the Bucs learned in the loss to the Eagles. Both the Eagles and Lions are somewhat the same, with bruising defenses, punishing trenches and explosive offenses.

Joe believes the Eagles are better than the Lions. But teams always want to progress as the season grows. Did the Bucs learn how to handle a physical team when they lost to the Eagles? That should be answered on Creamsicle Day this Sunday.

The Bills, the Bucs’ opponent on Thursday, Oct. 26, are so beat up on defense it isn’t funny. They still have Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, so they are dangerous on offense. In Joe’s mind, the Bills are a wounded animal. Capable of a nasty bite but not 100 percent.

Joe doesn’t think it is outrageous if the Bucs shoot for a 2-1 record in the next three games. If the Bucs pull that off, they will be 5-2. That’s way better after seven games than anyone dreamed.

29 Responses to “Next Three Weeks A Good Gauge On Bucs QB”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Jeffri Chadiha … ‘If Mayfield can look good in those games, then the Bucs truly will be on to something.’

    Some folks still don’t get it. It’s not about Mayfield; it’s about TEAM. Kirk Cousins ‘looked good’ in Game 1, going 33-of-44 (75%) for 343 passing yards … and Minnesota LOST. We see games like that every week.

    Our particular offensive system, and the players that comprise it, seems to ‘fit’ Baker very nicely. It doesn’t ask him to constantly play Superman, but rather allows him to capitalize on his talents & skill set. Would the same have also been true IF Kyle Trask had gotten the starting nod? Very possibly, but none of us KNOW that for sure because that’s not what transpired.

    In terms of your question Joe ‘Did the Bucs learn how to handle a physical team when they lost to the Eagles?’ I think we can play with physical teams like the Lions & Eagles, but that we have a very small margin for error. Mistakes (turnovers, penalties, etc) will define that game IMO, as will ‘big plays’ (on both sides of the ball and in Special Teams. Both teams are playing solid, fundamental football, but the Lions are putting up almost 30 PPG while the Bucs have only mustered 21 PPG thus far. Bucs defense however is doing a bit better (17 PPG versus 21.4 PPG for the Lions). It’ll be a good test for both teams.

  2. Onetrickpony Says:

    I would feel better if we had someone that could run the ball halfway consistently. Either way right now watching Baker Ball is better than what we saw last year

  3. garro Says:

    Agree DR.
    I suggest that Canales might tweek the offense a bit if Trask were starting, but that is a moot point at present.

    “Now this Sunday against the Lions, well, we will see what the Bucs learned in the loss to the Eagles. Both the Eagles and Lions are somewhat the same. Both have bruising defenses, punishing trenches and explosive offenses.”

    That, Joe is the only positive I took from the Philly loss. Aside from the fact that the team continued to battle and play hard. They found out what needs fixing. My hope is they have gone about fixing as much as they can.

    BTW if they have to beat the Lions and the Refs bad calls on Sunday our chances diminish greatly. There were some total BS calls in our previous games.

    Go Bucs!

  4. Zoocomics Says:

    @ Defense Rules. Could not have said it better myself.

  5. Beej Says:

    50/50 we beat the Lions, 40/60 on the Bills. Lose to either and there will be a dozen posts here that we have to cut the WHOLE team and start all over. This team is much better than expected, but we aren’t in the Eagles/Niners rarified air yet…. Simply can’t get there in one off-season. I’m happy as heck where we are

  6. Hodad Says:

    Sometimes it isn’t who’s better like Philly, or the Lions, that you’re playing, it’s the timing of when you’re playing them. When we played Philly they had a couple of extra days rest, and time to prepare. We have that advantage on Detriot this time.

  7. Zoocomics Says:

    Watching the Jags vs Bills game…most of us have been chalking the vs Bills game as a loss. You know, I’m not sure anymore. I know we’re playing them at home, but the Bills are anomaly at this point, they look loaded on both sides of the ball and appear to be able to beat any team in the NFL, yet they’re incredibly vulnerable. Be interesting where we’re at health wise vs them, and how we match up. We come in healthy, and I say this against any team, we’re going to be handful to mess with.

    The one thing I think we all can agree on moving forward, for the sake of the success of this team is that we have to get better at running the football.

  8. Duane Says:

    The entire season is a proving ground for all teams. Fans and media writers/talking heads love to pronounce this or that about teams, but until the season is over we have no freaking idea how it’s going to turn out. Good teams, of course, continue to play well … that is, until key starters go down to injury, or they lose confidence after a couple of losses. Mediocre teams continue to play mediocre … until they suddenly gel and get hot late in the season (see, 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7-5 through November, then never lost another game through Super Bowl Sunday). And then some teams stay the same all season long.

    Joe and the media folks place way too much emphasis on Baker Mayfield, as if he is a one man team, and everybody else is just there as window dressing. The entire Bowles/Canales plan for this team was to have a very strong defense, and an offense that scores just enough points to win while not turning over the ball too much. That is exactly what we’ve seen so far, but we do not know if it will continue that way all season long. Bucs fans would like to think that the offense will get better as the season goes, and the defense does not get killed by injuries.

  9. WyomingJoe Says:

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Baker is playing well if you watched him during his days in Cleveland. He never had the talented receivers he has now and the Browns defense was never as aggressive as the Bucs, even with someone like Myles Garrett on the D-line. I’ve seen Baker put up 40+ points against the Chargers and still lose because of his defense! Of course, he did have Nick Chubb in the backfield, but it’s easier to stop the run if the team you’re playing doesn’t have to worry about the wideouts. Plus, he’s never had someone like Dave Canales in his ear. Keep believing because this year is going to be fun to watch.

  10. Mark hardt Says:

    The wolves waiting for Baker to collapse are doing the Bucs a favor. It keeps Bakes focused. It will be like that the rest of his career. People hate to be wrong and will wait 10 years when Baker is 38 to finally be able to dance on his grave. As they scream I told you so Baker will just retire and take up acting like Jim Brown did.

  11. Leighroy Says:

    The only point I’d disagree with you DR is Mayfield’s responsibility for protecting the football, which he’s done well so far.

    Jordan Love showed a prime example last night that a TEAM with momentum, demonstrably better than its opponent, can pull defeat from the jaws of victory by throwing interceptions. I wouldnt think this fan base would need that kind of a reminder, but I’m offering it anyway. Mayfield must continue his smart play, and it is solely on him post snap to make those good decisions. If he can continue what he’s demonstrated so far, there’s hope.

  12. PSL Bob Says:

    Defense Rules is spot on. We need our defense to hold the Lions to fewer points than they’re used to and play an error free game on both sides of the ball. Two things in our advantage, we’re playing at home and we’ve had an extra week to prepare for the game. Fingers crossed!!

  13. Cardiac kidz Says:

    I sure would like to see what our running game looks like if we run the rock behind Wirfs and Fielder. We continue to try the middle and right-side with little to no results. By design it will slow down the opposition strong side of tge defense and also opens up the naked bootleg when thier opposite DE crashes down the line. Perhaps they are waiting until later in the season to implement this strategy. None the less, the running game needs help.

  14. DungyDance Says:

    The Bills may have some injuries going on, but don’t forget that game is on Thu and we’ll have only 4 days rest, plus having to travel there. That’s going to be a bit of an equalizer.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    When players get beat, they commit penalties……

    We need to win one of these 3 games Det, Buf, SF……

    If we can, we are likely playoff bound.

  16. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I feel like the Eagles played one of their best games against us when I watch them vs other teams.

    Their D-line and O-line’s destroyed us.

    Hutchenson is amazing but I don’t think the Lions have as good a D-line and not the depth of the Eagles. Goff is a lot more sack-able than Hurts.

  17. J Says:

    The fact that Panthers put 24 on Detroit is what I liked. Sure Amon was out as well as a few other, but now they’ve lost Moseley for the year and they’re still beat up. This all bodes well for Tampa.

  18. orlbucfan Says:

    Usual good objective analysis, DR. Hey joes, could you guys do an article on the Bucs-Detroit STs? They may end up being the X-factor, and ours isn’t chopped liver. Hope the coaches have the guys ready for the refs, too. Eagles outplayed and out-classed our Bucs, simple as that. I bet it was a big fat learning experience. We’ll see Sunday. Go Tampa Bay!!

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Lord C … Detroit (4-1) has allowed 7 sacks (4.2% sack rate) for 48 yards lost. Philly (5-0) has allowed 12 sacks (6.7%) for 60 yards lost. Goff has run 14 times for 12 yards (and 2 TDs), while Hurts has run 55 times for 206 yards (and 4 TDs).

    Obviously 2 very different types of QBs. I suspect Hurts gets sacked more not because his OLine can’t protect him, but because he seems to be constantly on the move looking to make a play, either by running or throwing. He’s probably his own worst enemy when it comes to sacks (tries to keep the play alive like Jameis used to rather than throwing the ball away to avoid the sack loss).

  20. stpetebucfan Says:


    “Joe and the media folks place way too much emphasis on Baker Mayfield, as if he is a one man team,”

    I do not disagree at all. I guess my question is are you surprised? It’s ALWAYS that way. In the NFL the QB’s always get more credit and more blame than they individually deserve. Before Mayfield it was all Brady all the time…before that JW and I suspect it’s that way in all NFL cities.

    Here is what I’m looking for in the Lions game. Can the Bucs get healthy is #1 in my mind. A healthy Buc squad should be able to play well against the Lions.

    #2 How is the continuing evolution of Canalas proceeding. This next game will be a strong indicator. He’s had an extra week to “self scout” something he clearly believes in as well as know the Lions inside out. He has an extra week to tailor a game plan just for the Lions. Let’s see how that works out.

  21. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Joe says:

    The Buccaneers will face the Lions and Bills in two of their three games after this week’s bye (with the NFC South rival Falcons sandwiched in between those two opponents).

    Go right from the Lions to the Bills and skip right over the Falcons as if it’s not a contest. Surely Joe doesn’t believe the Falcons are going to hand the Bus the loss in his 2-1 scenario. That’s a good way to get got. Only one game each week and hopefully the team isn’t game planning for week 6 and 8 today.

  22. Locked In Says:

    5 dash 2

  23. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Locked In, you beat me to it.

  24. Sly Pirate Says:

    Something we haven’t discussed is strength of schedule. The Saints (and Atlanta) have the easiest schedules in the NFL. They are cakewalks. I don’t see how the Saints CANNOT win 10 games. The Bucs’ schedule is difficult. They are going to have to play good football to keep pace. The good news is, they’ll be legit if they win the division.

  25. sdm5821 Says:

    My concern with the Lions is that the Bucs come out sluggish and dare I say, distracted. The return of the Creamsicle is being hyped as much as Barber’s HOF jacket/ring was for the Eagles game. That game the Bucs started slowly and had some miscues early, which put them behind the eight ball.

    IMO, the Lions game is going to be a street fight and the team that realizes that and lands the first punch is going to set the tone for the afternoon. Time of possession will be important. I will be thrilled with the Bucs grinding out multi-play drives that end in points.

  26. Brandon Says:

    before the start of the season, I had the team at 3-1 after four, 4-3 after seven, and 11-6 at the end. I THINK we have a good shot at 5-2 after seven. The Bills on the road will be very rough.

  27. Student of the Game Says:

    best bet in the NFL, home team plus the points. Bucs will be 4-1 on Sunday night. I think Bucs have a really good chance at winning all of the the next 3 if play continues as to date.

    Give it up Trask homers. Baker is legit. Its time to back the team.

  28. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Student of the Game Says:

    best bet in the NFL, home team plus the points. Bucs will be 4-1 on Sunday night.

    Hope So but about 80% of the money bet so far is saying otherwise. Hold off on the bets because more points are sure to come.

    Masses were right week one. Maybe they are wrong week 6. Were sure wrong in the case of CHI vs WAS.

  29. Bucs'n'Bucks Says:

    I love this year’s team. They’re gritty. They’re getting really good at proving nay-sayers wrong. And that’s because they aren’t prima donnas. No one puts it all on Baker, or Chris, or Vita. They’re a TEAM and they’re going to win.