Chef Mayfield will have an interesting menu item prepared this week.
Will Levis lost his primetime debut, last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-16 (no shame in that defeat). Two weeks ago, Levis looked like the heir apparent to Steve McNair. Tennessee donned their beautiful Houston Oilers throwback jerseys while Levis lit the Atlanta Falcons on fire. Tennessee’s rookie passed for 238 yards and four touchdowns. His 130.5 rating caught eyes around the league and turned Tennessee into a storyline. On a short week against the Steelers, Will Levis predictably fell back to earth— 0 touchdowns, his first career interception, and a rating in the mid-sixties.
Regardless of what Levis did against Pittsburgh, this matchup is significant for Baker Mayfield.
The Bucs lost Tom Brady after last season. The entire talk of Tampa Bay’s offseason was centered around the quarterback position. The team had camps of people saying Tampa Bay should start Kyle Trask, other groups thought about the potential of a guy like Kyle Murray. Plenty of people were excited when the organization ultimately decided to bring in Baker Mayfield, however, a very large portion of fans were screaming that the Bucs needed to pick up a rookie quarterback. There was a good deal of draft analysts speculating Tampa Bay would be in the market for a young passer and since Tampa’s pick wasn’t until later in the first round many of those analysts pegged Will Levis as a likely candidate to get a call from Jason Licht on draft night.
The NFL Draft came and went, no quarterback was selected by the Bucs. Mock drafts had Tampa Bay opting for Levis with their first-round pick and the opportunity was there— The team passed him by. Will Levis didn’t get his welcome to the NFL call until round two.
On draft night, the Bucs stood pat. Jason Licht and co. (with their actions) said we would rather have Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Thanks, but no thanks.
Fast forward to November 12th, where Bucs’ fans will get to watch the head to head battle between the quarterback the team chose and the one they could’ve chose— As if Todd Bowles’ seat wasn’t warm enough, a dominant performance by Levis may not only crank the temperature up higher, it may transfer some heat over to Jason Licht’s seat.
When the bakery opens up this Sunday afternoon, Chef Mayfield will have his work cut out for him on the field, trying to end a four game losing streak, but he’ll also be battling against a very different journalistic narrative.
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