Managing Baker Mayfield And His Desire To Play

January 4th, 2024

“Todd, I will win it.”

Joe admits to not watching many Browns games.

So Joe didn’t watch much of Baker Mayfield’s games with the Browns. Mayfield nearly beating the Super Bowl-bound Chiefs in the playoffs in Arrowhead was one game Joe remembers watching Mayfield play.

The following season, Mayfield banged up his non-throwing shoulder but fought through the pain and still played, even wearing some sort of harness for support.

In the wake of Mayfield leaving Cleveland, Joe read and had heard from Browns followers that in retrospect, Mayfield shouldn’t have played with that bum shoulder. It hindered his play and ended up costing him big time.

That is the very first thing Joe thought of when he heard Bucs coach Todd Bowles discuss yesterday that Mayfield may not play Sunday due to his “sore” ribs, injured in the loss to the slimy Saints.

Joe loves how Mayfield is a fiery guy, a competitor, a fighter. All excellent traits. Joe only wishes a certain Bucs linebacker had the same weekly drive. It’s difficult to imagine that if Mayfield can strap on shoulder pads and lift his right arm, he’s going to tell Bowles,’ sorry man, I can’t go.’

Here is where someone on the Bucs’ coaching staff needs to be the adult in the room.

If, in pregame warmups, Mayfield looks as though his passes or throws are off because of his sore ribs, the Bucs need to start Kyle Trask.

Now this is not ideal. Trask has never started a game.

Joe doesn’t care if you are a Bull Gator or a legacy at the school — or just wear orange and blue pajamas to bed each night — no one in their right mind thinks it’s a good thing to give a guy his first NFL start when all the cards are on the table for the season.

But if Mayfield is limited, the last thing the Bucs need is for an impaired quarterback to fight through physical limitations and win the game. Mayfield just as easily could lose.

This is a very tough decision. A huge reason the Bucs are where they are is because of Mayfield. Bowles has to weigh if a 100 percent Trask gives the Bucs a better chance to win than, say, an 80 percent Mayfield.

Joe believes whoever starts Sunday, if he struggles in the first half and the Bucs are trailing, Bowles will need to go to the bullpen for the second half.

72 Responses to “Managing Baker Mayfield And His Desire To Play”

  1. heyjude Says:

    I agree. Baker is a strong competitor and fighter. He has moxie and is humble. However, he may need to be pulled back this time around. The QB may need to be Trask.

  2. garro Says:

    “This is a very tough decision. A huge reason the Bucs are where they are is because of Mayfield. Bowles has to weigh if a 100 percent Trask gives the Bucs a better chance to win than, say, an 80 percent Mayfield.”

    Agreed Joe! Only thing I would add is that I would make that decision tomorrow. Not game day. If he cant do it tomorrow give the ball to Trask so he can get all the reps possible in practice. But thats just me.

    Go Bucs!

  3. Popcorn Mike Says:

    This is what happens when you leave for tomorrow what you should’ve done today. In other words, if the Bucs would’ve beaten the Saints at home Sunday they would be in relax mode this weekend. My question is, if the worst scenario happens like, Mayfield starts, plays poorly because he’s injured, Bowles takes him out put Trask in and the Bucs lose to the 2 -14 Panthers will Bowles have a job next year

  4. Mike C Says:

    If nothing else, the season after Brady has been entertaining.

  5. Mark hardt Says:

    Bakers agent and wife needs to step in also. The decision to play after the 4th game 2021 hit and not getting surgery ended Bakers career in Cleveland. I don,t think Baker will make the same mistake this week. If he can,t throw normally Sunday at Game time he will let Kyle Trask Play. Why mess up his best statistical season as a pro just before Free Agency in March? He has a baby girl on the way and needs to think of her first.

  6. Gipper Says:

    Time for Baker to sit and watch Sunday. Haven’t heard about a fine for Matthieu.Rib injuries are tough. They only hurt when you breathe. There has been plenty of sentiment for Trask all season. Let him prepare to play and let him have his moment.

  7. heyjude Says:

    Mark hardt Says:
    January 4th, 2024 at 7:55 am

    “Bakers agent and wife needs to step in also…”

    Yes, fully agree. So much more is in play here. And doctors should give an honest evaluation too. Not for the NFL and Bucs, but for Baker.

  8. NE Fan Says:

    Joe, Baker ALMOST beat Chad Henne in that PO game but did not, he choked. Any QB in this league that cannot play because their non throw shoulder is soar is a wuss not a warrier. Shoot him up and get at least a half out of him Sunday. On second thought make it the second half so he can be assured his garbage yards. Trask, Baker toss a coin neither should be starting on a NFL team.

  9. Beeej Says:

    Pity, dude only needs 93 yards to hit 4k. Don’t think White gonna get his 1k either

  10. NE Fan Says:

    Baker 2020 playoff game versus KC 23 for 37 204yds 1td, 1int. Not exactly SB material. The D kept them in that game against the winning QB Chad Henne.

  11. Aaron Says:

    If we don’t turn the ball over – we should win this game. I think he plays, but wish he would throw the ball away more…saying that, the tough part is can Baker play and not be Baker? Meaning, not take off and try to run players over.

    Go Bucs!

  12. Since76 Says:

    If he’s hurt he should not play. Especially the QB position. Seasons on the line. I think he will play regardless if it’s good for the team or not. Doesn’t matter who starts there is no way anyone can play worse than what we witnessed last week.

  13. D-Rome Says:

    If Baker is injured then Trask has to start. Simple as that. I’m a huge fan of what Baker has done this season in reviving his career but he’s had a couple of games where he threw 48% when healthy. How good can he possibly be with banged up ribs?

    This Baker vs. Trask foolishness reminds me of the Mike Glennon Mob. I hope they bring Baker back and build around him instead of drafting a QB later in the first round. This team is not very far away from being really good.

  14. Boss Says:

    I expect the Bucs to win……..but I also expect them to be in full turtle mode, which usually means a loss.


    If I had to bet I would bet on a loss because they do what they do and start baker in turtle mode…’s close, and they make no changes at half time and a close loss due to a turnover right near the end of the game on a 3rd down after 2 turtle runs.

  15. HC Grover Says:

    Bowles will play him long enough to get so far behind Trask can not bring it back.

  16. Locked In Says:

    If he can’t pass we can just run the ball more… 😑

  17. Buc4evr Says:

    Hope Baker can play because Trask is not going to win it. Sorry Trask fans, the guy doesn’t have enough real playing experience in the NFL. Would rather have Woford than Trask.

  18. Cobraboy Says:

    100% Trask is better than an 80% Mayfield.”

    There is *zero* basis for this speculation.

    Trask is, in essence, still an unknown rookie.

    Then again, if you HAVE to start a rook, the ideal situation is against the worst team in the league in the last game, when they have their U-Hauls packed in the player’s lot.

  19. rickym Says:

    John Wolford with the Rams:

    “Wolford would become the first quarterback to make his first start with a team during Week 17 with a playoff berth on the line since Kyle Orton with the Dallas Cowboys in 2013. After throwing an interception to Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks on his first pass attempt of the game, Wolford quickly turned things around, completing 22 of 38 passes for 231 yards while also rushing six times for 56 yards as the Rams went on to beat the Cardinals 18–7 to clinch a playoff berth.”

    How do we not start this guy if Mayfield cannot play?

  20. tbc 1 Says:

    Wolford miles ahead of trask

  21. SB~LV Says:

    If you rewatch the sack it could well be that he re injured his shoulder along with his ribs. No doubt that his upper body was injured during the past two games.
    Does this mean that 3 Qb’s will be on the active game day roster on Sunday?

  22. Buc4evr Says:

    Wolford should be the go to, not Trask. But Bowles is known for dumb decisions. lol.

  23. dmatt Says:

    Let’s not concern ourselves on players stats. With an injury such as his, trying to reach 4,000 yards can be the results of Mayfield having an early exit for 2023 season n late start 2024. Rib injury is no fun. The breathing,sneezing, n coughing alone contributes to pain also. The defense will come after him repeatedly going for the ribs which is fair game. Let’s play it smart. Being that inquiring minds for three years have had skepticism of Trask, play him now against a struggling team who we are favored over. If he struggles, pull him n put in John Wolford, if he struggles, as a last resort, put in Mayfield. I’d rather savage Mayfield for the playoffs than throw Trask to the wolves, my bad,Eagles.

  24. Pryda…sec147 Says:

    Nervous as a mofo with this game! Lose an it’s night night bowels gtfo of Tampa

  25. go dawgs Says:

    It has to be Wolford over Trask in a back up situation with the season on the line. Can’t afford Trask to poop himself while he gets gane experience.

  26. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Baker will play even if he needs 2 teammates to hold him up. He’s afraid of somebody taking his starting job. Every time he’s ever found himself as a backup he’s pouted. Transfered from TTech to OU because Kingsbury didn’t want to start him. Requested a trade from CLE because they were making a QB change. Then he requested his release from CAR because they were moving on. Dude is too arrogant to accept being a backup, despite having the skill of a backup. And we all know Bowles won’t sit him; he has already hitched his cart to that horse.

  27. Tony marks Says:

    HC Grover Says:
    January 4th, 2024 at 8:29 am
    Bowles will play him long enough to get so far behind Trask can not bring it back.


    So in other words 3 points.

  28. Since76 Says:

    Dmatt would you consider less than 50 yards struggling and needing to be pulled. Because it doesn’t happen on this team.

  29. Hawk Says:

    For several years, certain fans have balked at Trask getting any playing time because he wasn’t even able to move up to ‘backup’ QB. Now, some of these same fans want Wolford… who suffers from the same problem (3rd place on depth chart). Can’t have it both ways.
    *I* hope Baker is healthy enough to play. Bowles and Baker have tied their futures to each other, and both need for this to play out (for better or worse).

  30. Bojim Says:

    NE fan. What do you know. Shouldn’t you be on am NE site and not spouting your bs here?

  31. Tony marks Says:

    “Joe doesn’t care if you are a Bull Gator or a legacy at the school — or just wear orange and blue pajamas to bed each night — no one in their right mind thinks it’s a good thing to give a guy his first NFL start when all the cards are on the table for the season.”


    Thats a very valid point but I think you have to go to the number two BUT keep him on a short leash you yank for wolford.

    For Baker I’ d go further. I’d presume Trask as starter and change it only if Baker waskes up Sunday semi miraculously fine

    and it can’t be based on Baker’s say so.

    Its Trask time.

  32. Beeej Says:

    Wolford hasn’t had any reps, simple as that. Same problem Trask had the previous 2 years

  33. SufferingSince76 Says:

    This wouldn’t even be an issue if the Bucs had taken care of business against NO. There’s no excuse for not being prepared every week. None.

  34. SB~LV Says:

    What is the big deal???
    We have been playing a backup QB all year…

  35. okiejim Says:

    Two years ago, Baker would have played with a rib injury, but today a more mature Baker, learning from the past will put the best for the team before his ego and advocate to whomever the next quarterback up is. Baker could have made twice the money as a backup but took a gamble with Tampa. Haters will always be haters and losers will always be losers.

  36. Stanglassman Says:

    I agree that Wolford probably gives the Bucs the best chance at winning. It wouldn’t be smart or fair to Trask to put him out there in this situation. If I had to guess what’s gonna happen is that they’ll let a badly injured Mayfield play, who has no business being on the field. It will jeopardize his future and hurt the team’s chances of winning.

    That cheap shot has a big chance of altering Bucs history. Keeping Bowles (possibly Licht) or not, playoffs birth, winning the division again, resigning Mayfield. All these got much more unlikely by that one very late poor sport hit on Baker. Some fans maybe happy. They seem to want to draft first, get a new coach, and Qb every year.

  37. BUCS4LIFE Says:


  38. SB~LV Says:

    Has Baker proven it in his prove it try out year ?
    I absolutely admire his determination and leadership.
    He doesn’t have a 2020’s era NFL arm.
    His height is also a limitation for him and not other NFL QB’s at the same height.
    He would be a EXCELLENT backup QB on any NFL team especially a good team.
    I doubt he would be a starter on another team next year.
    Cold hard facts!
    Watch the arms of the playoff QB’s once the playoffs start AFTER the Wildcard round.

  39. JD Still Says:

    Sounds Like a Job for Baker Mayfield Marketing, yes there is such a thing , ( look it up), remember ,The quest for the Heisman Trophy is a Marketing and advertising campaign, the commercials from his days in Cleveland, brought to you by a whole group of marketing and advertising professionals not only for the products he was pushing but for Mayfield himself , and it hasn’t changed since he arrived here , first you sell the person to the public and then you can sell any product he pushes , the key is getting the public to buy into the individual, make the public think they can’t do without him , a few well placed “ salesmen “ on sites such as this to push Mayfield as being indispensable, a few more to gaslight anyone who opposes the narrative that only Mayfield can save you , you are doomed without him , Trask or Wolford just can’t do it , and pretty soon you have the whole flock eating out of your hand and repeating that mantra, so Mayfield Marketing wins whether he plays or not , if he plays and the Bucs win , it was because of Mayfield, it the Bucs lose it was because he was hurt, if he doesn’t play , push to have the guy who is the least threat to Mayfield start, failing that , if the Bucs lose it was the guy who plays fault , if they win , they were just lucky , it’s all about pushing the individual, never about the team.

  40. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    My concern is whether Wirfs can go or not. Mayfield’s sore ribs can’t take hits and Trask isn’t very mobile. Panthers will pin their ears back and go after whichever QB is in there.

    A non-mobile and inexperienced Trask, they’ll be drooling to to after him to get him “shook”.

    A hurting Mayfield will have a bullseye on his upper body and they’ll get in as many jabs as they can even if the ball is gone. Some will call it dirty but it’s a contact sport and if it’s not a penalty type of hit, you can bet they’ll try to wear him out.

    I hope Mayfield is healthy enough to go. If not and he plays hurt or Teask starts, you can bet we’ll be seeing “runs to nowhere” up the middle all damn game.

  41. NE Fan Says:

    Facts bojim, the factsJack!

  42. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Some toradol and he’ll be good as new for the game

  43. Alanbucsfan Says:

    NFL QB’s who played and won with fractured ribs- Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo…
    Mayfield will play and Bucs will win the game.
    Trask only enters the game if Mayfield gets knocked out of the game by injury

  44. Bigbucfan90 Says:

    Have him be back up but start trask so baker can rest we will need him for the wildcard game. There is no reason our defense can’t put this one away. We just need trask to manage.

  45. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Mayfield’s threshold for game ending injury is lower than probably at any point this season. Bucs are probably better off if they can feed off the enthusiasm that could ensue from playing the game in that state. Perhaps since Mayfield is, figuratively speaking, injured and cornered, he could come out with some fire that was lacking in the first to third quarters last week.

  46. D Cone Says:

    I watched a couple Browns games last night. vs Rams and vs Jax.
    At 6’6″ it’s just so much easier to deliver the ball on the 2nd level crossing routes.
    Flacco is not the greatest of scramblers but moves just enough to extend the play.

    Browns O Line and Running game put him at an advantage though.

    Browns might be the only team that can take out the Ravens in the AFC right now and playing with a Back-Up that most thought was washed. Jets didn’t even sign him but then they don’t have Stefanski running things.

    If Mayfield can’t go I don’t think Trask should have a problem with Carolina. Bucs could overcome a turnover early while he settles in. As long as there are not two fumbles somewhere to go along with it.
    Timing has worked to the Bucs benefit this season. Playing the Bears early was pivotal as I don’t think any team wants to play them now. Having Carolina to close out the Division could not have worked out any better.

    It’s the Bucs fault they are in this position and must win. Even the Bears beat the Lions and Cardinals beat Philly.

    I think Mayfield has been playing a little banged up already and doubt that he will sit it out.

  47. NE Fan Says:

    D Cone@ Flacco has a ring and a SB MVP on his resume, Baker does NOT. If the Bucs had Flacco they would be resting their starter this weekend or maybe even last weekend.

  48. D Cone Says:

    Gipper Says:
    January 4th, 2024 at 7:58 am
    Time for Baker to sit and watch Sunday. Haven’t heard about a fine for Matthieu.Rib injuries are tough.

    There won’t be a fine. It was a Bang Bang play and called by an officiating team with the second most penalties this season.

  49. Wes Hall Says:

    It’s not a tough call. If Baker is not able to go then start Trask. There has been half of the world saying that he’s the man. Now’s the time to prove it. If the boy can’t get er done then that’s the name of that tune. Baker doesn’t have to prove anything to the moron disbelievers. I suggest we wait until game time to see if Baker can go. It’s an important game, but it’s just a game!!!!!

  50. Jeremy Goins Says:

    It is highly doubtful that Bowles will go to the bullpen if Mayfield looks off. Nothing about coach TB or player BM suggests this as a possibility. I hope they get their head out of their asses, swallow some pride and do what is best for the BUCS. There has to be a reason for not starting KT ever. This Sunday may not be the day. Whatever we think holds little to no value in this situation. Canales seems to be a dumbass too. I say that because we continue to not get the ball to playmakers but instead run it up the gut over and over and over. No matter what the clock or the scoreboard says. I really want us to make it past the 1 round in playoffs, but that will take some creative plays and finding a way to get the ball to our play makers. Our defense needs to show up in force also. That is a whole lot of pressure on a pretty mediocre team. GOOD LUCK GO BUCS!!!

  51. Student of the Game Says:

    JD Still, what a line of horse poopey. You stay up all night to come up with that?

    For those who ask, yes, an 80% Mayfield is better than a 100% Trask. 70%, maybe not. Start Mayfield, take off the handcuffs of predictable run game, play hurry up offense from the git go. Throw screens and move the pocket to the right. Find Evans, Find Goodwin, tight end in the middle. Get up 10-14 fast and pull him. Play the don’t turnover game with Trask or Wofford and better defense and win. Shouldn’t be that hard against Carolina.

  52. Bucfan1988 Says:

    I feel like Mayfield’s personal hatred of Carolina for how they treated him is fueling him to wanna play regardless of how he is physically.

    This could lead Mayfield into tons of additional mistakes in the game giving Carolina a short field to operate.
    One hit to the torso/ribs and Mayfield is done.

    I’m sure Brian Burns is looking for a window or even a crack to make that happen.


  53. NE Fan Says:

    Bucfan@ or is it his fear of Carolina knowing his tendencies? He did practice against the starting g D in Carolina. I say he’s running scared, he snuck by them last game by 2 points and Young was putrid.

  54. David Says:

    You pathetic Baker fans stop your BS again. Why are you so scare of Trask to start you morons ? You don’t give damn about the Bucs. Why ?
    For the entire season you have been bashing Trask not to start due to the lack of experience, statue. Now you asking for another trash undrafted third string back up who hasn’t accomplished anything in his fourth year in NFL (played 7 games, 58% completions, 1TD, 5 Int’s) to start instead.

    You miserable Baker fans get off this site.

  55. Tony marks Says:

    David Says:

    You miserable Baker fans get off this site.



    Because even if we did – Kyle 30% completion Trask woudl still suck.

  56. JD Still Says:

    Just a few points student of the game:

    Anybody can beat anybody on any given day in the NFL, This year Carolina has defeated Atlanta and Houston , two teams We lost to.

    Mayfield is averaging around twenty points a game on a good day , and he has been nothing if not inconsistent, even when healthy, case in point , just last week, 13 whole points in the closing minutes of an out of reach game.

    No one knows how Kyle will do in a regular season game , through no fault of his own , but due to horrible player development in Tampa, but having seen Kyle play throughout his career at Florida , coming into SEC games in front of a hundred thousand people , ( most crowds larger than We have in Tampa), including Championship games , having not started in games since Junior High School , and never panicking , remaining calm in even the most stressful situations , I have no doubt he will do well .

    Now, why would Baker not want to sit it out and heal? Why would a player have his own marketing team? Did You know that Michael Jordon made more than twice the money in one year ,( 2022), marketing shoes , than he did in his entire career playing basketball? You don’t make the big money sitting on the bench , even if it could cripple you.

  57. Woodenman Says:

    Bowels has already come out and said Trask will be the starter if Baker can’t go so stop with all this Wolford crap.

  58. Davenport Says:

    The fact that there is some doubt and mystery about Trask’s ability is entirely the fault of Bowles.

    Bowles had a two years to get Trask on the field so he knows what Trask can do. Not preparing your back up QB is coaching treason.

    I have a bad bad feeling that Sunday will be a disaster for the Bucs.

  59. Woodenman Says:

    Davenport did you have that same bad feeling last week.

  60. NE Fan Says:

    Oh my God, wake up Bucs fans. This is another ploy so Blowzo keeps his job. His out now, “What was I supposed to do, my starting QB was injured?” He knows he’s going down to Carolina the actions of his team must be leaning that way. Baker can’t lose against Carolina or he washed up. Your only hope is if Saints do what they do and shat the bed against Atlanta.

  61. BakerBucs Says:

    u all r making assumptions about baker ribs trask this trask that as I have said before we put Trask in on the 1 yard line on baker injury he picked on the 1 yard line period baker had ex-rays remember everything came back negative no bones broke no fractures just pain from the hit baker will make the call come Friday he is a professional he knows better he has already proved his worth this year his stats r good for his future u have to agree he has kept us very entertained this season.1 thing we know he doesn’t wear a left handed glove only old 45 year old washed up QB do that.

  62. BakerBucs Says:

    NE guy says u sir are a huge POS period

  63. BakerBucs Says:

    NE FAN say u pal are a genuine POS

  64. BakerBucs Says:

    Who the hells bells gives a flying crap bout Micheal Jordan u people r total morons

  65. WyomingJoe Says:

    A few things:

    Everyone on this site has to stop thinking that they know more than Bowles does about football. You may not like him, or may not agree with many of his decisions, but that’s besides the point.

    I honestly think that if Canales and Bowles think that Mayfield isn’t capable of throwing well, he won’t play. Even if he starts, he’ll have a short leash.

    NE Fan is a piece of cr*p and a know-it-all who obviously knows very little. Your comments are no longer respected.

    I’m a Baker fan and I believe that he should have been benched when he was injured in game 2 of the 2021 season. Certainly after Watts further injured his shoulder in game 5/6. Would have given him the rest of the year to recover and he probably would still be in Cleveland.

    Joe: Can’t believe that you didn’t watch highlights of Mayfield’s games from 2018 on.

  66. BakerBucs Says:

    NE FAN says why is he allowed on this site?

  67. vadertime Says:

    Baker is a fierce competitor and unfortunately it often affects his performance. This happened with the Browns that saw him play is final season with the bum shoulder. He needs to step back and do what is best for the team, even if he has to sit it out with his injuries. He can live to fight another day. BTW, the refs should have called that hit on Baker. Whether we win or lose the final game is now less important than what happens next year. I think in these last 6 games or so, we have seen enough of Baker that he could be at minimum the caretaker QB until we get a long-term solution under center. If we make it to the playoffs, I doubt we’ll get beyond the first round, regardless of who is under center. After that, we are on to rebuilding the Bucs for the 2024 season. Bowles needs to go and I sincerely believe he will be replaced. He is not capable of rebuilding the Bucs. I have mixed feeling about Canales. Glazers, just clean house and start from scratch. Cheers.

  68. NE Fan Says:

    Wyoming Joe, have youbalways been a Baker gurgeler? He is not a fierce competitor, the man has no choice he is playing for his livelihood. He’s just another overrated college QB the Bucs drank the Koolaid on. Bucs fans, you can do better. FYI, Belichick rumors going to NFC South team. You do NOT want to face his D twice a season.

  69. Let em bake Says:

    Joe, the master of creating a title sure to illicit hits. Well done. My question to Joebucsfan: how much increase in traffic to the site this year ( the baker effect) as opposed to last season? Thx

  70. Kidfloflo Says:

    Well I can think of a $million reasons Baker wants and will play! U think that dude will let that payday slide with his backup playing!?? No way

  71. Conner50 Says:

    You haven’t seen Trask play a whole regular season game but yet you say he will not win it if he plays. You also said he don’t have enough nfl experience, well this is where you get it. Never gonna see what the guy has if you don’t play him, and you don’t pick a qb in the 2nd round to never play him. He also stepped in at Florida when Franks went down and took his job for good, lit up the stat sheet and was a solid qb all around in college.

  72. Red Skeleton Says:

    NE Fan is just upset because the Bucs have done better post Brady than NE has!