July 5th, 2024

Start of something special?

A paid NFL observer has a hunch Baker Mayfield regresses this year. That’s OK. Mayfield had a career year. Even 10 yards less is a regression.

However, the Bucs have someone that will make up for whatever step back Mayfield may have, per Eric Edholm of NFL.com. He picked each team’s MVP and is pretty convinced that whatever snag the offense hits, the Bucs defense can and may make up for it. Why? Because the Bucs’ best player resides on defense, he typed. And his name is “Antoine Winfield.”

… I’m not predicting a big downturn or anything, but it’s not going to be easy to reach the same plateau Tampa Bay hit by the end of last season, especially with Dave Canales jumping ship to Carolina.

Instead, I’m putting my money behind the Bucs’ most consistent impact player in Winfield, who somehow remains underrated in spite of being an NFL legacy and having turned in a brilliant first four seasons. Are we witnessing the start of a Hall of Fame career? I don’t say that lightly. The highest-paid safety in the league, Winfield has 15 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, eight recoveries and seven interceptions in his career, and he has an innate knack for making the timeliest of plays when the Bucs need them most. A special young player in the midst of stardom.

Yes, Winfield has had a tremendous start to his career, capped off by an All-Pro season last year. If Winfield keeps up the game-changing, game-saving plays like he made at Carolina last year to help the Bucs clinch a playoff spot and division title, he might become a potential Hall of Famer.

Although it is way, way early, Winfield may not be the only young Bucs player with a Hall of Fame start. Tristan Wirfs is on the same track.

(This is one reason, though not the main reason, Joe wanted Wirfs staying at right tackle. He was definitely putting together a Hall of Fame career over there.)

When the Bucs drafted Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in 1995, that was one of the great drafts by a team in NFL history. If everything falls right, someday Wirfs and Winfield might just rival that draft.

19 Responses to ““MVP… MVP… MVP!””

  1. Permanently Moderated Says:

    It’s a beautiful thing. 😁

  2. BA’s Red Pen Says:


  3. Dude Says:

    Remember when Ronde switched to safety the last season of his career? Winfield feels like a continuation of that, but much younger and fill the step sheet up like Ronde & Winfield Sr.

  4. Fan of the South Says:

    Winfield did a nice job at stripping the ball in 2023. Better believe ball carriers will be sure to get both hands on the ball once in the Tampa secondary. Winfield may end up with 50% less in that department this season.

    Fortunately the player with the 12th most fumbles in the league last season has a less that 50% lost fumble rate for his career.

    If both go a few in the wrong direction that Plus 8 turnover differential last season could disappear.

    Eight extra possession could make or break a team in a close race.

    With some luck the Interceptions could go up with Buc additions and the increased play time/experience for younger defenders.

    Bowles might soften on the Running Game but he will always be Stressing Defensive Takeaways.

  5. Dave Pear Says:

    Finally an internet scribe who has a partially good write-up. Edholm characterizes Winfield as well as anyone has.

    But Mayfield isn’t regressing, if you care about yards, touchdowns and wins. Those are all going up.


  6. Baking with Evans Says:


  7. unbelievable Says:

    He really has made a number of game-saving plays in his career… starting his rookie year vs the Giants, last year against the Panthers and Falcons, and prob a few others I’m forgetting.

  8. Bakerfan Says:

    It is not Mayfield that has more to prove it is Coen. The press has anointed Canales offensive genius whose shoes can’t be filled. They are wrong on all accounts. Wrong on Mayfield, wrong on Coen and especially wrong on Canales

  9. TampabayDJ Says:

    I don’t believe ol Dave in Carolina is the reason why our Bucs were winners last year. I think he’s the reason they were losing , and Mayfield and others took it upon themselves to get the right plays called and executed. Go Bucs

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “A paid NFL observer has a hunch Baker Mayfield regresses this year. That’s OK. Mayfield had a career year.” – Joe

    Baker Mayfield was horrible most of the year last year. A career year for him was a low bar to reach!

    if he regresses this year, he should be released or benched, because he was constantly up and down last year. This year, he’s got no excuses. The oline if fixed. He still has top receivers.

    Dave being gone is barely anything. Personally, I think our new OC should be much better.

    If Baker regresses…it would be a huge red flag.

    I do not think he will regress though.

  11. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    That was a great draft. No super bowl without it.

  12. A Bucs Fan Says:

    8 Int season incoming.

  13. LouisFriend Says:

    This team will always come down to the defense while Bowles is head coach. The Bucs were 6-1 last season when they won the turnover battle, and 4-7 when it turnover margin was even or against them.

    Winfield’s impact literally changed the outcome of games in 2023 – more than any other player on the team besides Baker Mayfield’s ability to avoid turnovers.

    Whether or not the Bucs make the playoffs again has more to do with him than a running game, Mike Evans or Liam Coen’s new offense.

  14. ATLBUC Says:

    I think he will have more interceptions this year. With Whitehead back, Winfield will be able to play more freely.

  15. garro Says:

    It is not a huge secret that AWJ is good. Yet another ill informed write up…

    What most of these so called journalists don’t bother to do is find out how good the other dudes on this team are and how much better they can get. Predicting this and predicting that without so much as actually doing anything more than some casual 10 minute research is almost criminal.

    Giving Canales so much credit by stating that our team will suffer without him? Didn’t do his homework! With a proper play-caller we can be so much better!

    That can also make our man Baker much much better. Not to mention the addition of some pretty stout offensive linemen. Mauch and Barton should make Bakers job much much easier this year. Coen should be considered an upgrade over Canales in my book.

    I hope Coen puts that one on his “bulletin board”!

    Go Bucs!

  16. heyjude Says:

    garro – Well said. Also agree with Bakerfan, TampaBayDJ, and others.

    I liked Canales and would have supported him if he stayed, but it wasn’t perfect at all. We need a strong play-caller and I am all in on Coen and our roster. Thinking too that Bowles gave Canales free reign with offense last season and will do the same this season with Coen. We will witness the difference in a good way. Can’t wait!

  17. SenileSenior Says:

    Yes, I for one expect Baker Mayfield to play well more consistently this year. He will have a better group overall surrounding him.

    Go Bucs!

  18. Gipper Says:

    Baker will be 2024 Bucs MVP. He is heading into middle years of career and trajectory from here will be straight up. This is the year with a little more time he will show how accurate he really is. Expect great things this year with improvement in play calling and OLine.

  19. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    I doubt Mayfield regresses. Pretty sure Coen has a plan to bring out his best; probably not a bunch more than last year, but more. I expect red zone efficiency to go up, the Rams were very efficient before the OLine was made up of street agents and guys in their mid 30’s. Godwin and Durham are going to thrive, Coen knows how to use misdirection and gaps better than Canales did, and he loves loves loves attacking the middle