Hey Bucs, this isn’t Trask time
This day would eventually come. There would come a time when Tom Brady would no longer be the Bucs’ quarterback.
That time has come and that day is today – February 1, 2023.
But this isn’t the day the Bucs become Kyle Trask’s team.
This is not Trask Time in Tampa Bay. You can’t, unless general manager Jason Licht and head coach Todd Bowles want to ride the express elevator to the shop floor of the AdventHealth Training Center.
Trask is the only quarterback currently under contract, but two more future options in red and tin are coming this year. One will likely be a veteran starting and starting this season, and the other could be another young arm to challenge Trask – perhaps in the form of a rookie QB from this year’s draft.
I have nothing against Trask, the Bucs’ second-round pick in 2021. The former Florida standout was in Pewter Report’s 2021 Bucs mock draft in the second round, so we nailed his roster. By all accounts, Trask seems like a nice guy and a very hard worker. In fact, Bowles said as much on Jan. 4 before Trask saw his first regular NFL season action against Atlanta in Week 18.
“Since he’s been here, he works alone every time I look out my window,” Bowles said. “He has almost the greatest determination, toughness and inner strength than anyone I’ve seen. A young guy comes out – he prepares every day. When his time comes, he will be ready, because I see him working on it every day. He has inner resilience, he has inner strength and he has the drive and will to win. If you add that up and get the chance, I think he’s going to take advantage of it.”
But against the Falcons, Trask only completed 3 of 9 passes for 23 yards in waste time from Tampa Bay’s 30-17 loss in Atlanta. Combine that and his two preseason production with the Bucs, where he completed 72 of 129 passes (59%) for 769 yards with two touchdowns, four interceptions, and 12 sacks, and there’s not much hope he can make in the short term. time to progress to a starting position.
In fact, Trask veteran Blaine couldn’t even beat Gabbert for the backup job this summer when he got extra reps when Brady left camp for 10 days due to his failed marriage. The Bucs would be making a huge mistake if they automatically assume that Trask is their quarterback of the future — and that the future is now.
Trask has to earn it first.
He can’t even get the backup job. Trask has to earn the right to be the number 2 before he can even be considered the number 1.
There are also a number of complications that the Bucs have to deal with.
Nearly every representative Trask has taken in training or in his limited snapshots in games – both preseason and regular season – has come with backup players. With the Bucs’ Super Bowl window open during Brady’s three years in Tampa Bay, it’s been hard to find starting reps for Trask in a workout—let alone a game situation.
The Bucs could have started Trask in a preseason game this year. But even in Nashville, when the team lost to the Titans in the second exhibition game, which Brady missed, many starters didn’t even qualify. So the team did itself a disservice when trying to decide if Trask is/could be the quarterback of the future. Again, it’s hard to fault the team with Brady around, but there are far more questions about Trask’s potential than there are answers.
Trask has proven to be a slow learner
One of those big questions is also the other big complication. Trask has just spent two years learning Bruce Arians’ attack and now he will have to start over from scratch and learn a new system with new vocabulary from a yet-to-be-hired attack coordinator. Trask is known to be a slow learner, and that won’t help him when it comes to processing a new playbook and then potentially trying to land the runway in 2023.
“This is how I would describe him: a very mindful learner,” Christensen said via Buccaneers.com. “He takes it easy, he tries to get the details of the thing, and once he gets it, he gets it. He’s not one of those guys who takes one look at it and he’s got it. He’s going to think about it, he’ll call most nights with a few questions, “Hey, what do you think of this, what do you think of that?” He watches a lot of movies.
“That rookie mini-camp, I’ve gone out of here a few times and by the time I left the building the light was still on in the quarterback room. He just sat there going over his notes. So it means a lot to him and I think he’s going to be a guy who’s going to get it slowly and steadily but then do it the right way and have it in order. I think he will be very deliberate in how he processes all this information.”
Trask had the same reputation at the University of Florida, where he beat Feleipe Franks for the starting job only in his junior season.
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But with Trask entering his third year in Tampa Bay and two more seasons under contract, the Bucs aren’t ready to give him up — nor should they. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Bucs spent so much time this offseason interviewing young quarterback coaches and passing game coordinators as they searched for Byron Leftwich’s replacement.
The team could ask the likes of Klint Kubiak, Jim Bob Cooter, Dan Pitcher, Shea Tierney and Ronald Curry what their assessment was of Trask dropping out of college during their 2021 preliminary evaluations. And Bowles and Licht could ask how simple their transgressions were would be to learn for a young, unproven quarterback who is “intentional” when it comes to understanding a playbook and system.
That’s all well and good, and could lead to Trask becoming more productive going forward than he did in his first two seasons in Tampa Bay. Or that information – if cumulatively negative from those young QB coaches – could lead the Bucs to draft another quarterback this year and turn the page on Trask.
Either way, the Bucs can’t just automatically conclude that Trask is anything more than a third-rate quarterback right now. He has not earned the right to be more. When NFL teams try to force young players into roles, they aren’t ready for the outcomes that usually don’t benefit anyone – the quarterback, the team, the general manager and the head coach.
It may eventually be Trask time in Tampa Bay, but the Bucs can’t possibly count on that in 2023.
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