This Friday night Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns return to Raymond James Stadium, the site of their 2018 week 7 overtime loss to the Buccaneers. Not that third preseason games need any more hype.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 21, 2018
Week 3 is the week teams will play their starters the longest; usually into the 3rd quarter. They want to simulate one game where the players go in at halftime and come back to live-action. This will also be the first time Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians faces an old friend, Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Coach ’em Up
Kitchens was a coach with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2017 and would be retained by the team when Arians was brought in as head coach in 2013; although he coached tight ends before Arians’ arrival. He would move to quarterbacks coach in 2013 and eventually quarterbacks coach in 2017. They also both coached on the offensive side of the football for Mississippi State with Arians serving as the Bulldogs OC from 93-95, and Kitchens coaching tight ends in ’04, and running backs in ’05.
Baker Has The Recipe
To be clear, this is a completely different Baker Mayfield than the one Tampa Bay saw last season. The Mayfield of 2018 would play his first NFL snaps in relief of an injured Tyrod Taylor in week 3 against the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football. Down 14-0, Mayfield would lead the Browns to a dramatic come from behind victory 21-17, ending the Browns winless streak at 19.
Last year the former Oklahoma Sooner was the rookie, first-overall pick in the draft with unlimited upside. This season, the second-year Mayfield has the NFL watching. Gamblers in Vegas are betting enough on the Browns to win the Super Bowl. They are the second most popularly-wagered team behind the Chicago Bears.
So the Cleveland Browns come to town for the game Friday night with more number ones than the Beatles. They will give the Buccaneers a great test to see where the 2019 squad is before the starters get their week 4 sojourn. These two defenses should put on some fireworks. Both teams have young quarterbacks in Mayfield, 24, and Winston, 25. Both teams are hoping to see the running game show up.
This might just be the third preseason game but there will be a lot of competing on the field Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.
Photo credit: Daily Snark