Backing up Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is an important (if sometimes boring) job, and we already know who will — and will not — be doing it.
Bucs QB coach Clyde Christensen spoke to the media on Tuesday and said that Kyle Trask, the young quarterback the Bucs took in the second round of the 2021 draft, will not be battling with Blaine Gabbert for the backup job.
“I don’t see him competing with (Blaine) Gabbert (for the backup job) this year,” Christensen said via the Tampa Bay Times. “He could do it, just all the odds are stacked against you. You can’t rep everybody, it’s hard to get Gabbert enough reps. So we’ll prepare Gabbert as the No. 2.”
Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich summed up the issue with Trask, which is that no one has actually been able to put eyes on him taking reps.
“We like where Kyle’s at, we just haven’t seen it, none of us,” Leftwich acknowledged.
“None of us has seen it. The only thing we’ve got is preseason reps. I think he’s gotten drastically better from the last time he stepped on the grass, we’ve just got to see it. And he hasn’t had the opportunity to actually be on the grass playing.”
With Gabbert installed as the backup, it's going to remain hard to get Trask some quality reps where the coaching staff can actually watch and evaluate him. But Christensen said that Trask will be put to work doing just that at OTAs.
“The (organized team activities), we’re going to put a premium, a priority, on getting him reps and seeing what he’s like,” Christensen said.
“It’s just hard to judge anyone until you get quality reps against a defense. So that’s one of our goals in this camp. We’ve got three other veteran guys who really don’t need a ton of it, so we’re going to give him a bunch of reps and get a good, good look at him.”
Things have changed since last season
When Brady unexpectedly retired in January, it was thought that Trask could eventually be his replacement. Former head coach Bruce Arians had great things to say about him before the start of the 2021 season.
“Mentally-wise, he’s not far behind what Andrew did in the same offense, and what Andrew did that [rookie] year [in 2012] is unbelievable,” Arians said before the 2021 season, per the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m not saying he’s Andrew Luck, but mentally he’s still really sharp.”
But so much has changed since then. Brady un-retired just 40 days after his retirement announcement, and Arians transitioned to a front office role. Todd Bowles, who had served as defensive coordinator since 2019, was elevated to head coach. He hasn't directly commented on Trask, but Christensen's comments make it clear that the team thinks he needs another developmental year.
On the bright side, Trask gets another year to watch Brady work. He'd probably rather be playing, but watching the GOAT is a decent consolation prize.