Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) walks off the field after their game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Whether it’s fair or not, Baker Mayfield is going to be under the microscope, as the veteran quarterback will officially replace Tom Brady in Tampa Bay this Sunday. Joining the Buccaneers this past offseason, Mayfield is now on his fourth team in just over a year.

While the Buccaneers are gearing up for a season in one of the weakest divisions of football, many pundits are predicting that they won’t be the team that comes out of the NFC South. While others might have a different reaction, Mayfield believes that limited expectations and the narrative that “Tom’s gone and we suck” will create a “different hunger” in his teammates, especially those who are only a few years removed from a Super Bowl win.

“That’s fortunate for us because that makes our guys have a different type of motivation they might have not had recently,” Mayfield said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “It puts them into a different level of competition and trying to prove that our locker room is more than capable of keeping that success.”

However you may feel about Mayfield, he’s always embraced his underdog persona. While many might not view the former No. 1 overall pick as an “underdog,” per se, Mayfield’s career has taken a different trajectory after his time in Cleveland and is looking to prove himself yet again.

The Buccaneers’ expectations entering a Week 1 matchup against Minnesota are a little different than in years past, but that’s just the way Mayfield likes it. It remains to be seen, though, if he’s able to prove the critics wrong and lead Tampa Bay to a fourth consecutive playoff appearance.

“The key pieces that were a huge part of that Super Bowl run, and their success recently, they’re all still here,” Mayfield said.

[Tampa Bay Times via Pro Football Talk]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.