Can Baker Mayfield Beat His “Complacency” Issue

December 14th, 2023

A comment from Todd Bowles this week had an express-route tie to something voiced by Buccaneers legend Rondé Barber six weeks ago.

And it’s something that must be fixed.

Baker Mayfield needs to start playing complete games — 60 minutes of focused football. Get your head in the damn game, Baker.

“Baker’s a guy that likes riding that gamer feeling. We have to find a way to get Baker to feel that way the whole game,” Barber said weeks ago on the Buccaneers Radio Network. “Because when he does, when he feels like he’s that underdog or there’s adversity against him, he proves you wrong. He always does.”

“… He’s got to fight complacency. That’s what I’m trying to say. When he gets complacent, it’s not the same Baker.”

Jump ahead to what Bowles said this week: “I think [Mayfield] plays better under pressure than he does on just normal downs because he’s even more focused, even more locked in and the guys rally behind him.”

This is important stuff. When a Hall of Famer and a head coach call out your inconsistency, that says something.

It doesn’t help Mayfield, Joe believes, that his playcaller is so run-heavy (unsuccessfully) early in games. That doesn’t foster putting a quarterback in a rhythm.

If the Bucs hope to close the season 3-1 and make the playoffs, they’ll need Mayfield to improve. His play has dipped over the past four games.

Clutch is great. Consistency is better.

23 Responses to “Can Baker Mayfield Beat His “Complacency” Issue”

  1. Popcorn Mike Says:

    Dah! This is what we Bucs fans has been saying for about 7 games. We’re not Mayfield hater’s we just want to see him play well all game. I understand every NFL QB have bad games but, I personally would like to see consistency and just better play overall. I think this is why so many don’t think he’s the Bucs franchise QB

  2. garro Says:

    That is kind of absurd to me. Kinda like Diva saying he got bored…

    Really? You need even more pressure in order to make plays? Like playing QB in the NFL is not enough?

    Geez Im not a shrink but…

    Go Bucs!

  3. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Here come the nuthuggers.

  4. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Athletes are people.
    People have good days and people have bad days..
    We’re not stinking robots you know.
    Holy schnookies.

  5. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Baker Mayfield needs to start playing complete games — 60 minutes of focused football.

    Ding, ding, ding. Finally some honest reporting about this situation. The few sprinkles of magic are not enough. He makes a nice play then back to 3-and-outs for half the game.

    It needs to change. But as we all know, a tiger does not change it’s stripes. 6 seasons of consistent output is a pretty good indicator of what a person is capable of.

  6. eric Says:

    lol whenever you have to keep making excuses for a person he is what he is an average at best QB!

  7. orlbucfan Says:

    Mebbe Canales coming up with better game planning might help.

  8. stpetebucfan Says:

    Well one things for sure, if Baker enjoys being the underdog and needs that to get fired up for the first quarter he shouldn’t have any problem this week!

    The vast majority of this board expects the Bucs to lose and blame it on Baker.

    Baker/Bowles/Canales have clearly made mistakes. Is there an error free team in the league. How much has Baker been handicapped by Bowles philosophy and Caneles run it at all costs.

    Sometimes people do not consider the entire picture. Last Sunday in Atlanta the Falcons received to start the 2nd half trailing by two. They pin the Bucs back at their ten. While I’m usually critical of Bowles defensive nature I do not fault him for playing it conservative to protect the ball…oops another 3 and out and punt. Falcons punt back and again it’s the ten or seven can’t remember which possession but one of them also included the first really horrible shotgun snap from Hainsey this year. Baker barely keeps it out of the end zone and Rachaad recovers the fumble.

    IE The Falcons had the ball 3X before the Bucs even started beyond their own ten yard line. Once they did however the ground and pound started working.

    Agree that late starts on offense are a problem. Some of that is due to Baker. Some of that is due to Canales playcalling, some is due to moronic penalties even on the best player on the team with Wirfs jumping offsides.

  9. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Agree that the offense often has long fields. That was especially true in the first ATL game. 2 TOs at the 1-yard line gave our offense terrible field position (thanks bend-then-break defense). But I’ll counter with this: other teams have to deal with this too. It’s not an automatic 3 and out for every other team. It is for this offense.

  10. stpetebucfan Says:


    “6 seasons of consistent output is a pretty good indicator of what a person is capable of.”

    The only HONEST grade you can give this season is an I for incomplete.

    So lets put your comment in context with FIVE seasons of what he’s capable of.

    One of those seasons Baker won 11 games then won a playoff game on the road for the first time in DECADES for the lowly Browns and came within a whisker of defeating Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City! Is that a good indicator?

    His rookie year he finished with this current record at 6-7 which was good enough in the eyes of the NFL to earn him runner up honors (Saquon Barkley won) for rookie of the year. Do we also include that season as a good indicator?

    If you at least concede the playoff winning 11 game W season that’s 20% if you add in his rookie year and all the plaudits he received he jumps to 40%

    IMHO there is not nearly enough data to make the sweeping conclusions you’ve apparently reached. But as they say on the internet…YMMV

  11. WyomingJoe Says:

    Why not start the game going no huddle? Like there’s 1 minute to go in and your down by 2! Baker plays better when he plays fast. Wouldn’t that help resolve any complacency issues? It would certainly shock the opposing team’s defense. Even though the running game has steadily improved, Barry Sanders ain’t on this team…

  12. Sacker58 Says:

    It would help if his receivers caught balls that hit them directly in the hands

  13. Chuckys Bucs Says:

    Not sure it’s complacency. To me Baker views himself as a 1970s/1980s style QB. QBs back in the day smoked cigs at halftime, some had second jobs, did just enough to stay in shape, and let it rip. Not that he does either but the mentality is similar. Just show up and play ball.

  14. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Tried responding @stpete, but JBF is eating my post. It’s not sitting in moderation, just poof. It contains no cursing or juvenility. I tried tweaking it and reposting multiple times. Not sure of the reason.

  15. Joe Says:

    Tried responding @stpete, but JBF is eating my post. It’s not sitting in moderation, just poof. It contains no cursing or juvenility. I tried tweaking it and reposting multiple times. Not sure of the reason.

    Not sure either (obviously) but the only reason comments should go poof and vanish is either you are using verbotten words, you are trying to include a link or you are using a naughty IP address.

  16. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Joe, no links, no bad words, same IP as this post. Dunno

  17. Glass (almost) Half Full Guy Says:

    What WyomingJoe said. Tempo. Urgency. Play fast. Not only to “fix Mayfield’s complacency” but to confuse the D, limit substitutions on opponent’s D, etc. I was under the assumption that we would be seeing this under Canales (among other things).

    Complacency happens. Take ME13 for example. Throw him a contested pass and his hands are like glue. His focus is 100% on the ball all the way into his hands. Throw him a long ball when he’s running free and …..oopsie-daisy. Drop. Not sure if his mind is elsewhere (like finding someone in the end zone seat wearing a #13 shirt to hand the ball to….ever notice how quickly he spots them? Almost like it’s

    The odd thing is, my perception is that they don’t play up-tempo enough but as soon as the ball is snapped, most of the plays seem rushed or frantic almost. Just not smooth execution. Seems like a lack of confidence. No confidence that pass pro will hold up, no confidence that receivers will get open or no confidence in the play calls.

    The lack of “timing routes and throws”, where the ball is out before the receiver makes his break is a good indicator that the trust isn’t there to be on the same page. This usually ends with a pass thrown a tick too late or a throwaway because the DB had time to react. Or, if the DB has reacted because the throw wasn’t made, Mayfield holds the ball and either moves on to his next read or scrambles. Enter the frantic factor.

    The offense needs some swagger and smoothness. Right now it’s haphazard and sloppy.

    Ever notice in virtually every game, regardless of the teams playing, the 2-minute drill almost always seems to be able to drive the ball nearly the length of the field or at least enough for a field goal? You say to yourself, “Where has that been all game?” Up-tempo and urgency, that’s where. You need more of it in the first 3 quarters, especially if you’re struggling to move the ball.

  18. 1sparkybuc Says:

    The same thing could be said about Brady last season, lack of focus. Different level of talent, and different circumstances, but same result. It might even end in a blowout home loss in the playoffs. I hope not. I don’t like seeing the Bucs lose, but the thought of another season with Bowles and Mayfield kills me. I don’t have that many more years left. I worked as an electrician on the sky boxes and their locker room on the expansion of the old Tampa Stadium. I’ve been a fan from day one. I want to be excited about next year. I want the prospect of something better, hopefully with a HC curious enough, and objective enough, to find out what the QB we drafted is capable of doing in an actual game. Mayfield has demonstrated his limitations. We know what he can and can’t do. Nobody knows if Trask is a Purdy or just another Mayfield.

  19. RustyRhinos Says:

    Is not 3 incomplete passes in a row a main reason to punt? 3 runs up the gut for 3.0 yards is 9 of 10 yards needed, or is there some different math {{Statistics}} that makes that 0 yards gained by incompletions any better?

    I have read that you can be “The Savior” & “America’s QB” if you toss around a few pic-sixes to start and finish your games here in Tampa… I guess a few series of incompletions sure is better than that…


  20. Glass (almost) Half Full Guy Says:

    It’s hard to feel bad for millionaire athletes but I do feel for Trask and Mayfield. Neither came into the NFL to great situations for their development.

    Sure, Baker got to be a starter right away but on a team that went 1-31 the prior two seasons, had a revolving door of coaches and systems and worst of all, coaches who didn’t care about his long-term health when he injured his shoulder. They should have shut him down whether he wanted to play thru it or not.

    Trask get selected by a team on the rise, but who had just signed a legend at QB. Even if he beat out Gabbert for #2, he’d only see action if Brady got injured. And with all the talk over the years about Brady being soft, the only games he missed were when he blew out his knee and the 4-game suspension over that ridiculous “Deflate-Gate” nonsense. He holds the NFL record for career number of times sacked, played with a bum knee, gashed throwing hand, etc.

    Trask did benefit knowledge-wise (or should have) by playing behind TB12 and being coached by BA and if P. Manning or Brady are any indication, you become great thru knowledge and determination and fire. Being a great “athlete” is for WRs and EDGE guys when you’re fresh out of the minor league (college).

    I don’t think we know either guy’s true potential until Trask sees the field and Baker gets time with consistently good coaching. Neither has had any of those things needed to develop and improve.

  21. Wild Bill Says:

    Pro’s should not require inspirational leadership but the teams that have great leadership generally perform at a higher level. Is Bowels an inspirational leader? I think not. And the offensive coordinator is basically a rookie himself. Nuff said.

  22. Ex-Browns02 Says:

    Everyone who’s seen my posts knows I’m a Baker fan. I’m not trying to defend him now, but you’ve all been watching the offensive play design and play calling all season. It has been frustrating to watch at times.

    I said back in preseason that the Bucs needed to have an offensive strategy that would play to Mayfield’s strengths. This applies to any QB, not just Baker.

    For most of the season we’ve seen the run-run-pass strategy fail. This sets up a QB for failure when running doesn’t do the job. I really don’t think that it would’ve worked for Kyle either. From what I’ve seen, Kyle has great mechanics and passing ability, but it you put him in the same situation you’ll get the same results. The Bucs are playing Baker over Kyle because he has more experience fighting out of the trench.

    What we’re finally been witnessing now is a gradual transition to a more creative (and more effective) offensive strategy.

    In the last two games I’ve seen improvement in both the O and D play-calls, and improved O-line and defensive performances. The team has established real positive momentum and I’m sure we’re going to see a positive outcome on Sunday at Green Bay.

    Go Bucs!!

  23. Leopold Stotch Says:

    It’s pathetic our starting qb on a losing team with a HC who’s job is on the line, whose been on 4 teams in a year or whatever has to fight through adversity… My goodness. Put Trask in there already.