Tom Brady’s retirement has left massive shoes to fill in Tampa Bay, but Bucs coach Todd Bowles is not expecting his next quarterback to match up with the seven-time Super Bowl winner.
Following the 45-year-old’s February retirement, Tampa Bay signed Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal worth up to $8.5million, while Kyle Trask will also have a chance to start after the team invested a 2021 second-round pick in him.
Regardless of who wins the quarterback battle, Bowles has clear expectations for the passer in this talented offense.
‘You don’t need to be the guy; you need to rely on the 10 guys around you,’ Bowles told reporters at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting in Phoenix.
‘You don’t need to be the guy. We are not looking for a guy to come in here and be Superman. We have great players, you have Mike Evans, you have Chris Godwin, you have Rachaad [White], you have Tristan [Wirfs], you have Ryan Jensen, you have Cade Otton coming; You have guys that you can play with and pieces, so you do not have to be the guy. You just really need to drive the car.’
Even with the legendary Brady, the Bucs struggled last season, going just 8-9 and getting dumped out of the playoffs in the first round by the Cowboys.
Nonetheless, Bowles seems comfortable starting Mayfield, who ended the season strong with the Rams after being released by the Panthers midseason.
‘Guys naturally gravitate towards him,’ Bowles said of Mayfield. ‘He has an excitement he brings towards the game and he’s hungry.
‘I can live with that right there. I liked him a couple years ago and that we’ve got him now with an opportunity to have a chance to start, I think that’s a good thing for us.’
For his part, Mayfield spoke about potentially succeeding Brady at his introductory press conference in Tampa.
Listen, I’m never going to be Tom Brady,’ Mayfield told reporters. ‘There’s a reason he’s won so many Super Bowls. He’s the greatest of all time.
‘There’s no doubt about that. I’m not going to try to be Tom. I’m going to be me. That’s what has gotten me to this point. We’re going to do it differently, but that’s what makes this league so special. Everybody puts their own touch on it.’
Bowles was also complimentary of Trask, who’s only 25 years old and has never made an NFL start.
‘Every time I look up and come in the office, he’s out there working by himself trying to get better,’ he told reporters.
Organized team activities (OTAs) will begin for all teams on May 23.