The Tom Brady era in Tampa Bay is over, but that does not mean the Buccaneers are changing any expectations for the team. Bucs head coach Todd Bowles is embracing the change and believes they still have the star power to be successful in the future.
Brady retired (for the second time) this offseason, leaving big shoes to fill in Tampa. Bowles says the future Hall of Fame quarterback is not someone you can replace and while some may think everything has flipped with the team, the head coach says that is not the case.
"When you replace a player of that magnitude, first of all, you don't replace him," Bowles said (via NFL.com). "You lose aura. You lose the expectation of being great. That doesn't mean you can't be great. You just have to do it more as a team. We did it as a team when he was there, but he was such a great player and a great person that you focus all on that. And now that that is gone, the perception is that everything else is gone when really it isn't."
Bowles admitted they do have some areas that need improvement, but made sure to compliment the players they already have.
"We have a lot of good players on our team on both sides of the ball," he said. "We have some pieces to fill, but we have a lot of good football players on our team. And we just have to understand that and not go with the so-called outside narrative and do what we have to do to win ball games."
QB1 has yet to be selected for the Bucs. As it stands, it will be between Baker Mayfield, who the team added this offseason, and Kyle Trask, who was drafted by Tampa in 2021 and has yet to have a chance to really show what his level of play is.
Bowles discussed the team's offseason moves, saying he has a high opinion of Mayfield, a former No. 1 overall pick. He went through their history and what he's seen from the 27-year-old. Bowles knows Mayfield may not be a top quarterback in every category, but said it's his attitude and leadership that separates him from others.
"I liked Baker when he was coming out," Bowles said. "We kind of hit it off when I was with the Jets. I went down to Oklahoma and we had this vibe between us. And not to say he had the strongest arm and everything else, but he's a leader. He has great understanding of the football game. He knows where to go with the football. And he has moxie. He's a guy's guy. The players love to be around him, and they will fight for him because he's a winner. He's won on a lot of different levels, so you like that about him coming in. I thought the way we were trying to run our offense this year, the style of offense we were trying to run, I thought he was a perfect fit for it. So, between him and Trask, I have no doubt that one of them will come out and be successful."
Adding a new quarterback is far from the only change the Bucs made this offseason. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was fired, then replaced by former Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales, and running back Leonard Fournette was released.
Even with all the changes, the objective remains the same.
"The goal hasn't changed," Bowles said. "Success is obviously winning the division first and doing damage in the playoffs and trying to win a Super Bowl."