Jason Licht: Part of the DNA of this football team is trying to prove everybody wrong

After Tom Brady retired last offseason, most expected the Buccaneers to take a significant step back in 2023.

But instead, the club signed quarterback Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal and won the NFC South with a 9-8 record.

Then Tampa Bay dominated the Eagles for a playoff win before falling to the Lions a week later.

With that success, there has been a good vibe surrounding the Bucs this offseason. Mayfield re-signed on a three-year deal and Evans returned on a two-year contract to keep the offense primed for success.

In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Buccaneers G.M. Jason Licht noted that the team’s blend of players who came in during the Brady era and those who went through years without success have created a good mix.

“We have an interesting dynamic here, where a lot of these young players who are still young, they came in 2020 — let’s say Tristan [Wirfs] and Antonie [Winfield Jr.], two of our leaders on our football team,” Licht said. “Their first year was the year that we won the Super Bowl, when we first signed Tom. And they really know no other way to do things than to try and compete for winning the division and winning playoff games. And that’s really bled into all the young players.

“Then you have like Lavonte [David], who has seen tough times — Mike Evans and Chris [Godwin] who have seen tough times but then saw the difference in what came with adding Tom. And then Tom leaving and then us transitioning with Baker, who is a fiery competitive leader in his own right because of the way he plays. I think it’s been a good recipe. Especially with all of the doubters that we had — thinking that when Tom left we were going to sink to the bottom. I think that has been part of the DNA of this football team, trying to prove everybody wrong. So, it’s been a great recipe here and I hope it continues.”

The Buccaneers have won their division three years in a row for the first time in club history from 2021-2023. They should have increased competition in the NFC South in the coming season, but there’s reason to believe the team should be in a good spot to keep that streak alive in 2024.

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