Inside Buccaneers’ QB1 competition: Where Baker Mayfield stands and why Kyle Trask is gaining respect

Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask battle it out to earn top QB spot for the Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask battle it out to earn top QB spot for the Buccaneers

One of the better quarterback competitions that few are paying attention to is taking place in Tampa Bay. Baker Mayfield, selected with the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, is battling Kyle Trask, the second-round pick of the franchise in 2021.

According to people in the organization and some Buccaneers players, the competition is a lot closer than many think.

Players I’ve heard from say that while there is a contrast in styles between the two quarterbacks, there’s not a big drop off in play from one to the other. It’s been very competitive on the field between Mayfield and Trask. Who will be the Week 1 starter? Right now it seems the competition for QB1 in Tampa Bay is wide open.

Mayfield has been much more assertive and a take-control type of signal caller during practice. His elusiveness and ability to escape the rush has been impressive. He’s also taken a lot more chances with the football and has thrown significantly more interceptions in practice than Trask.

In contrast, Trask has been less vocal on the field, yet players have been impressed with his work ethic. As explained to me, Trask does whatever is necessary to get the job done. Coaches have been impressed with Trask’s arm, which is significantly stronger than Mayfield’s. The receivers have been impressed with the consistency of his passing, and many have passed the comment that Trask has been unflappable on the field.

Buccaneers QB1 conundrum: Baker Mayfield vs Kyle Trask

The belief is that the Buccaneers front office and coaching staff have still not made a final decision on who will be the week one starter. If Mayfield does end up the starter he’ll need to get off to a hot start. People close to the situation tell me the team won’t hesitate to put Trask under center if Mayfield falters. This of course assumes Trask is not the starter come the first week of the season.

Either quarterback will be at a disadvantage come Week 1, as the Buccaneers have limited depth at the receiver position. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have starred for the franchise and will continue to do so. Russell Gage, a free agent singing this past off season, was expected to be the team’s third receiver but was just recently lost to a season-ending knee injury. After that, it’s journeymen and rookies on the roster including sixth-round pick Trey Palmer, who will now be heavily relied upon.

On the other side of the ball, I’m told signs are pointing to first round pick Calijah Kancey being on the active roster for Week 1, though nothing is definite at this point. Kancey was carted off the field on July 30 with a right leg injury and could not put weight on his leg. He underwent an MRI, and to the relief of Kancey and the organization, the results showed a calf strain.

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Edited by Tony Pauline
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