NFC Notes: Baker Mayfield, Chris Olave, Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield feels more comfortable going into his second year in Tampa Bay and is trying to “lead by example” in 2024. 

“Obviously last year was a lot of trying to learn the system on the fly, get to know teammates as well, balancing that performance versus getting to know everybody and trying to be a leader,” Mayfield said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “But now, going through it — obviously you have some new faces here — but going through a year with these guys, trying to be more in command. I am vocal, but most of the time I’m only vocal when I need to be. I’m kind of a ‘lead by example’ type guy. So really now it’s taking the next step in the vocal aspect — getting everybody on the same page.”

Mayfield was glad to receive an extension and have some security, but still wants to avoid feeling comfortable. 

“You never want to feel comfortable,” Mayfield said. “Yeah, is it great that I know I’m going to be here for the next couple of years? Of course. It means I get to settle in here, be myself even more so and push these guys to the next level. It’s a good feeling.”

Mayfield thinks they showed glimpses of what they are capable of as a team after their 31-23 loss to the Lions in the Divisional Round 

“I mean, I think we proved to ourselves last year what we really believed in, what we knew we were capable of,” Mayfield said. “Obviously we fell short of the ultimate goal — only one team gets to have that. But when you get that close, it almost makes you more hungry, when you’re just a few plays away, on the road, in a tough environment, knowing that it came down to a two-minute drive. I mean the guys are putting in the work now to be on the same page, and to hit the ground in August, late July, we’re ready to go.”


Panthers WR Diontae Johnson has seen other wide receivers around him earning large contracts and says he would be all for it if Carolina felt like giving him an extension as well. 

“It’s crazy,” Johnson said, via Anthony Rizzuti of “Everybody getting all these big contracts — it just motivates me to keep working. God gonna give it to me when he ready, so I just gotta keep stacking days and not really worry about . . . keep pressing. If I press, that’s gonna throw my game off and I’m doing stuff I don’t normally do out there trying to make plays. But just gotta stay relaxed, just keep being humble, make my plays.”


Saints WR Chris Olave has heavily impacted the team’s passing game since he was drafted in 2022. Olave is looking to make the jump to an elite player, and he talked about the team’s mindset change this offseason. 

“Really everywhere,” Olave said, via Eric Edholm of “Just going into this offseason knowing that (the Saints) believe in me as the Receiver 1, I’m excited to get to work. But I’m just trying to take that next step forward and try to go from a good player to an elite player. So just trying to be consistent every day and put in the work to be able to be one of the top receivers in the game.”

“This year, we’re holding ourselves accountable every day and trying to stay consistent with that. It always starts around this time to be able to shine around December and January and February. I’m excited we’re putting the work in now.”

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