Baker Mayfield A Better Leader Than Eli Manning?

June 11th, 2024

New Bucs receiver Sterling Shepard.

As soon as new Bucs receiver Sterling Shepard started making bold statements about Baker Mayfield today, Joe began thinking about whom Shepard might be comparing to Mayfield.

Shepard (372 career catches) was drafted by the Giants in 2016 and spent his entire career there before the Bucs signed him last week.

That means Shepard played three full seasons with two-time, Super Bowl-winning Eli Manning as the starting quarterback. The Giants made the playoffs in his rookie season and got hammere by the Packers. Shepard had four catches in that game, all for first downs.

Now reunited with Mayfield, his college QB for a season at the University of Oklahoma, Shepard sounded like a man back with the QB he thinks is the greatest leader he’s been around.

“I loved playing with him in college. You know, he’s a guy that has a lot of energy and energy that you can feed off of. He wants to win games. He’s the ultimate competitor,” Shepard said of Mayfield.

“And he always plays with that chip on his shoulder. Like that’s one thing I’ve always noticed about Baker. And no matter what you say about him, he’s going to keep on pushing and doing him.”

Hey, if Mayfield is the ultimate competitor, then Manning has to be at least a quarter-notch below Mayfield on Shepard’s leadership scale. Right?

Head coach Todd Bowles admitted today that Mayfield had a hand in Shepard’s arrival. And Joe loves that aspect of the signing.

Man, how extra motivating it must be for rookie receiver Jalen McMillan and second-year guys Trey Palmer and “Rock” Jarrett to know they’re now battling against a guy the QB wants to make the team.

27 Responses to “Baker Mayfield A Better Leader Than Eli Manning?”

  1. JimBobBuc Says:

    Sure Bakes leadership and competitiveness are there. Let’s see if can improve deep ball throwing, 1Q slow starts, and audibles. I’m optimistic.

  2. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I truly hate it when we compare a player to another player. I’m guilty of it too.

    Baker Mayfield is his own guy. He’s Unique.

    I’m hoping for us that he does for the Bucs what Brees did for the Saints. I’m not saying he’ll be as good as Breez…but good enough to play very well for a decade.

    Sterling Shepard, on the other hand, I suspect may not even make the final roster.

  3. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    And if he fails…I hope Trask steps up to prove he is great. And if he fails, I hope the next guy does.

    Because, for once, I would like the Bucs to be truly set at QB.

  4. Oneilbuc Says:

    I think Baker is a better quarterback than what Elie Manning ever been but I know to some of y’all that means I hate Elie Manning.

  5. Bucsfan Says:

    Shepard has not impressed over the last 3 seasons. He had 57 yards for the season last year. Agree with Bonzai , Shepard is camp meat only.

  6. Boss Says:

    Eli was just someones younger brother. period.

  7. Irishmist Says:

    Eli was the anti Brady. He was the aw shucks Gomer Pyle kryptonite to Brady’s hyperintensity. But he’s the only person to beat Brady twice in the Super Bowl. Sometimes that leadership style works, because it relaxes your teammates and helps them play loose.

  8. J Says:

    If you’re in a room Eli Manning and Baker Mayfield I’m pretty sure you’d gravitate towards the guy that doesn’t talk like he has marbles in his mouth.

  9. CleanHouse Says:

    Go win two super bowls- some of the stuff you guys come up with is just whacky

  10. Fred McNeil Says:

    Eli didn’t strike me as a very excitable guy.

  11. Bobby M. Says:

    Baker reminds me of Jeff Garcia….both were relatively smaller QBs but feisty and solid arms. Well liked by teammates and coaches, very effective but there is a bit of a limited ceiling.

  12. EternalSon Says:

    Joes, love the content.

    Part of why the world is messy is mischaracterization of information. Twisting of words, new speak kinda stuff too. Lots of grimy stuff that takes advantage of the beautiful simplicity and naivety of the everyday person.
    Anyways… bait for click titles are pretty unbecoming of the hard work you do, and you rep the average Joe.

    Get real brother. It’s a pattern and I’m saying it. Joe would counter by saying, ‘Get real, brother. You’ve been poisoned by other media and the climate at large.’ Joe takes note when a guy who played for a historic quarterback, a relentless warrior who also battled media attacks constantly, calls Mayfield the “ultimate competitor. Joe’s not about to censor thoughts to conform to a playbook that doesn’t exist. –Joe

    That said, thanks for the superior Bucs coverage you all provide. Hi Ira!

    Go Bucs!!

  13. SlyPirate Says:

    DISSING ELI? Hmmm, IDK …
    If you’re going to hate on Eli, I don’t think it’s with a Baker comparison. Eli wasn’t known as an amazing leader but he’s a rock solid QB. Eli has the goods …

    2 Super Bowl Rings
    2 Super Bowl MVPs

    Only 3 players in NFL history have more SB MVPs than Eli – Mahomes (3), TB12 (5), Montana (3). If you earn respect, then put some respect on the name.

    Baker might be a better leader but he doesn’t have Eli’s resume.

  14. ModHairKen Says:

    I don’t care what players think about esoteric BS like “leadership,“ it’s about rings. Baker has a college ring. Eli has two SB rings, including against an undefeated Patriots team.

    Eli. By a mile.

  15. D Cone Says:

    Ability to work 16 seasons in a tough NY Market speaks volumes. Ask Daniel Jones.
    12th all time in Game Winning Drives and one for sure was a Super Bowl. Was the left guard doing the leading?

    This new guy needs to do a certain amount of sucking to make the team. Suck away it’s Pride Month.

    A real leader will get at least one first down when it’s crunch time. Not a 5 yard out and a 13 yard INT.

    Today alone it’s been Mayfield=Jackson, he’s on a Drew Brees Career Trajectory and a better leader than Eli.

    Ya’ll been smoking’ with Gregory all day?

  16. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    LOL I think one thing is clear. How doesn’t believe in jinxes.

  17. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    Joe doesn’t – damn typo lol

  18. WyomingJoe Says:

    Couldn’t resist coming back one more time before training camp. Can’t believe some of the haters on this site who believe that Baker is anywhere near his ceiling. You guys are really funny …

  19. Gipper Says:

    Bobby M says Baker reminds him of Jeff Garcia
    That’s ok, I guess everyone reminds someone of somebody. In fact, the two aren’t remotely similar. Baker has a howitzer for an arm and is considered the best college QB in this century. Baker is poised to have a great season. He is going to need to because the Bucs defense will be soft again this year. This defense is prone to giving up big chunks of time via long drives to opponents. This will limit Tampa offensive possessions. Baker will settle in an be a successful Bucs QB for many years.

  20. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Baker isn’t close to his ceiling because he’s too short to reach it. 🤣 OHEMGEE another cheerleader saying Baker is the greatest college qb ever. Son grow up this is the NFL not college and he sure isn’t the greatest professional qb ever, not by a long shot. You Maker Bayfield fanbois agenda is redunkulous

  21. BucEmUp Says:

    Maturity comes with age. Some guys need to learn it later than others. I see Baker with his nose to the grindstone more than ever in his career. He’s ascending and I’m glad Licht plucked him up. Wont be upset watching him stay a Buc, as long as he continues to work hard he will get better.

  22. ^^mtn^^ Says:

    Eli isn’t exactly ‘Mr Personality’

  23. heyjude Says:

    Sterling isn’t afraid to say what he is thinking. I like him, but sometimes reeling it in is best. I respect Eli and Baker on the field and really don’t see a comparison at this time. Eli played from 2004-2019 and many rules have changed too. Baker has played 2018-2023. Hard to compare both at this time. And a lot has to do with the team surrounding you too. We are lucky to have Baker and his stats will improve even more this season. Looking forward to it.

    DavidBigBucsFan99 mentioned Baker’s height. His height is 6’1″. Bryce Young 5’10”. Russell Wilson 5’11”. Drew Brees was 6′. Patrick Mahomes 6’2″. Dak Prescott 6’2″. Doug Williams 5’11”. Doug Flutie 5’10”. All QB heights have their advantages and disadvantages. I never heard anyone make fun of these other players heights which are closely aligned with Baker’s. Watch and see this season. This will be Baker’s best year yet.

  24. Dude Says:

    ” I never heard anyone make fun of these other players heights which are closely aligned with Baker’s.”


    You ever see a pitcher stand tall on the mound waiting for a call? and realize once he gets to then end of his throwing motion he’s at a different leverage point i.e. his height at his release point isn’t what it is when he’s standing up right? That’s why Mayfields’ height gets criqitued because by time his the call is brought back to be thrown forward, he’s 6’1 standing still but <5'11 at the point of his release and could explain his career long issue with passes batted at the line.

    Naturally there's nothing he can do about his height, but mechanically he can certainly improve on tightening his base up to have a more stable platform to deliver passes from which could help with his field of vision and actually take better advantage of maintaining the velocity on his longer passes.

  25. heyjude Says:

    Point well taken, Dude.

    Respectfully this isn’t baseball though. Agreed, there is improvement to be made. It’s Baker’s 2nd season with us, and he is probably working on all that you mentioned.

    Talking about field of vision –
    I remember being excited when we drafted Jameis Winston. And then it seemed at 6’4″ he looked like a deer in headlights looking down the field too many times. However, he then had laser surgery and am unsure that helped. Some said it was his mechanics. Ironically he is on the Browns now.

  26. BillyBucco Says:

    Why does Sheppard calling Baker the Ultimate Competitor mean Eli is not ALSO?
    That’s the angle I sometimes have a problem with on this site. IMO, way to much of a deep dive into EXACTLY what someone is saying. Other times it seems hard to take someone AT there word when what they are saying is obvious.

  27. JK Says:

    The Eli slander is as ridiculous as Mayfield slander. Eli was great…..Bake has a chance still