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Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield reflects on Panthers stint

Admin By Admin Nov29,2023

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield spoke with reporters Wednesday about last season’s brief stint with the Carolina Panthers ahead of this coming Sunday’s showdown between the 1-10 Panthers and 4-7 Buccaneers at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Mayfield explained, as shared by the Buccaneers’ website. “God [has] got a plan. I got to meet some great teammates there and some great support staff, as well, 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 later fired head coach Matt Rhule following a 1-4 start to the campaign while Mayfield failed to cement himself as a starter before the Panthers released him in December. 

In total, Mayfield tossed six touchdown passes and six interceptions in seven games with the Panthers. He completed only 57.8% of 206 pass attempts in that stretch. He closed the season with the Los Angeles Rams and then signed with Tampa Bay this past March. 

“It was a fresh start for me,” Mayfield added about his time in Carolina. “Obviously, it didn’t pan out the way I envisioned it, but everything happens for a reason. I’m here now and I expect to have a good game against some familiar faces. It will be fun.”

History is repeating itself this fall, as Panthers owner David Tepper fired head coach Frank Reich this past Monday. Tepper named special teams coordinator Chris Tabor the club’s interim head coach for the remainder of the season. 

“Having been in that spot before, everybody rallies around it, honestly,” Mayfield said about facing an opponent shortly after it made a coaching change. “It’s one of those things that brings people together. I know (Tabor) very well. I was there with him last year – he’s a great guy, so I think he is going to have those guys fired up. At this point, they don’t have anything to lose, so they’re going to be playing 100%. We have to be ready for whatever they have.”

Despite their record, the Bucs only trail the 5-6 Atlanta Falcons and 5-6 New Orleans Saints by a game in the battle for first place in the NFC South. However, Tampa Bay has lost six of its past seven games and Mayfield is less than 100% due to the ankle injury he suffered in this past Sunday’s defeat at the Indianapolis Colts. 

According to ESPN stats, Mayfield enters Week 13 ranked 18th in the NFL among qualified players with a 53.0 adjusted QBR and 16th with a 91.6 passer rating on the season. He’s thrown 17 touchdown passes and seven interceptions across 11 games.  

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