Jason Licht: It sometimes feels like Bucs are in witness protection

Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Thad Lewis recently talked about how quarterback Baker Mayfield will always have a chip on his shoulder because of the bumps he’s had to navigate on his path through the NFL and he’s not the only one in Tampa who feels like they’ve been underappreciated around the league.

General Manager Jason Licht is in the same category. During an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Licht was asked about preseason predictions that the Falcons will win the NFC South despite the Bucs being the defending champs with most of their core players back for the 2024 season.

“We’re kind of used to it. I sometimes feel like, down here in Tampa, we’re in witness protection,” Licht said. “I don’t want to say we get shit on, but there’s kind of a lack of respect. You can go on, like Lavonte David, I think, is a Hall of Fame-type player. He doesn’t get enough credit as he should. Mike Evans just recently started getting talked about as a future Hall of Famer. So, we’re used to it, but you kind of use it as ammo.”

Licht said that he loves “keeping receipts” of people who dismiss the Bucs, which makes it clear that Mayfield isn’t the only one fueled by proving people wrong once the season gets underway. Should the Bucs pull that off the same way they did in 2023, Licht will have plenty of crowing to do when all is said and done.

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