Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield reflects on Panthers stint
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield spoke to reporters Wednesday about last season’s brief stint with the Carolina Panthers ahead of next Sunday’s showdown between the 1-10 Panthers and the 4 Buccaneers -7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Mayfield said, as shared by the Buccaneers website. “God (has) a plan. I was able to meet great teammates and great support staff there, and I enjoyed it.”
The Cleveland Browns traded Mayfield to Carolina in July 2022 after Cleveland acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in March of that year. Carolina then fired head coach Matt Rhule after a 1-4 start to the campaign, while Mayfield failed to solidify himself as a starter before the Panthers released him in December.
In total, Mayfield has thrown six touchdown passes and six interceptions in seven games with the Panthers. He completed just 57.8 percent of 206 pass attempts during that stretch. He closed out the season with the Los Angeles Rams, then signed with Tampa Bay last March.
“It was a fresh start for me,” Mayfield added of his time in Carolina. “Obviously it didn’t go the way I thought it would, but everything happens for a reason. I’m here now and I’m expecting to have a good match against some familiar faces. It’ll be fun.”
History repeats itself this fall, as Panthers owner David Tepper fired head coach Frank Reich last Monday. Tepper named special teams coordinator Chris Tabor as the club’s interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
“I’ve been in this situation before, and honestly, everyone’s rooting for it,” Mayfield said of facing an opponent soon after a coaching change. “It’s one of those things that brings people together. I know (Tabor) really well. I was there with him last year – he’s a great guy, so I think he’s going to motivate these guys- there. At this point, they “
Despite their record, the Bucs trail the 5-6 Atlanta Falcons and 5-6 New Orleans Saints by just one game in the battle for first place in the NFC South. However, Tampa Bay has lost six of its last seven games and Mayfield is less than 100 percent due to the ankle injury he suffered in last Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
According to ESPN stats, Mayfield enters Week 13 ranked 18th in the NFL among qualified players with an adjusted QBR of 53.0 and 16th with a passer rating of 91.6 on the season. He threw 17 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 11 games.