Buccaneers Coach Has Fitting QB Comparison for Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield had a perfect passer rating at Lambeau Field.

A year ago, Dave Canales helped Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith win Comeback Player of the Year. Now, Canales sees similar success with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Canales, the Buccaneers offensive coordinator and formerly the Seahawks quarterback coach, praised Mayfield’s play on Thursday, December 21.

Mayfield comes into Week 16 fresh off of a 381-yard, four-touchdown performance.

“Absolutely. [There are] a lot of parallels there,” Canales told reporters on Thursday. “It really speaks to the character of those two guys — the belief in themselves, the belief in their abilities, the people around them who are speaking life into them.”

Smith had been a career-long backup before the departure of Russell Wilson in 2022, and Smith made the most of his opportunity by leading the Seahawks to the playoffs. Mayfield bounced around the league in 2022, but now, he could lead the Buccaneers to an NFC South title and playoff appearances in the footsteps of Tom Brady.

“While I know some people might use negative narratives to help fuel them, I think both of those guys are aware of those things and so they both have that real chip on their shoulder,” Canales said.

“You love having guys in that type of position who can handle that — some guys can’t handle that. That’s part of it, but it’s not the whole story. The whole story is their belief in themselves.”

Dave Canales Believed in Both to Turn Things Around

Smith spent six seasons as a backup after his first two seasons with the New York Jets didn’t pan out as a starter. Mayfield led the Cleveland Browns to a playoff win in 2020, the franchise’s since 1994, but Cleveland traded for Deshaun Watson in 2022 and sent Mayfield to Carolina.

“For me, I just kind of come alongside and try and reaffirm who they are — reaffirm the bigger picture of who they are outside of the lines, because I truly believe that, as you strengthen as a person, as your character is strengthened, then everything else doesn’t shake you as much,” Canals said.

“Of course, pairing it up with, ‘Guys, you’re both veteran quarterbacks… You’ve seen every coverage, you’ve seen every pass concept with the different coordinators you’ve been with, so don’t make it harder than it needs to be,” Canales continued. “Trust what you see, be confident on that back foot.’ The back foot tells the whole story about what it was.”

“You saw Baker last week — he’s solid and confident on that back foot [and] the ball is coming out. That’s the same thing that Geno was doing while we were in Seattle. Both guys, yeah, very much so have that similar attribute there,” Canales concluded.

Baker Mayfield Was Perfect at Lambeau Field

Mayfield played his best game in a Buccaneers uniform in Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers. Actually, he had the best game ever by a visiting quarterback at Lambeau Field — ever.

His 158.3 passer rating marked the best ever by a visitor. Only former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers achieved that mark in his 18 seasons with the team, and fellow former Packers quarterback Brett Favre never hit the milestone.

Mayfield consequently won NFC Offensive Player of the Week. He will look to build on the performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16.