Despite swirling speculation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being set on Kyle Trask as the starting quarterback, head coach Todd Bowles doesn’t see it that way.
“I didn’t say he could be No. 1 yet,” Bowles told Tampa area reporters at the NFL Combine on Tuesday, February 28, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I just said he can compete. I said he can compete. I see the work ethic. I see the toughness. I see the willingness to get better every day.”
Tampa Bay drafted Trask in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft with the idea of him becoming a possible successor to Tom Brady. Trask sat for almost all of the past two seasons as Brady kept playing. Brady retired on February 1, and Trask remains the only Bucs quarterback under contract.
“It’s hard to get reps when you have a guy like Tom Brady in front of you all the time,” Bowles said. “He will have the opportunity to compete to become No. 1, if he can become No. 1 which is all you can ask for in this league. You don’t give anybody anything.”
Trask’s Play Merits Competition for the Starting Job
Trask’s play in two seasons with the Bucs hasn’t screamed future NFL star yet.
He threw for two touchdowns versus four interceptions in six preseason games. He finally saw his first regular season action, 10 snaps, in a 2022 Week 18 game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Bucs listed him as a healthy scratch for all of 2021 and most of 2022, and he never made it higher than third string on the depth chart behind Blaine Gabbert.
“We will bring in competition. At the same time, I like his work ethic,” Bowles said. “I like his determination. He’s one of those guys when the camera is off, he’s working. And that is what you can appreciate about him. And that’s the best I can tell you.”
The Bucs will need to sign at least one more quarterback through free agency and/or the draft.
Trask Could Repeat History, Bucs GM Hopes
Trask has a history of working behind the scenes for a while and then shining when he takes the field.
It happened in both high school and college, and he became a Heisman Trophy finalist with the Florida Gators in the process. Whether or not that translates to the NFL remains to be seen — which Bucs general manager Jason Licht acknowledged.
“We’re very excited about him getting the opportunity to be the starter — we’d be very comfortable with that,” Licht told reporters at the combine on Tuesday. “[We’re] excited — I’ve used that word already but I really am — for him to get a chance to be with the starters in offseason, starters in training camp, starters in preseason, which he’s never done.”
“He was a successful quarterback in the SEC — I mean, wildly successful. We took him in the second round for a reason — we didn’t take him in the second round just to be a third-string quarterback,” Licht added. “Now, it has yet to be seen what he turns out to be, but we’re confident that it’s going to be very good.”