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Todd Bowles: Bucs can be great even without “aura” of Tom Brady

Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect how Baker Mayfield will perform in Tampa Bay, why it could be exactly the situation the QB needs to gain momentum back and how he’ll compete against Kyle Trask.

The Buccaneers no longer have Tom Brady after the quarterback elected to retire at the start of the offseason.

But Tampa Bay feels like it’s still in a position to compete.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield cited that as one of the reasons why he elected to sign with the club. And at the annual meeting in Arizona, head coach Todd Bowles echoed that sentiment.

“When you replace a player of that magnitude, first of all, you don’t replace him,” Bowles told NFL Media’s Judy Battista at the league’s annual meeting in Arizona. “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.

“We have a lot of good players on our team on both sides of the ball. 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.”

Despite Brady’s presence last year, the Buccaneers really weren’t great. While Tampa Bay won the NFC South, the club was 8-9 and lost 31-14 to Dallas in the Wild Card round. We’ll see if the many offseason changes can put the Bucs in a better position to compete in 2023.