David, a three-time All-Pro, highlighted Mayfield’s 2020 season with the Cleveland Browns as reason for hope during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. Mayfield, who signed with the Bucs in March to potentially start in place of Tom Brady, had the best season of his career that year with a historic playoff win.
“Obviously, Baker already he’s been ‘the guy’ and, you know, he’s expected to live up to what everybody expected him to be,” David told co-hosts Alex Marvez and Robert Turbin via JoeBucsFan.com. “Baker is great for our locker room. I like the way Baker carries himself coming in with a ready-to-work mentality.”
“Everybody loves him already and the way he approaches practice is great to see. So there’s definitely some great things to see out of Baker. He’s a guy who’s done it before — took his team to the playoffs and done some great things so far,” David continued.
Mayfield led the Browns to an 11-5 record and a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020 before a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. That marked the first postseason victory and winningest season for the Browns since 1994.
Cleveland had only one other 10-win season since that 1994 team. Despite Mayfield’s success in 2020, it didn’t last as the Browns dipped to 8-9 in 2021 amid Mayfield’s play and shoulder injury.
The Browns traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson in 2022 and traded away Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers. Mayfield got benched and released in Carolina, so he concluded the 2022 season with the Los Angeles Rams for a five-game stint.
Bucs QB Competition a Good Thing, Lavonte David Says
Tampa Bay signed Mayfield to a one-year, $4 million deal in March, but he will have to earn the starting quarterback job. The Bucs also publicly consider Kyle Trask, a second-round NFL Draft in 2021, a contender for the job.
“So the competition with those guys is going to be very, very competitive and I’m glad to be a part of it,” David added. “…During minicamp it was really fun to see, man, those guys are really having fun with it and they’re helping each other throughout the way. So that’s definitely something I love to see, as well.”
Lavonte David Wants to Prove Doubters Wrong
Challenges can bring a team together, and that’s what David sees happening with the Bucs after a losing season in 2022 and the loss of Brady.
“I just feel like this year I already see a change of just, you know, having a more togetherness, more of a continuity of the football team where everybody is just sticking together and depending on one another to take this thing to another level,” David told Marvez and Robert Turbin via JoeBucsFan.com.
“And obviously we’re already doubted, especially after losing Tom,” David added. “So we already got a chip on our shoulder, and [Todd] Bowles is the right guy to lead us to be able to go out there week in and week out and be properly prepared and play our butts off.”