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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kyle Trask Excited About Bucs' "Creative" New Scheme

Third-year QB Kyle Trask, who is competing with Baker Mayfield for the starting job, thinks the combination of Dave Canales's offense and the Bucs' weapons will produce a lot of explosive plays


After trading Russell Wilson to Denver last offseason, the Seattle Seahawks held a competition for their starting spot between holdover Geno Smith and Drew Lock, who had come back in that swap with Denver. Given that both Smith and Lock had logged all of three starts for their respective teams the year before, it wasn't necessarily a contest that caught the imagination of the viewing public.

Smith, who had actually only started five games over a six-year span as a reserve for three different teams, won the job and then proceeded to perform so well that he was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year. The Seahawks won nine games and made the playoffs while Smith completed 70% of his passes for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was, to put it simply, a revelation and one of the NFL's best stories in 2022.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently in the early stages of a QB competition of their own, and it also features one holdover (Kyle Trask) and one new addition (Baker Mayfield). Trask, a second-round pick in 2021, has even less experience going into than Smith or Lock did, with no career starts, though Mayfield started 10 games for two teams last year and has opened 69 contests over five seasons.

It might be a bit too optimistic to expect 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns from whomever wins the Bucs' job, but Trask and Mayfield have another thing in common with Smith and Lock. The Seahawks offense was coordinated by Shane Waldron, who came to Seattle from the Rams and the Sean McVay coaching tree. The Buccaneers' new coordinator Dave Canales is another branch on that tree, as he worked under Waldron for the past two seasons. The Buccaneers' new scheme is obviously expected to bear some resemblance to what Smith played in last year. And to Trask, it already looks quite appealing.

"Just how creative the offense is," said Trask about what has stood out about the playbook in the early part of the team's set of OTA practices. "I think everybody has really bought into the scheme and I am just really looking forward to seeing how it looks versus a defense. You see what they did in Seattle with Geno and the weapons they had. I think with our weapons we are due for some really explosive plays."

Trask is getting his first chance to compete for the starting job for the obvious reason: Tom Brady was at the helm of the Bucs' offense during his first two years in Tampa. Trask got the advantage of working alongside the G.O.A.T. for two years, but he only got to throw nine regular-season passes in that span, and when he did it was within a system tailored to a true pocket passer whose strength was never his mobility. Brady's retirement and the free agency departure of Blaine Gabbert led to the current makeup of the Bucs' QB room (which also includes former Ram John Wolford); a desire to go in a different direction in terms of scheme led to the switch in coordinators from Byron Leftwich to Canales.

"Yeah, I would say our old scheme from the last couple of years was definitely more geared toward throwing from the pocket," said Trask. "This new scheme allows you to get outside the pocket and use your legs more. That's really exciting for me. As a quarterback, anytime you can get out on the edge it's really exciting to throw one on the run or get outside the pocket and make a play [or] run for a first down or something like that."

This offseason, Trask has focused on his eating habits and getting leaner and has trimmed five to 10 pounds from his frame. That will only help him for the parts of the new playbook that will put the quarteback on the move. Trask responded to the notion that he is a pocket passer with limited mobility with a sense of humor, but his head coach, Todd Bowles, insisted that the young quarterback is a better runner than people think.

"Well, I guess that argument is so subjective depending on who you ask," said Trask. "I'd like to be labeled as a mobile quarterback – that would be pretty cool – but I would like to think that I am able to get out on the edge and get first downs if I need to."

The Bucs' new scheme will ask their quarterbacks to do some different things than the position has featured in recent seasons. For Trask, the most important thing is that he's getting to do a lot more.

"He's getting the reps," said Bowles. "When you get more reps, you get more confidence. Obviously, and rightfully so, with Tom there last year and Blaine there, he didn't get the reps he should get. He's getting a lot of reps right now. It's really an indoctrination of his rookie year – getting all the reps he's getting. As he gets those reps, he gets more confidence so he's happy to be playing."

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