Baker Mayfield Identifies “Our Problem All Year”

February 9th, 2024

It sounds a little to Joe like Baker Mayfield thinks the Bucs might have ugraded at offensive coordinator.

Sure, Mayfield liked departed playcaller Dave Canales and called him “the most positive person I’ve ever been around.” Canales didn’t have a good offense overall, but it was good at the end of the season.

However, new Bucs offensive coordinator Liam Coen explained this week that offensive players he’s talked to want more input (translation: Mayfield). Then Mayfield, patrolling media row at the Super Bowl, told Chris “Mad Dog” Russo that the Bucs struggled with slow starts on offense all season.

Interestingly, Mayfield didn’t issue a counterpoint to Russo tell him Bucs playcalling was too conservative early against the Lions in the playoffs.

“You always look back at a handful of plays, but we didn’t start fast. And that was kind of our problem all year. What was not starting fast would take us getting into a two-minute offense mode of tempo to get going,” Mayfield said on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio.

“And so guys were like, ‘Alright, let’s just do the little things right.’ And when you’re calling a two-minute offense, you’re not dialing anything up. It’s just basic plays that you do every single day. So just executing. And that’s what we realized and got ourselves back in the game.”

New Bucs offensive coordinator Liam Coen talked about use of tempo and being an upredictable offense via tempo during his introductory news conference.

Perhaps Coen has the tonic to jump start the Bucs earlier in games than they were this season. Remember, the Bucs did not score an opening-drive touchdown in the regular season.

73 Responses to “Baker Mayfield Identifies “Our Problem All Year””

  1. Capt Kidd Says:

    I’m on board that we’ve upgraded. I liked Canales but his play calling was atrocious until we got behind.

  2. Tony marks Says:

    said it months ago. If you are always extolling how smart your QB is – use it. the hurry up offense and audbiles are how thats done. Of all the things Coen said my ears perked up the most when he talked of going into no huddle – not because you are down but as a way of keeping the defense surprised.

    Offense always looked better in uptempo.

  3. lambchop Says:

    The idea if tempo is important. Yesterday on my drive home from dinner, I was listening to Colin Cowherd interviewing Drew Brees and that is exactly what Drew was talking about when he mentioned Sean Payton’s style of offense. His offense was about tempo and putting the pressure on defenses which was his hallmark style. Translation: Stop running up the middle on first all the time when it’s obviously not catching anyone off guard. I hope this offense is more dynamic under Liam.

  4. lambchop Says:

    The idea of tempo is also exactly how BA ran this offense. No riskit, no biscuit. I wish we could go back to that style of offense.

  5. Beeej Says:

    I remember the 1970s dolphins and Bob Griese. His typical game would be like 10 out of 16 for 143 yards, you can’t do that anymore.

  6. BillyBucco Says:

    Well hopefully Coen and Co. start the year out doing something other than targeting Ko Kieft on 2 of the 1st 3 passes. I thought we might be in trouble after witnessing that, like they were going to completely catch them off guard.
    IMO Canales tried to get too cute too often.
    We might seriously look back and say Mayfield made Canales, not the other way around.
    What I like so far:
    1. Plays on a Can. Front and back and 2 plays every down. Audible to the correct play.
    2. Motion for real. Not just Chris Godwin lollygagging across the formation.
    3 Up Tempo as mentioned here. Especially after a big gain.
    4. If you wanna run the ball, you gotta get tougher. That speaks to the IOL more than White, but White is NOT exempt. You can tell when he is running “tough”!!

  7. BillyBucco Says:

    Wanted to add that not scoring a TD on the opening drive all year is ridiculous.
    Think about the saying even a blind squirrel finds a nut and apply that to football.
    You would think we would have scored by mistake.
    It was almost like Canales was trying NOT to score.
    Early in the year he admitted that when they get close to the red zone, he got antsy to throw ME13 and CG14 TDs.
    That evidently didn’t change all year, just substituted different players.
    And Godwin had what 1 receiving TD all year.
    Then Coen says he envisions Godwin having a big year in the slot, which is almost identical to what BA said coming in.
    I’m definitely a believer that this team will look different this year.

  8. BucaneroJim Says:

    @ Beeej

    Yep, days of old… Griese had Mercury Morris, something the Mayfield and the Bucs could use.

  9. Marine Buc Says:

    In the NFL if you are going to be predictable you better have perfect execution.

    This team isn’t good enough to be predictable.

  10. A Bucs Fan Says:

    We’ll find out this fall but after looking at Kentucky’s offense with Liam at the helm…. Depending if they bring Mike back or not the Bucs could be more than just a little better. They may be a top 10 offense.

  11. Jack Clark Says:

    Our problem all last year was the TERRIBLE run blocking and TERRIBLE play calling wasting our first and second downs running it up the middle!

  12. Buddha Says:

    Definitely an upgrade! Canales will be in over his head.

  13. BucaneroJim Says:

    Same problem in 2022 and 2023 – often slow starts and looking for Brady/Mayfield to go up tempo and save the game.

  14. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Careful, Tepper might read this and fire Canales

  15. HC Grover Says:

    Now da Panters can start slow.

  16. adam from ny Says:

    i think canales sort of took pride in his thompkins wide receiver sweep, as if it was like some majorly creative play that captures teams off balance…

    yet he used it so often, (1-2 times a game), where the defenses already had full preparation for it, and no one was ever really caught off guard…

    i don’t exactly think we’re going to miss canales that much – but i do think people were not happy with his style of exit

  17. Tony marks Says:


    On the Dan atrick show baker was asked if he woudl share his contract money with Mike to get him back

    interesting answer: sacrifices will be made and that it was mutually benefitting.

    It ambiguous but shows its on Baker’s radar.

    So maybe we will see a Bakker and Mike uptemo game on the regular next year

  18. Aceofaerospace Says:

    That last line says it all Joe. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, we never scored an opening drive touchdown, to include 2 playoff games. It has to get better.

  19. Chief Says:

    I definitely thought we should play with tempo more throughout the season. Our first halves were mediocre to bad most games. It wasn’t until right before half that we would score a touchdown more often than not it seemed.

    Plus, Baker is a natural in an uptempo offense. It doesn’t have to be lightning fast, but fast enough they can’t substitute and we’ll be a very good offense. Love hearing Godwin in the slot. That’s where he put up his best stats this year.

    I never understood why Canales didn’t make these two moves a permanent part of the offense. And the running up the middle on 1st and 2nd downs killed our offense. Especially if we had a penalty.

    It is quite conceivable that Baker made Canales look like more than he really is. If so, and we resign Baker, we may have hit the jackpot and not even realized it.

    Go Bucs!

  20. Boss Says:

    all you ladies blaming canales……

    I remember some pretty big drops with nothing but endzone in the view…..

    in general though the play calling followed the same tone as the previous year under lefty. run 1st & 2nd down and pray on 3rd. I can’t put that on canales. I think it came from lovie……if anything canales worked his a$$ off to get creative with the limitations given to him.

    the turtled up all the time and then went deep occassionally to the OG turtle himself who drops the ball.

    BUT HE PUT UP 125 YARDS AND 2 TD’S…….in garbage time as we lost.

    The O started slow because they never did the unexpected. they rarely did, but also rarely executed it. lol

  21. Woodenman Says:

    Nobody cares what you have to say Boss!

  22. D Cone Says:

    Doesn’t matter whether you get down the field in 2 minutes or 6 minutes. If you are 27th in the league in TD efficiency in the Red Zone all you are doing is compiling stats. If a guy is expecting 30+ million a year he really should be better at doing his job.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    I don’t know — the coaches gave Baker the ball with 2 minutes left and the game on the line. Seems like they did their job.

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    D Cone – Baker was 20th in points scored, while the defense was 7th in points allowed.

    You win games by scoring more points than your opponent, not by talking about the 2nd down win percentage in the 3rd quarter of games when trailing by 3-7 points on the road in the red zone.

  25. Dave Pear Says:

    BillyBucco has. Great take. Well played.

  26. Gene Says:

    I think Boss has a point here really, not that I am unhappy about Coen or anything, I think he’ll be great. Canales, by and large was pretty darn good on the play calls last season…better execution is called for. I just take it simply, as it is: If you’re a 10 win team in a 18 week season and you lose 6 games by one score and you drop 5-6 passes in each, fail to run block effectively 75% of the time, fail to pick off a ball you could’ve had in each on average, and blow the coverage at least 3-4 times a game, then you should have been a 16 win team but you didn’t execute, as a team and it needs to be fixed…it can’t be blamed on the OC. At 10 picks this year, Baker was too 3 among the top ten QBs which is a miracle considering how much the BUCS had to throw and how not open the receivers often were; Baker played great. No one is perfect all the time but some personnel changes are in order, a few, and some of the mistakes need to be cleaned up…the players know it already and have been saying it all year.

  27. TonySoprano Says:

    Not scoring a single TD on the first drive is a huge indictment against Canales as a playcaller. Those ‘first 15 scripted plays’ are what an OC spends all week designing, based on film study and what he sees in the opposing defense. The remainder of the game is about adjusting.

    To see Canales couldn’t devise a single successful first 15 plays is straight up awful. Good luck with your new batsh*t owner and 5’4 QB, Canales.

  28. Tony marks Says:

    D Cone Says:
    If you are 27th in the league in TD efficiency in the Red Zone all you are doing is compiling stats. If a guy is expecting 30+ million a year he really should be better at doing his job.

    Rubbish. part of that stat reflects on your running game because a healthy amount of your conversions in the red zone should be through punchiing it in. Making that a QB only stats is silly.

    In fact that was a HUGE problem with the offense. How many times with 3rd and goal on the 2 and 3 yard line did we have to throw the ball? A good chunk for those of us who watched games.

    That shoudl not be the case . Thats where the run game takes over

  29. Gene Says:

    With that said, the idea of adding tempo is obviously useful. It’s not a groundbreaking concept, many teams already live there, and it certainly helps against the defense…especially as the game goes on.

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    D Cone … You got me curious with that TD efficiency in Red Zone number. Pro Football Reference ranks Bucs at #30 in Red Zone TD Percentage at 44.9% (Giants were #31 at 44.2% and the Jets were #32 at 32.4%).

    Interesting stat because our 3rd down conversion percentage was 41.5% (tied for #10 with the Lions) and our 4th down conversion percentage was 66.7% (solidly ranked as #2 in the NFL). Looks to me like what screwed us is that we couldn’t punch the ball in via rushing (Bucs only had 8 rushing TDs to rank #29, while we had 28 passing TDs to rank tied for #8).

    Need to get better at run blocking AND grab a bruiser in the mold of Mike Alstott who can punch it in on short yardage situations.

  31. TonySoprano Says:

    Not scoring a single TD on the first drive is a huge indictment against Canales as a playcaller. Those ‘first 15 scripted plays’ are what an OC spends all week designing, based on film study and what he sees in the opposing defense. The remainder of the game is about adjusting.

    To see Canales couldn’t devise a single successful first 15 plays is downright awful. Good luck with your new insane owner and 5’4 QB, Canales.

  32. Tony marks Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    February 9th, 2024 at 5:51 pm
    D Cone – Baker was 20th in points scored,

    Like I say If he be typing he be Pinnochio 🙂

    BaKer was top ten in QB scoring ( known as Passign TDs).

    Qbs are not responsible for rushing TDs and feild goals. Welcome to the NFL !! YOu will pick up the game the more you watch.

  33. Tony marks Says:

    Defense Rules Says:
    Looks to me like what screwed us is that we couldn’t punch the ball in via rushing


    DIng! to the Ding! At least one other person here can think analytically.

  34. Allen Lofton Says:

    Baker Mayfield was in the best position as a Quarterback to see Canales was pretty conservative in play calling especially in the first quarter or so. The Bucs found themselves playing from behind late into the second quarter.

    With a conservative Defensive HC like TB, who wanted a balanced attack of running first, made the Bucs too predictable.

    I think that’s about to change with Lian Coen, who wants to have an unpredictable balance attack. This could make Baker and offense more special.

  35. Marky Mark Says:

    I hope everyone does well but i really think Baker made Canoles look good not the other way round. I suspect the Panters may struggle with tiny 5″8′ Bryce. I had been saying all year Baker excels in the 2 minute drill. Do it early and often.

  36. Popcorn Mike Says:

    Let’s not us forget, Canales had not call a single no where, college or the NFL. For the first 4 to 6 weeks of the season Canales was learning and what I call experimenting with plays calls, what works what doesn’t. With Coen to me, he already know what he’s gonna do as a play caller and who he’s gonna do it with

  37. Dave Pear Says:

    It’s Bowels’ personality. Bowels defense almost always seemed to give up an opening score. The “slow start” mentality. Lull them into a false sense of security, then hit them with zone bust and cover zero receivers defense in the 4th quarter.

    If the head coach really put a priority in starting fast it would have happened, or he’s not a head coach.

  38. Bobby M. Says:

    Was never impressed with Canales, he was certainly better than Leftwich but the slow starts all year, barely beating Carolina when the offense should have been humming, predictable runs, no ability to scheme anything for Godwin in the slot.….Canales wasn’t as polished as our new OC.

  39. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Definite upgrade over a 8 game learning curve

  40. TonySoprano Says:

    Cool once again my post was deleted, even though I said nothing offensive. Joe – instead of complaining about always having to moderate this site, maybe post what content isn’t allowed. Apparently saying negative things about past coaching staff isn’t a one of those things

  41. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    Will Bowles let Coen run no-huddle or hurry up in a game not in the last 2 minutes of the half though?

  42. Let em Bake Says:

    If the Bucs want to emulate the Rams offensively, they have to get more out the run game. Perhaps a diamond in the rough can be found in round 2 of the draft

  43. Danfan Says:

    Rodmunch, you’re happy to say Mike Evans makes any QB look good, however when it comes to the points the offense scored, you say its Baker who was 20th ranked. Its transparent, no need to try to pretend you’re a bit balanced.

    The proof will be in the pudding if Evans leaves and Baker stays next season, but I suspect its a combination of new OC and new QB, injuries to O line, and last in the league run game that made the offense look inconsistent and anemic at times.

  44. RBUC Says:

    No just a top 2 RB in this draft Trey Benson

  45. Tony marks Says:

    Danfan Says:

    The proof will be in the pudding if Evans leaves and Baker stays next season,


    The proof is alread in DF. Baker is ranked top ten in touchdowns

    When your Qb is top ten in passing touchdwons and the team is 20 in points thats due to the fact that other teams are scoring more on the ground with their running game

    No genius to figure that one out but Rod has never been known for being among quick studies.

  46. SB~LV Says:


  47. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Unless we get a bad ass center, and our TEs learn to block like Gronk, this offense will remain deficient.

  48. JimBobBuc Says:

    I think the Bucs as a whole were slow starters. The defense seemed to give up too much yardage or a score on the opening series. WTH, why can’t Bowels game plan a better opening defense? Was he so concerned about giving up a deep ball?

    On the offense, I thought that Baker and Evans both started slow. Baker seemed really amped up and overthrew receivers in the first couple series of the game, especially early in the year. Later in the year, he did better. To me, it seemed that Evans’ drops happened early in games, especially on long balls that should have been TD’s. It seems like his concentration wasn’t there.

    A couple, not just one, analysts on the TV coverage said that red zone success is driven by run game success. Maybe that’s true and maybe that explains our poor success. However, I think we didn’t have any imaginative play calls for the red zone compared to other teams. I don’t remember too many pick routes. Also, I wonder if Bowels, Canales, and Baker were thinking negatively, like don’t turn the ball over and just kick a field goal.

  49. Shane Callahan Says:

    Robbie, you’re ignorant. Baker hit the nail right on the head!

  50. Dave Pear Says:

    People. The slow starts are a reflection of the head coach. It’s not just the offense. It’s the whole team.

  51. Esteban85 Says:

    I honestly think Mayfield got too jacked up for games and wasn’t accurate early on. We all know the man runs hot and gets hype for these games, and I saw throw after throw get skied early on. I don’t think Baker really settles into a game until he gets hit in the mouth, then he knows it’s a fight and settles into a battle. I could be way off but I do remember a lot of passes getting over thrown early on in games

  52. Defense Rules Says:

    Dave Pear … ‘The slow starts are a reflection of the head coach. It’s not just the offense. It’s the whole team.’

    We all get it Dave, you don’t like Todd Bowles. Whoopee. You’ve apparently got lots of company in JBF World. Just for kicks though, why don’t you try actually doing a little research BEFORE making statements like that?

    Last season the Bucs were AHEAD or TIED at the half in 13 of the 19 games we played. That means that in over two-thirds of our games our Bucs started better than our opponents or were doing at least as good as they were at the half. In actuality I’d say that most of our problem revolved around our very low TD percentage once we hit the Red Zone (ranked #30). Had we done better there & punched it in instead of settling for FGs, we could’ve probably ended up 11-6 or maybe 12-5.

    But then again, you could say the same thing about turnovers. We lost to the Saints & Lions because we turned the ball over 6 times to their 0 turnovers. Somehow I don’t think that Todd Bowles or Dave Canales planned it that way. Sh1t happens.

  53. MomBucsFan Says:

    @defense rules Amen! Mike Alstott.type for sure! With that approach in the red zone we can really improve our performance! Great discussion by all! I am already looking forward to the 2024 season!

  54. Pickgrin Says:

    BucaneroJim Says:

    Yep, days of old… Griese had Mercury Morris, something the Mayfield and the Bucs could use.

    Forget Morris – Gimme Larry Csonka!!!

  55. steele Says:

    What you’re hearing are all symptoms of the fact that Canales was inexperienced as an OC, and also the fact that Bowles is the HC, and the roster was the roster. It wasn’t any one thing. Canales mixed up too-cute trick plays (that he resorted to predictably, which made them untricky) with “establish the run”, which Bowles also loves. Establishing the run when you don’t have a great OL, and your lead back is Rachaad means you don’t do it well. Then you add Baker, with all of his up and down.

    The entire thing didn’t work until some things were sorted out at the end of the season, against teams that were vulnerable or on the downside (but that resulted in them being fired up=momentum).

    Given that he is a more legit OC, Coen has the opportunity to take a mess and clean it up, if Bowles doesn’t otherwise get in the way. Total crapshoot.

    We are right back where we were a year ago.

  56. Jonzee Says:

    I think we all saw and concur with Baker… This was my weekly frustrationwith the roller coaster play call by Canalas. We will push the tempo we were hell to deal with. If we stayed on the gas we would have beat the Lions by 14. I also love our match up against San Francisco… I really thought we’d be playing on Superbowl Sunday….

  57. Dave Pear Says:

    DR – I don’t dislike Todd Bowels.

    Fact – his teams start slow on both sides of the ball – Fact.


    You’re a fact dude. You also take 9,345 words to make a point.


    Be offended.

  58. Dave Pear Says:

    Sorry, meant to include – this is on first drives, DR. As in, we don’t score a TD ever on first drive and the opponent almost scores a FG or TD on first drive.


    Now write some War and Peace stuff about research and stats.

  59. Defense Rules Says:

    Dave Pear … Not offended at all. Got a simple solution for you: don’t read those 9,345 words. It’s a lot easier than easting your time counting 9,345 words.

  60. stpetebucfan Says:

    @Bucaneer and Beej

    @ Beeej

    Yep, days of old… Griese had Mercury Morris, something the Mayfield and the Bucs could use.

    I agree with both of these observations with ONE important caveat. Morris was great, and while White is not, he is good at filling the Mercury Morris role.

    What the Bucs do not have is a Larry Csonka!!! Or a Mike Alstott. Aside from Derrick Henry who fills that position in the NFL anymore?

    In fact has a true beast smashmouth RB become a dinosaur in today’s NFL.
    Just askin’ not stating.

  61. K_bassuka Says:

    Yeah Joe, let’s overlook the countless over/under thrown balls on wide arse open receivers by Maybefield including a pick on a busted coverage in Chicago, but let’s blame playcalling 👍🏽.

  62. Beeej Says:

    I loved the balance we had with A-Train and Dunn, would love to have that again

  63. stpetebucfan Says:


    Yeah those were the days eh. We have the guy who can catch out of the backfield now draft a great running RB…like Corum or someone else. In honesty I’m not a huge fan of College football, I don’t even know who started at RB for the Noles, Gators or Bulls.

    But I did see Michigan several times this year, mainly their big games against Ohio State and of course the National Title game against Bama.

    Corum’s run in that game was truly sick and it was against a Nick Saban defense stocked with the best athletes in the game.

  64. Beeej Says:

    D.R. prolly knows this–what % of series GETS to third down? I bet the Bucs were worst in the league at that in the first half

  65. Dave Pear Says:

    DR – I have a solution for you, too. Simply don’t call on me.

  66. Dave Pear Says:

    PS – Bowels’ teams are notorious slow starters on both sides of the ball. Fact.

  67. Wes Hall Says:

    We’ll see. Gotta have sum pieces to the puzzle. Then put them together with harmony and ass kicking motivation.

  68. Badbucs Says:

    Dave Pear – don’t go away mad, just go away. DR is one of the best posters on this site. Facts, stats and reasoned opinions. You have nothing. He can defend himself of course. Get a life

  69. BakerBucs Says:

    I can’t believe it but I agree with jack Clark that is a 1st for me that I can recall no joke I think he has turned the corner

  70. BakerBucs Says:

    St Petebucsfan sorry but Michigan didn’t play bama in the title game Washington did u were rite u don’t know much bout college me either but I new that much

  71. It's Corn Says:

    I would be very curious where the Bucs rank on 1st down percentage on 1st and 2nd down before having to go to third down.

    2nd and 10, run a play that is going to get 4 yards. So then you have 3rd and 6, if you are lucky. Being content with having to face 3rd and long was the biggest problem, and that’s the OC and HC setting that tone/strategy.

  72. Whodat Says:

    Stpetebucfan, I can’t imagine where you saw the national title game but the one I saw had Michigan playing Washington. Yeah you’re a real observant football analyst type. Lol

  73. Rat Pack Sports Says:

    So we just gonna ignore the fact that the QB all season long refused to check down the football. Or missed mide open guy countless amounts of times to force a deeper throw. Or held onto the ball and took bad sacks? He wants to talk about a slow starting offense? Stats can tell a lie but the tape tells the truth. Baker up until December was just as inconsistent.. 4-7