Bucs Coach Drops Potential Hint on Quarterback Competition

Kyle Trask

Getty Kyle Trask is still considered in the running for the Bucs' starting quarterback job.

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales dropped a potential hint of who will win the starting quarterback job amid his own past experience.

During an interview with the Pewter Report podcast, Canales compared the competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask to a quarterback competition in Seattle. Canales, who formerly coached the Seahawks quarterback, talked about the competition between Russell Wilson and Geno Smith in 2021 during training camp.

“Not that Russell was ever competing for his job, but when Geno was playing behind him, Geno was in the high 70s [percentage], 80s [percentage] and he’s completing the ball, and he was throwing the ball down the field,” Canales said. “But Russ would have slight [a] edge because he threw a few more touchdowns.”

“It was like here’s two guys playing ball the right way. One guy knows these players, the starters, a little bit better. He’s getting a few more touchdowns,” Canales added. “That’s my highest hope — that I can create two guys who are playing their butts off, and somebody just took the keys and said, ‘I’m driving the car.’”

Mayfield will come into training camp as a significantly more-seasoned starter compared to Trask’s 10 NFL regular season snaps. The Bucs haven’t officially given Mayfield the job amid efforts to keep it an open competition for training camp.

While Tampa Bay drafted Trask in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bucs didn’t rush to make him the starter after Tom Brady‘s retirement in February. The Bucs signed Mayfield, a former No. 1 pick, in March after he spent the calendar year of 2022 with three different teams.

Dave Canales Reveals Criteria for Determining the Starting QB

Canales broke down how that will be measured — turnovers and touchdowns if both take equal care of the ball.

“That’s it,” Canales told Pewter Report. “I mean so that’s one way of looking at it. And then the other way, the other way of looking at it is this — these guys both play absolutely lights out. They play out of their mind — we’re talking like 80% completion in training camp, preseason. And they’re just ripping it and neither one of them turns it over right and none of them turn it over.”

“Then it’s who has the most explosive plays? Yeah, that guy will get the job,” Canales added. “Or throws the most touchdowns? That guy gets the job.”

Mayfield and Trask could see starting units from three top-10 defenses during the preseason come August, which could aid the Bucs’ decision all the more. Tampa Bay hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 11, visits the New York Jets on August 19, and hosts the Baltimore Ravens on August 26.

Bucs Well Aware of Baker Mayfield’s Turnover Issues

While Mayfield had his share of success with the Cleveland Browns to start his career, turnovers came along all too often. He has 64 interceptions and 36 fumbles in 72 career games — 60 with Cleveland.

Bucs head coach Todd Bowles didn’t duck from that reality when asked about it during mandatory minicamp on June 15. Bowles didn’t have trouble with Brady throwing interceptions in 2022 with only nine, but Brady had five of the Bucs’ 17 fumbles last year.

“I have to see all of [Mayfield’s interceptions] first to see what kind they were,” Bowles told reporters. “But you try to get the ball out of his hands and make sure he’s making the right read.”

“If the guy is covered, try and throw it out of bounds,” Bowles added. “If you’re a quarterback, you’re going to take some chances and you’re going to have some turnovers – just try to limit them as much as we can.”