The Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised a lot of people when they chose to select Kyle Trask in the second round out of Florida in 2021. With Tom Brady in the fold and coming off of a championship, the team had the opportunity to invest in a position of need and still went with a quarterback that wouldn't see the field for at least a year.
That's exactly what happened last season. Trask participated in the preseason but was named the No. 3 quarterback behind Blaine Gabbert and didn't dress for a game during his rookie year.
While speaking to the media on Tuesday, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen went into detail on his unit. Christenson made it clear that the Buccaneers expect to stick to the same game plan in 2022. Trask simply hasn't progressed enough to unseat the veteran Gabbert.
“I think it’s more of a learning year. I don’t see him competing with (Blaine) Gabbert this year,” Christensen said. “He could do it. All the odds are stacked against you. You can’t rep everybody. It’s hard to get Gabbert enough reps, so we’ll prepare Gabbert as the No. 2. There’s always competition, there’s always someone looking for your job, but Gabbert, I don’t see that being an either/or. I see Gabbert being the backup and Kyle being a developmental guy, and we’ll rep them that way.”
This isn't necessarily an indictment of Trask's development moving into his second year with the Buccaneers. Really, the team just wants to have a veteran presence behind star quarterback Tom Brady. Another season of learning from Brady and Gabbert, as well as practice squad quarterback Ryan Griffin, will only benefit Trask in the future.
“It buys him another year to develop and watch one of the best in the business do his deal,” Christensen said. “It’s kind of like a redshirt year. It is a challenge to keep concentrating for that long, but I really do think it’s the best thing that could have happened to him. It sometimes doesn’t feel like it necessarily at the time, but he would tell you he needs another year.”
One of the issues is that it has been hard to get the former Florida Gators star the necessary reps he needs in practice. It's tough to provide him with quality opportunities during the season, which means most of his contributions come as a scout-team quarterback to help the Buccaneers prepare for upcoming opponents.
Brady isn't expected to be back with the team until Mandatory Mini-Camp beginning on June 7. That means Trask will have more chances to get involved during Organized Team Activities throughout May.
“It continues to be hard to get him enough reps,” Christensen said. “This will be really a great couple of weeks here, the OTAs. We’re going to put a premium, a priority on giving him reps and seeing what he’s like. It’s hard to judge anyone until you get quality reps against the defense. That’s one of our goals in this camp. We’ve got three other veteran guys who don’t need a ton of it. I think he continues to progress. I’m glad we didn’t have to find out on opening day this year. That gives us another year to keep developing him.”
In the meantime, Trask is continuing to prepare for when his time does come. After all, he's one injury away from jumping into the lineup and could be handed the reigns in as little as a year if Brady chooses to retire again. Whether Trask plays this year or not, the Buccaneers are confident they'll be able to get an accurate assessment of his trajectory throughout the next few months.
“He knows his time’s coming,” Christensen said. “He knows what the plan is, and knows he’s going to get his crack. Now he has to make sure he’s ready for his crack ’cause it’s no layup, no gimme … that’s an earned position. He’ll have to prove that he can do it. I think these OTAs are going to be really important for Kyle. It won’t make or break him, but it’ll be a great assessment: Here’s where we are. Here’s how far we are from having to get where we’ve got to go. We will come out of this thing with an assessment of Kyle Trask.”
It'll be important to see early progressions from Trask during the preseason. Last year, he struggled in his three appearances, completing 52.7% of his passes for 312 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Trask was also sacked five times.
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