Bucs Quarterback Not a ‘Quick Study’, Insider Says

Kyle Trask

Getty Kyle Trask hasn't proven himself as an NFL starter yet.

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a quarterback to replace the recently retired Tom Brady, the only in-house option behooves the team to look elsewhere.

Bucs quarterback Kyle Trask didn’t receive glowing reviews from Bucs insider Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times amid Brady hanging up his cleats on February 1. A second round pick in 2021, Trask hasn’t proven yet that he could take over for Brady during the past two seasons.

“Kyle has been here two years trying to learn a system that he’s no longer going to play in,” Stroud said on “The Rich Eisen Show” last week. “He’s not been a quick study anywhere he’s been. He’s always been that guy who’s had to grind his way to the starting job whether it was at Florida or wherever.”

Trask didn’t start regularly in high school, and it took him until his junior year at Florida in 2019 to land the starting job after Feleipe Franks went down with an injury. While Trask shined in his final two seasons at Florida with 7,224 yards and 68 touchdowns, potential for similar numbers hasn’t shown up with the Bucs. He has 769 yards and two touchdowns in six preseason games plus just 23 yards in 10 offensive snaps for a Week 18 game in 2022.

“The plan before Tom retired/unretired the first time was to bring Blaine Gabbert back and let him and Trask battle it out,” Stroud added.

Trask couldn’t beat out Gabbert for the top backup quarterback job in 2022, and Gabbert could test free agency unless the Bucs re-sign him in March. The Bucs already passed on re-signing former practice squad quarterback Ryan Griffin.

“Now, Rich, a lot will depend on who they hire as an offensive coordinator, and they’ve interviewed  a lot of guys.”

Where Bucs Offensive Coordinator Search Stands

Tampa Bay fired previous offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich on January 19, and the Bucs haven’t hired a new one amid droves of interviews. The Bucs set up a second interview with Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher for this week.

Previously, the Bucs had first interviews with six other candidates. That includes Jacksonville Jaguars passing game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, New Orleans Saints passing game coordinator Ronald Curry, Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, Minnesota Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, and New York Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney.

Stroud Explains Reason for Slow Bucs Search

Stroud explained that the Bucs’ process has taken a while because of NFL rules. He noted the Bucs’ wait “is not unique” when it comes to hiring coordinator candidates.

“The NFL now requires teams to interview two minority candidates for coordinator positions,” Stroud wrote. “Teams also must interview two external candidates for every coordinator spot.”

“In addition, teams are not permitted to interview candidates from teams that had a first-round playoff bye until after the Super Bowl,” Stroud added. “Those coaches could only be contacted during their bye week, but many teams [such as the Bucs] were still playing.”

Stroud also wrote that the Super Bowl teams have strong offensive coordinator candidates and that multiple teams “are still looking” for hires, which makes competition for the Bucs. He also noted that the Bucs’ 8-9 season in 2022 plus Brady now retired and Trask as the only quarterback under contract could play a role from the candidates’ perspective.

“If you’re frustrated with the slow pace of the process, you’re not alone. So are the Bucs,” Stroud wrote.