Aug 19, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks on against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield named Bucs’ starting quarterback

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles on Tuesday named Baker Mayfield as the team’s starting quarterback.

Bowles revealed his decision two days after telling reporters that he didn’t “have a timetable on it.”

Mayfield is receiving the nod over third-year quarterback Kyle Trask for the Buccaneers, who open the season against the host Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 10.

“There’s a lot that goes into it. I can’t sit up here and give you every detail,” Bowles said of his decision, per the Tampa Bay Times. “We go through man training camp (practices) and OTAs and we love everything Kyle has done. He’s gotten leaps and bounds better. And he has in the spring and he’s continuing to get better. And we’re excited about Baker. We like where we’re at right now. Experience wise and his understanding the playbook [is] just a little bit better.”

Mayfield signed a one-year, $4 million contract with Tampa Bay in March as the presumed starter after making three stops during a whirlwind 2022. Traded from the Cleveland Browns to Carolina that offseason, he went 2-8 with 2,163 yards, 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions with the Panthers and Los Angeles Rams.

Mayfield, 28, is 31-38 as a starter since being drafted with the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in 2018.

Trask, 25, has only appeared in one regular-season game since Tampa Bay drafted him in the second round in 2021. He is 3-for-9 passing for 23 yards.

–Field Level Media

Aug 3, 2023; Tampa Bay, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) and quarterback Kyle Trask (2) participate in training camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs coach mulling options for starting quarterback

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said Sunday that he isn’t ready to name a starting quarterback for the upcoming season, and he doesn’t feel rushed to do so.

“We don’t have a timetable on it,” Bowles said. “We’ll name it when we name it. We feel comfortable with where we’re at, so we’ll go from there.”

The Buccaneers will play their final preseason game on Aug. 26 against the Baltimore Ravens. Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are expected to play in that game for the Bucs, who saw fellow quarterback John Wolford sustain a neck injury in the team’s 13-6 victory over the New York Jets on Saturday.

Wolford was discharged from a New York-area hospital in time to fly home with the team.

Mayfield signed with Tampa Bay in March as the presumed starter after making three stops during a whirlwind 2022. After being traded from the Cleveland Browns to Carolina that offseason, he was 2-8 with 2,163 yards, 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions with the Panthers and Los Angeles Rams.

Mayfield, 28, is 31-38 as a starter since being drafted with the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in 2018.

Trask, 25, has only appeared in one regular-season game since Tampa Bay drafted him in the second round in 2021. He is 3-for-9 passing for 23 yards.

–Field Level Media

Jul 30, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) and quarterback Kyle Trask (2) during training camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs OC:Trask-Mayfield QB battle even

The race to replace Tom Brady as starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tightening midway through training camp.

Any edge Baker Mayfield had over Kyle Trask was largely erased with Monday and Tuesday showings by Trask, a backup to Brady in Tampa the past two seasons.

“It just took a couple of days for Kyle to really settle in and then what we saw in the last two practices, Kyle really showed what he can do, stretching the field with his arm, getting the ball out quickly, and making decisions,” offensive coordinator Dave Canales said.

Mayfield signed as the presumed starter after making three stops in a whirlwind 2022. He was traded to the Panthers by the Browns, started the season as the No. 1 quarterback in Carolina only to be released and signed by the Los Angeles Rams.

The offensive scheme is new to Mayfield but the Buccaneers also changed coordinators, from Byron Leftwich to Canales. Most of the concepts are fresh to Trask, too.

“He is mastering the concepts,” Canales said of Trask. “The more that he can, in a pre-snap way, gather information and really start to progress. You know in any pass concept that you have, you could have as many as three or four progressions, but you do not have time to check all three. It is kind of like a true sprinkler type of read. When guys start to play comfortable and play fast, is when they eliminate one and two, then they are getting to three and four in the same rhythm they would. That is what I am seeing from him that I am excited about. Then the other thing too is just — what is happening with Kyle is, as I call a play, he is finishing the play — the sentence before I can finish it. That just speaks to him studying the offense, studying the formations, and being really comfortable with what we are calling.”

Canales said veteran offensive assistant Tom Moore charts and times every throw in practice. The coaches, including QB coach Thaddeus Lewis, huddle to discuss practice plans and performance as part of their plan not to name a starting quarterback in April or May.

“I think what we are seeing is a couple of guys who both have to put themselves into that starter mind frame going into the practices, knowing, ‘Hey, today is my day. I get to roll with the ones. I get a few more reps,’” he said. “It is pretty much even. Even with the way we go ones and twos, the way we do it. I just see the two guys really challenging each other. Then the cool part is in our room, which a lot of people don’t get to see and hear, is just rule number one, we are here to help the Bucs win. Whatever that is, we do that.”

Mayfield, 28, is 31-38 as a starter since being drafted with the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in 2018.

Trask, 25, has only appeared in one game since Tampa Bay drafted him in the second round in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) attends an MLB game betewwnt the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ QB battle: Baker Mayfield feels ‘comfortable’ in new offense

The quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask is getting into full swing this week at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ minicamp.

Mayfield, the former No. 1 overall draft pick now with his fourth NFL team, said Tuesday he’s feeling comfortable with the Bucs’ offense so far.

“I feel comfortable with where I’m at right now. Now, it’s about making sure that my comfortability resonates with everyone else,” Mayfield said. “That is the quarterback’s job, is to make sure everybody gets on the same page and make sure we breathe that confidence throughout the whole team. I feel good with where I am at right now, but there is obviously always room to improve.”

Though it’s only June, Mayfield was concerned about cleaning up turnovers the offense committed during drills against the Bucs’ tough defense.

“But that’s what happens when you get the full defense back out there and the competition starts flying around a bit,” Mayfield said. “We just need to hone it in, but luckily, it’s minicamp now, so we’re going to be able to watch the film altogether and do a walkthrough to correct some of those mistakes.”

Mayfield was traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Carolina Panthers ahead of the 2022 season, but the Panthers went 1-5 in his six starts and his stay was short-lived. He was granted his release in early December and the Los Angeles Rams claimed him off waivers while dealing with quarterback injuries.

Across 12 games (10 starts) for the Panthers and Rams, Mayfield threw for 2,163 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2022.

Trask, meanwhile, got into his first NFL game last season and went 3-for-9 for 23 yards. After backing up Tom Brady for two years, Trask has more of a chance to earn playing time.

Only a few years removed from his college days at Florida, where he was a Heisman finalist in 2020, Trask said he looked at Tuesday’s assignment like a final exam.

“We’ve been studying all throughout OTAs and then you’ve got three days to put it altogether,” Trask said. “The first day, we’re still working through some things and tightening up some things, but altogether, I think we’re really getting all of the concepts down together well and looking pretty solid.”

Head coach Todd Bowles revealed little about his quarterbacks’ progress, saying both Mayfield and Trask are “getting used to” playing with star receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and receiving play calls from first-year offensive coordinator Dave Canales.

Asked where the QBs have shown the most growth recently, Bowles said, “Understanding the offense and making audibles at the line of scrimmage.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Kyle Trask (2) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Trask told Bucs’ QB job ‘open competition’

Could Kyle Trask win the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback job?

Trask said the team let him know that role is up for grabs.

“I’ve just been told it’s an open competition,” Trask told reporters Monday, “but at the end of the day I know that the team’s going to do what they have to do to put whoever on the field that’s going to allow our team to be the most successful.”

With Tom Brady retired for good this time, the Buccaneers signed Baker Mayfield in March after he split 2022 between the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams to mixed results.

The only other quarterback currently on Tampa Bay’s roster is Trask, the franchise’s second-round pick in 2021. Trask saw some game time in the 2022 regular-season finale, completing 3 of 9 passes for 23 yards.

It remains to be seen if the Buccaneers will add another quarterback to the roster, via next week’s draft or elsewhere.

“This is a good opportunity for me, and a great opportunity for me to compete with someone like Baker (Mayfield), who’s definitely proven himself in this league,” Trask said. “… For me, I always try to be as consistent as I can. I’m always trying to build my routine, square it away as tight as I can. So, it’s just very important for me to really lock that in at a time like now and try to make myself as productive as possible to help this team in the end and hopefully help the overall success of this team.”

Trask finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2020 after throwing for 4,283 yards, 43 touchdowns and eight interceptions for Florida with a 68.9 percent completion rate. He was the sixth quarterback to be drafted in 2021 after five went in the first round.

Trask said staying consistent in his approach is the key for him to have a shot at winning the starting gig.

“I guarantee you the job won’t be won if I’m thinking about outside things and different types of narratives. That’s not going to translate to success on the football field,” he said. “I need to narrow my focus and do my best to put the team in the most successful position possible. And at the end of the day, just have fun and lift the ones around you, because I think when you do that it ties the whole thing together and everybody plays better.”

–Field Level Media

Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles during the NFL combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Todd Bowles: Bucs can still win without Tom Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles addressed the elephant in the room on Sunday, although the “animal” in question is more appropriately referred to as the “G.O.A.T.”

Bowles spoke of his team’s expectations at quarterback in the wake of Tom Brady’s retirement.

“When you replace a player of that magnitude, first of all, you don’t replace him,” Bowles told NFL Network of Brady’s departure from the team. “You lose aura. You lose the expectation of being great. That doesn’t mean you can’t be great. You just have to do it more as a team. We did it as a team when he was there, but he was such a great player and a great person that you focus all on that. And now that that is gone, the perception is that everything else is gone when really it isn’t.

“We have a lot of good players on our team on both sides of the ball. We have some pieces to fill, but we have a lot of good football players on our team. And we just have to understand that and not go with the so-called outside narrative and do what we have to do to win ball games.”

With Brady retired, all eyes will shift to free-agent acquisition Baker Mayfield and in-house candidate Kyle Trask at the quarterback position.

“I liked Baker when he was coming out,” Bowles said of the former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

“We kind of hit it off when I was with the Jets. I went down to Oklahoma and we had this vibe between us. And not to say he had the strongest arm and everything else, but he’s a leader. He has great understanding of the football game. He knows where to go with the football. And he has moxie. He’s a guy’s guy. The players love to be around him, and they will fight for him because he’s a winner.”

“… So, between him and Trask, I have no doubt that one of them will come out and be successful.”

Tampa Bay is Mayfield’s fourth team in three years. The 27-year-old helped his chances by finishing last season strong after being claimed by the Los Angeles Rams.

Trask, 25, completed 3 of 9 pass attempts for 23 yards in one game last season. He was picked in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

January 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) congratulates San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) after the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Trask, Jimmy Garoppolo among favorites to be Bucs’ next QB

Tom Brady made his retirement from the NFL official Tuesday morning after 22 seasons and seven Super Bowl victories. While the 44-year-old’s departure from the playing field had to come sooner or later, it leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a question mark at quarterback in 2022.

The Bucs signed Brady as a replacement for Jameis Winston in the 2020 offseason, and it immediately paid dividends with a title in Super Bowl LV. Tampa Bay lost in the divisional round of the playoffs this year before saying goodbye to Brady. released probabilities Tuesday for who Tampa Bay’s Week 1 starting quarterback will be this year, listing a number of NFL quarterbacks — including two retired players.

Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers opened as the favorite at +400. But as of Tuesday evening, he had been eclipsed by someone actually on Tampa Bay’s roster: Kyle Trask.

The Buccaneers selected Trask in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. A Florida product, Trask sat behind Brady as a rookie and did not see any game action. Trask opened at +650 but saw his odds quickly shorten to +400, ahead of Garoppolo at +450.

Garoppolo, coincidentally, spoke to reporters Tuesday and did not hide the fact that he expects the 49ers will trade him this offseason. San Francisco drafted quarterback Trey Lance third overall in last year’s draft and is keen on starting a new era with him under center.

“I just want to go to a place where they want to win,” Garoppolo said. “That’s really what I’m in this game for. I’m here to play football, win football games and as long as I’ve got that and good people around me, I think the rest will take care of itself.”

Following Garoppolo on the list of possible Bucs newcomers is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz at +550. Wentz just completed his first season with Indianapolis, which missed out on a playoff berth by losing to Jacksonville in Week 18. His turnover issues seemed largely behind him until that game, when he tossed an interception and lost a fumble to the worst team in the league. It’s hard to say whether the Colts would entertain moving Wentz after just one year.

Green Bay Packers three-time MVP Aaron Rodgers is tied for fourth favorite at +750. Rodgers made it known last offseason that he was unhappy in Green Bay, and after a tumultuous but productive season, he’s expected to be the biggest piece of the offseason quarterback carousel whether he’s traded or stays in town.

Other notable options on the board include Cam Newton (+1200), who returned to the Carolina Panthers in 2021 but did not have much success; a reunion with Winston (+1400); Russell Wilson (+1600), who is potentially disgruntled in Seattle; and Blaine Gabbert (+2500), also presently on the Bucs’ roster.

Houston Texans signal-caller Deshaun Watson, who sat out 2021 while embroiled in sexual assault and misconduct lawsuits, appears at +2500. Former Chargers and Colts quarterback Philip Rivers, who retired after the 2020 season, is at +5000, tied with fellow retiree Andrew Luck, a former Colt.

–Field Level Media

Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners in the second quarter at ATT Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Florida record-setting QB Trask declares for NFL draft

Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask announced Thursday that he is entering the NFL draft.

Trask made his announcement in a video posted to various social media sites.

“I feel that it’s best to chase my dreams of playing in the NFL,” Trask said. “I’ve had dreams of playing in the NFL ever since I was a kid. Just to have this opportunity to play at the next level, it’s crazy and I’m going to try and go and make the most of it.”

Trask enjoyed a stellar 2020 season in which he set school records of 4,283 passing yards and 43 touchdowns passes. He topped 400 yards five times and twice threw six scoring passes.

Trask was intercepted eight times, three of them coming in a 55-20 loss to Oklahoma in Wednesday’s Cotton Bowl. He passed for a season-low 158 yards.

But the poor showing against the Sooners wasn’t diminishing Trask’s enthusiasm about his time with the Gators. He grew up near Houston and never imagined that playing in the Sunshine State would be such a life-changing experience.

“I will definitely always remember the memories we made and the big-time wins we had over the past couple years,” Trask said. “I will always be a Gator. I will always bleed Orange and Blue.”

Trask wasn’t a big-time recruit — his first start didn’t occur until Game 3 of the 2019 season — nor was he considered a high NFL draft pick prior to the season.

But the strong campaign improved his stock. He now rates as a one of the top half-dozen available quarterbacks and his name will surely be called within the first two rounds.

Gators coach Dan Mullen has enjoyed watching Trask’s rise.

“I couldn’t be prouder of him and the season that he had with our team this year. A special, special year for him,” Mullen said. “I’m really happy for him. I mean, you’re talking about a young guy that came in, I think only played a couple plays in his career before he even graduated college. Didn’t play much in high school. And now he’s a Heisman Trophy finalist and he’s going to be an NFL draft pick. So that says a lot about him.”

Trask said he has always drawn motivation from the doubters.

“When I think about it, just being counted out so many times,” Trask said of his career. “When people doubt me, it’s nothing new to me. It doesn’t hold me down. I don’t dwell on it. I just try to prove them wrong. I think that’s ultimately what’s gotten me here today.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) passes the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Trask heavy favorite as Fields’ Heisman hopes plummet

Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask appears to be closing in on the Heisman Trophy with two games remaining in his regular season.

Trask is the heavy favorite by sportsbooks, including DraftKings, where his odds have shortened to -125. The fifth-year senior is being backed by 36 percent of the handle and 14 percent of the total Heisman bets at the sportsbook.

Trask has thrown at least three touchdown passes in every game this season.

Mac Jones is the second betting favorite at +100, but only seven percent of the bets are backing the Alabama quarterback who will face Trask in the SEC Championship Game next week. That’s compared to Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the preseason favorite whose odds have lengthened to +1200 while missing a month of action due to a positive COVID-19 test and a canceled game.

Lawrence is still being back by 18 percent of the total bets at DraftKings despite having only the ACC Championship Game against Notre Dame between now and when the Heisman votes are submitted.

On the fringe of Heisman consideration is Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The second preseason favorite behind Lawrence, Fields’ odds have lengthened to +2500 with the Buckeyes’ scheduled ravaged by COVID-19 issues. However, his odds did not lengthen further in the hours after Ohio State’s game against Michigan was canceled on Tuesday.

Fields has been passed by Ian Book (+1600), although the Notre Dame quarterback is being backed by only seven percent of the total bets and four percent of the handle – lowest among the five.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) warms up before the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama, Florida QB Trask remain betting favorites

Alabama remains the odds-on favorite to win the national title after dominating Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Saturday, while Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is inching closer to the Heisman Trophy.

The Crimson Tide are the unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 poll and are expected to remain in the top spot when the next College Football Playoff rankings are released Tuesday. Alabama is being offered at +125 by DraftKings to win the national title, ahead of the Clemson Tigers (+250), Ohio State Buckeyes (+550) and Notre Dame (+600).

With Clemson and Notre Dame on a collision course for a rematch in the ACC title game, Florida (+1200) and Texas A&M (+1600) are among the teams still battling for a spot in the CFP semifinals.

The Gators moved to 7-1 with a 34-10 win over Kentucky on Saturday. Trask has thrown for at least three touchdowns in every game this season and remains the Heisman favorite at -110 by DraftKings.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones did close the gap a bit and is being offered at +150 after throwing for 302 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-13 rout of Auburn. Jones was listed at +300 by DraftKings last week.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence played for the first time in a month and threw for 403 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Tigers’ 52-17 win over Pittsburgh. The junior shortened his Heisman odds from +1200 to +500, moving past Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+1000), who had his game against Illinois canceled due to the Buckeyes’ COVID-19 outbreak.

Fields was being offered at +250 last week, but will have six regular-season games at most to build his Heisman resume. Ohio State isn’t guaranteed to be eligible for the Big Ten championship if the Buckeyes aren’t able to play at Michigan State on Saturday before closing out their regular season against Michigan.

–Field Level Media