After legendary quarterback Tom Brady hung up his cleats and called it a career, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been left with a huge void to fill under center.
Tampa Bay drafted Kyle Trask in the second round of the 2021 draft to help prepare for Brady’s eventual departure, but the Buccaneers also brought in a veteran presence this past offseason when they signed Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal.
With the starting position up for grabs, Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles has been keeping a close eye on both Trask and Mayfield during organized team activities.
“You don’t hit the quarterbacks in OTAs, nor do you hit them in mini-camps or even training camp until they play games. So you really don’t know who is what under pressure,” Bowles said Tuesday. “From an analyzing standpoint, again it’s the grasp of the offense, it’s the reading of the defense — it’s not necessarily making the big play but the right play.
“Then it comes down to moxie, it comes down to intelligence — in-game intelligence and adjustments and fits and film work. You can see who the team galvanizes around and who’s ready to play the first game and you make a decision from there. It’s constant analyzation, whether it’s small or whether it’s big.”
Former Los Angeles Rams quarterback John Wolford is also on the depth chart but has not taken any reps as a starter at OTAs.
“We switch them up all the time,” Bowles said about who gets to take snaps as a starter. “It doesn’t mean anything — Kyle has taken them and Baker has taken them.”
Mayfield, 28, will be entering his sixth season and has already given the league a taste of what he brings to the field. However, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the 25-year-old Trask, who appeared in just one game last season and only had nine pass attempts.
“He’s getting the reps,” Bowles said of Trask. “When you get more reps, you get more confidence. Obviously, and rightfully so, with Tom there last year and Blaine (Gabbert) there, he didn’t get the reps he should get. He’s getting a lot of reps right now.
“It’s really an indoctrination of his rookie year — getting all the reps he’s getting. As he gets those reps, he gets more confidence so he’s happy to be playing.”
Trask has also been adjusting to offensive coordinator Dave Canales, who is entering his first season with the Buccaneers after holding various roles with the Seattle Seahawks on Pete Carroll’s staff from 2010-22.
Canales’ offensive scheme focuses more on working outside of the pocket, which is something that Trask has been enjoying.
“This new scheme allows you to get outside the pocket and use your legs more. That’s really exciting for me,” Trask said. “As a quarterback, anytime you can get out on the edge it’s really exciting to throw one on the run or get outside the pocket and make a play (or) run for a first down or something like that.”
Should he land the starting job, Mayfield will be looking to redeem himself after a disappointing 2022 season. He played seven games (six starts) for the Carolina Panthers and five games (four starts) for the Rams, completing 60 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,163 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
–Field Level Media