Bucs Insider: Rookie QB Could Nab Tom Brady’s Backup Job

Kyle Trask

Getty Buccaneers rookie Kyle Trask could challenge for the first backup quarterback spot behind Tom Brady.

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Florida quarterback Kyle Trask with an eye to the future, he could move up the depth chart sooner than later.

That’s the way Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times sees it, referring to the primary backup quarterback role behind Tom Brady as one of the “most interesting depth-chart battles” going into the June 7-9 minicamp. The Bucs also have organized team activities Tuesday-Thursday this week and again on June 1-3 before the minicamp.

Tampa has Trask, the team’s second-round draft pick, in addition to veterans Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin. Both veterans re-signed with the Bucs for one-year deals.

Trask had the spotlight for May 14-15 at the Bucs rookie minicamp as the lone quarterback competing amid rookies and veterans vying for roster spots. He showed enough progress that Arians actually asked the coaching staff “to back off and allow Trask to sling it on his own a bit more” per CBS Sports Tyler Sullivan.

“I thought he was great,” Arians told the media, per Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith. “I thought he was fantastic. He’s got three guys coaching the s— out of him on each play, so they need to calm down and let him go. I’m really pleased with where he’s at right now.”

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Trask’s Progress in Rookie Minicamp

Knight noted that Arians liked Trask’s “ability to process information and find the open receiver.” Arians also complimented Trask’s handling of disguised coverages per WTSP’s Grace Remington.

Trask notably made quality throws to rookie wideout Jaelon Darden, undrafted wideout T.J. Simmons, and veteran Amara Darboh. Trask’s completions included a slant to Darden, which Sports Illustrated’s All Bucs caught on video. Things didn’t go perfectly for Trask, who had some incompletions and an interception, which Knight shared on social media.

Inevitable growing pains aside, Trask does have the similarities between the Bucs and Florida’s offensive approaches to his benefit, Knight noted.

“I definitely noticed some resemblance of this offense to the offense I ran at Florida, and there’s some concepts that are pretty much the same but different verbiage for it,” Trask told reporters on May 14. “I’m studying like crazy, so I’ve been picking plays up at a good pace so far. I’ve only had a small portion of the playbook obviously because we’ve only been able to study it for a couple weeks.”

Gabbert and Griffin Come With Experience

Trask’s competitors for the top backup spot each have a couple years under their belts in Arians’ system. Gabbert and Griffin both arrived in Tampa in 2019 as free agents. Gabbert played sparingly in 2020 behind Brady, getting mop-up duty in a rout at Detroit in December 2020. Griffin hasn’t played a snap since 2019 after being the third quarterback last year.

Gabbert, who held the No. 2 spot all season in 2020, accumulated  48 career starts in 10 seasons. The former No. 10 draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars has  9,206 passing yards, 50 touchdowns, and a 56.2 career completion percentage. Knight wrote that Gabbert is “first out of the bullpen at this point.” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in February that he likes Gabbert’s potential even as a potential successor to Brady.

“He’s very accurate with his throws as well and he can just really whistle them in, in tight windows,” Licht said per Pewter Report’s Taylor Jenkins. “If he had been forced to play, he played in the Detroit game, but if he had been forced to play more, I think that he would have really opened a lot of people’s eyes about how talented he is, especially being in the same system for a couple of years.”

The Bucs likewise have seen positives from Griffin in action, particularly in preseason games. Buccaneers.com’s Scott Smith noted that Griffin looked “particularly sharp” in the 2019 preseason.

Trask meanwhile comes in as a potential successor to Brady with the learning curve of an NFL rookie ahead of him. Arians for now likes what the first steps of rookie minicamp looked like for Trask.

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