Bucs Want to Change Course on Veteran Quarterback: Report

Todd Bowles

Getty Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles.

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers parted ways with veteran quarterback John Wolford on Monday, August 28, that might not mark the end for him in pewter and red.

FOX Sports’ Greg Auman reported that the Bucs hope to get Wolford on the practice squad but will only have two quarterbacks on the roster. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the news of Wolford’s release.

Tampa Bay will start Baker Mayfield at quarterback and have Kyle Trask as the backup. The Bucs signed Wolford in the offseason as the third quarterback on the roster.

Wolford only played in the first two preseason games and never saw the field in the finale. He went 10-17 for 111 yards and a touchdown in the opener on August 11 and 4-4 for 57 yards in the second game on August 19. He suffered a neck injury the preseason but returned to practice on August 22.

An undrafted free agent in 2018, Wolford first signed with the New York Jets where he spent time on the practice squad. Wolford then had a stint with the Alliance of American Football in 2019 before he signed with the Los Angeles Rams that year.

In four seasons with the Rams, Wolford made seven game appearances, including four starts. He completed 58.7% of his passes for 626 yards and a touchdown versus 5 interceptions.

Wolford and Mayfield were teammates in Los Angeles for a brief time last season when Mayfield joined the Rams in December. Mayfield signed with the Bucs in March and won the starting job on August 22.

Bucs OC Dave Canales Called John Wolford ‘Smartest Guy in the Room’

If Wolford returns to Tampa on the practice squad, it will come as no surprise. Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales expressed high regard for Wolford in a June podcast interview with Pewter Report.

“John’s fantastic,” Canales told Pewter Report. “He’s for sure — hands down — the smartest guy in the room. It’s not even close. He’s funny. He’s constant … I just love being around him. I heard great things about him through [Seahawks offensive coordinator] Shane [Waldron, who came from the Rams] and so when we had an opportunity to bring him in, he and I had a great conversation, and he came in and killed it.”

Canales noted that Wolford mixed well with Mayfield and Trask — both of whom were in competition for the starting job.

“We have a good room, and the chemistry is great,” Canales told Pewter Report. “I try to create an environment where it’s like, ‘Guys, we’re helping each other; if we help all of us, we’re all going to be better off at the end of this year.’ It’s been a really good group.”

The Bucs Could Bring Back ‘Sandman’

Canales also talked about Wolford’s value in practice drills and gave him the nickname “Sandman” in the process.

“I call him the Sandman because he’s our closer,” Canales told Pewter Report. “He gets the last two or three reps of a period, and he just comes in and dials it up.”

“He’s fantastic, and one of the coolest things to me is it’s a great feeling for a quarterback coach or an offensive coordinator when you know before the play starts where the ball should go, and it goes there. That’s John Wolford. He’s just like, ‘Alright, so this ball should go to the backline right here, and there it is, bang.’ Perfect, great job, John.”

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