Prickly Pete Prisco: Baker Mayfield A Huge Reason Bucs Sit Atop NFC South

October 4th, 2023


Prickly Pete Prisco is kicking himself for this.

In his weekly power rankings for CBS, Prisco confessed he had not picked the Bucs to win the NFC South. And he’s regretting that preseason call.

Prisco explained he initially thought the Bucs were going to win the NFC South because of Mayfield. He saw the Bucs in minicamp and came away very sure. Then Prisco returned this summer to watch the Bucs in training camp. Uh, oh. Mayfield was locked in a battle with Kyle Trask. This spooked Prisco.

So much so he decided to roll with the slimy Saints.

Well, Prisco’s initial hunch turned out to be correct. The Bucs, at 3-1, are in the driver’s seat in the division. And Prisco typed that’s because of Mayfield.

Mayfield is a big reason why. He was 25-for-32 for 246 yards and three touchdown passes against the Saints. The guy who seemingly always plays with a chip on his shoulder responded in a big way after a so-so showing against the Eagles.

Mayfield was why I thought Tampa Bay could win the division in the first place. But when the competition became a reality, and Mayfield seemed to be pressing when I was there for training camp, that changed my thinking.

Then he bounced back in the preseason to take the job, and now Tampa Bay has won three of four, including two road games at Minnesota and at New Orleans. That has the Bucs up to 10th in my Power Rankings this week as they head to their bye. After that, it’s a big home game with the Detroit Lions, followed by a home game against the Falcons. Is 5-1 out of the question? No way.

Well, Joe doesn’t know about 5-1. The Lions will be a handful. They are sort of like a little brother to the Eagles. The Lions are a smashmouth team that can go to the air if need be.

But going 4-2? Hell yeah, Joe can see that. The Dixie Chicks don’t have a quarterback for crying out loud.

Joe read that earlier this week Mike Greenberg and Ryan Clark of BSPN were pushing the Dixie Chicks to trade for Justin Fields.

Can you imagine?

But yeah, Joe does agree with Prisco that the Bucs are in the driver’s seat in the division. And that means a home playoff game.

18 Responses to “Prickly Pete Prisco: Baker Mayfield A Huge Reason Bucs Sit Atop NFC South”

  1. SlyPirate Says:

    Yes, but I believe the Bucs play complimentary football better than anyone. Offense, defense, and ST deserves kudos (and not to be overlooked for a QB). Winfield, Vea, D White, Camarda, Wirfs, Goedeke, Godwin … all critical.

    Have y’all seen the clip of Goedeke’s double block? OMG!

  2. Popcorn Mike Says:

    From what I see in the Bucs this year, they have enough to win the south and at least 1 playoff game, but here’s the problem. They are doing the same things they did last year, too many field goals from the red zone. They touch downs. Too many big plays call back because of penalties. Yes we can win the south because all of the team there are weak but they can’t get no further than winning 1 game in the playoffs without being able the beat nfc teams like Dallas , San Francisco , Detroit the Rams and others. The one good thing for now is, they are beating the teams they should

  3. unbelievable Says:

    I agree Popcorn Mike, though at the same time- they really just need to be able to beat those teams you mentioned by the end of the season (playoffs).

    I want us to win every game of course, but in 2020 we got waxed by the Saints x2 and the Chiefs during the regular season. But we were a better team by time the playoffs came.

    (of course that 2020 roster had more talent than our current one)

  4. J Says:

    If the Bucs look like they can win 1 playoff game to you now,.Popcorn, just wait until our guys that are on the mend come back, especially Kancey, and this offense starts humming. The offense is still evolving and young guys are getting valuable snaps/reps. We’re a quarter thru the season heading into to a Bye just at the right time at 3-1 (I saw us at 1-4). A lot of what I’m seeing has been fixable, and thank God for that Eagles a$$ whooping we took. That was a massive learning moment that I believe resonated thru the entire team. The redzone efficiency I believe will go up as our guys get more comfortable with this offense, and I think that might start when we see Detroit. Canales’ play calling is starting to really show. He’s.starting to look like a dangerous foe for these DC’s.

  5. Proudbucsfan Says:

    I’ve got a good feeling we beat Detroit. This team has the fight it didn’t have last year.

  6. BillyBucco Says:

    I agree with J.
    If you remember with Brady, it didn’t start pretty at all.
    They kept preaching it would take until game 8 or so to work.
    It actually took until game 13 and down to Atlanta by 3 TDs.
    I took a nap and my friend called and woke me up. I don’t think I slept again until we won the SB.
    Remember what really helped the team that year?
    The bye.
    Guess what we have now?
    The bye.
    This TEAM is way ahead of our SB year in terms of grasping a new system and playing complimentary football. These guys believe and the Sky is the limit.
    We are 2nd in the league in turnovers and turnover differential.
    Detroit azz whooping on deck.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Proudbucsfan … ‘This team has the fight it didn’t have last year’.

    Best comment I’ve read in awhile, and yes the difference between last year & this year is like night & day. Todd Bowles & Jason Licht obviously have a common vision of what they want this team to become. The changes they made during the off-season (coaching & player changes) seem to be paying huge dividends already. That bodes well for the future IMO, even though I keep telling myself that this team is a work in progress that has lots of room to grow as it gains experience playing together.

    As an aside, our weak link right now still seems to be RB. Noticed earlier that the Ravens have TWO very experienced RBs on their Practice Squad who might be worth looking into. The one I prefer is Kenyan Drake (29 yrs old … 6’1″ & 211 lbs) who sports a 4.5 YPC career rushing average. The other is Melvin Gordon (30 yrs old … 6’1″ & 215 lbs) who has a 4.1 YPC career rushing average, but did much better than that with Denver for 3 years prior to getting picked up by the Ravens. Since they’re on the Ravens PS, poaching would be allowed.

  8. Rod Munch Says:

    Defense Rules – the last thing this team needs are old washed up running backs. Gordon was a very good RB years ago, but hasn’t done anything since then. Drake was good for like half a season in Arizona, in 2020 – if you sign him, you’d be better off to go sign Fournette.

    In any case, if the Bucs did sign someone, they need a change of pace back. A guy with some moves, who gives you something different. You know, a guy like Ronnie Brown.

    But what they really need to do is look at a calendar, and realize it’s the year 2023, and realize you don’t have to mindless repeat what your middle school coach told you about football in 1970 (that’s for Bowles, not you).

  9. Hodad Says:

    Trade for JT, he’s only 24 years old.

  10. garro Says:

    Insanely funny and not funny at the same time. Watching the talking heads figure out angles to say they were wrong without saying they were wrong.

    Go Bucs!

  11. ModHairKen Says:


  12. orlbucfan Says:

    I’m gonna stick my neck out, and say the 2023 ST is showing signs of being better than 2020’s. Now, the O and D are works in progress, for sure! I’m hoping we get the Lions game here in O-ville this weekend so I can check them out.

  13. Daniel Z Says:

    At least Prisco’s take wasn’t as bad as Colin Cowherd’s pre-season advice to Baker. During the “QB competition” phase, Cowherd said Baker should retire and go call college games. Heres the short:

  14. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Timing is everything. We still have drops, zero-yard rushing attempts, throw-aways caused by pressure, etc, just like last year but this year they seem to come more often on early downs rather than on 3rd down killing our drives. Pretty sure our 3rd down Conversion rate is improved from last year as a result. Partly Baker’s legs either extending a play or running for yardage and partly play-calling. But timing. Getting the play when you really need the play is making this year a little less frustrating to watch. I think we’re moving the chains on early downs more often as well.

    I think our 3-and-outs are lower too through 4 games (I’d have to check). Adding Camarda’s cannon leg to that and fewer turnovers and we haven’t put our D in a bind too often with field position.

    Imagine if we had a running game……..

  15. Winny Testaverde Says:

    The Falcones thought they found their QB when The Bucs benched their starters in last season’s regular season finale ( 2nd half ). The Riddler is a joker. Arthur Blank Check remains tortured.

  16. Ken Browns fan ..Baker Bro Says:

    I’ve always liked Baker Mayfield since the time that he drove that Oklahoma flag in the middle of Ohio state’s buckeye symbol and I’m a buckeye fan he’s got Moxie I think the Browns put him in a lot of crappy situations especially when he was injured it’s good to see him with focus maturity and drive keep his head level I like the cockiness I always have I hope that the buccaneers go to the playoffs go Baker sorry it didn’t work out in Cleveland our loss

  17. James Marshall Says:

    I wanted the Bucs to go after Baker two years ago. He’s tough has a good arm and effective running when he has to. He can also take a hit which he proved in the Saints

  18. Capt2fish Says:

    The bucs are built for play off run. Go to profootball reference and compare baker and carr’s playoff records. 1) baker has twice as many games 2 to 1. Baker 4 TD/1 INT and 94 qbr. Carr
    1 TD/1 INT with a 69 QBR. Baker also only had one sack and 6 drops (8% of all pass attempts). Again…this is in the playoffs. Licht will get GM of the year for what he is doing on a shoe string budget. Nobody has fleeced the NFL for more money than the Carr Family….with the possible exception of JaMarcus russell.