Despite Baker Mayfield getting a little more reps in OTAs this offseason, the Bucs will be a legit league quarterback this summer.
New Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales said he sees the benefit of a real QB competition between veteran veteran Mayfield and the unproven Kyle Trask, who enters his third season in Tampa Bay with little playing time.
Why not call Mayfield the starter now because of his 69 career starts? Because Canales wants Mayfield to earn it – and the team’s respect – while also giving Trask, a former runner-up, a legitimate shot at the track. Having had to wait two seasons behind veterans Tom Brady and Blaine Gabbert, Trask also deserves a chance because of his behind-the-scenes patience and development.
Dave Canales respects the path Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask Are On
Dave Canales previously covered this topic at a press conference in May, but also spoke at length about the Bucs QB competition at the no days off podcast, which is hosted by Fox 13’s Scott Smith.
“I think part of it is just respecting the team, respecting what’s best for everyone, and then also respecting Kyle’s process,” Canales told Smith. “You know, coming in as a second round pick with high expectations. It’s obviously a great thing – Tom Brady has been here, so he’s been able to learn from him. But at the same time he has worked very hard to get the chance to show what he can do.
“On the other hand, I think Baker – would he like to just be called the starter? I’m sure of it. But Baker also knows that this is also his way back. From Cleveland to Carolina to LA, you know he’s been told “no” a few times. So that he can come here and win the team over in his own way, perform and show them that he can be the caliber quarterback that he believes he can be — I think I owe it to both of them and the team to put the best man there.”
It inspires Dave Canales to see Geno Smith win Seattle’s QB competition
Dave Canales saw firsthand how Geno Smith capitalized on a protracted quarterback competition last year in Seattle, helping the Seahawks become a surprise playoff team despite the departure of Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson, who was out last season. was traded to Denver for the season. Coached by Canales last year, Smith developed into a freshman Pro Bowler, throwing for over 4,000 yards while also winning NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
“I shared this during a press conference [last month]going into a season with a real league like this where both guys rep, what you end up with is whoever wins the job, you end up with a really strong quarterback room, which is what I saw happen in Seattle,” Canales said. you have two guys who have the “I’m preparing to be a starter” mentality all the time.
“So there’s no such thing as, ‘Well, I’m just the backup.’ Or even though if you’re in a backup role you have to prepare like you’re going to play every week it’s not the same as going into this preseason game and I’m trying to land a job I have to get things right So there is a heightened awareness and responsibility to be able to do your job, and it adds a lot of value to the team.”
Canales explained how a journeyman like Mayfield, who is on his fourth NFL team in the space of 12 months, can take advantage of what a fellow journeyman QB like Smith went through while traveling to Seattle.
“Yes, I think first of all I’m so thankful I was in that situation because you really had a guy who had been through a lot and played behind some great players,” said Canales. “He had some hard knocks in the beginning. But he was with Eli Manning in New York and he was with Russell [Wilson] for those years… and Philip Rivers with the Chargers. Think about those guys he played with.
“So he just collects data, collects information about plays, how to do things, how to plan his week.” His personal belief in who he was never wavered during the process, even though it had to be difficult. We had those difficult conversations. For me it was more about convincing him to trust the work he puts into it, his instincts and things he’s learned over the years to let it go.”
Like last year in Seattle, the QB job in Tampa Bay will be determined by revenue
Geno Smith let it go last year and won the job in the preseason by not flipping the ball the way Drew Lock did. That will be the template that Dave Canales uses to determine the Bucs’ starting QB this year.
“What [Smith] showed us pretty quickly if he would make smart decisions with the ball,” said Canales. “I think he would be 82% complete in pre-season minus a few drops. I mean, it was a fantastic demonstration of playing within the boundaries of the plan. Throw it to the first open man in the progression. Don’t get bored and take the completions. Where Drew also had a really good camp, but he turned the ball around a little bit in the preseason and sort of made the decision for us.
“What people didn’t get to see was this amazing physical talent in Drew Lock on a daily basis in camp as I did and as Pete did and the offensive staff in Seattle. Where it made you think, ‘Holy smokes – what have we got here?’ So for Geno to be able to put it to bed — I mean, we’re talking about taking that league into the final preseason game in Dallas. So it’s been such a great learning experience for me that I can’t help but just appreciate the situation we’re in right now.
Canales has indicated that the quarterback who flips the ball the fewest in Tampa Bay in the best position to land the job. And that’s what keeps Trask – despite his lack of experience – on par with Mayfield for now.
“Two guys have with real talent to feel and show them the team, show the coaches who it’s going to be,” Canales said. “And they will show us.”
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