Tom Brady is now officially both a current player and a broadcast analyst-in-waiting, so Kyle Trask’s time should be just around the corner, right?
If only it were that easy.
Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen tossed cold water on the possibility of Trask playing a larger role with Tampa Bay in 2022. Instead of battling to be Brady’s understudy, it’s back to the bench and the books for the second-year QB.
“I don’t see him competing with (Blaine) Gabbert (for the backup job) this year,” Christensen told reporters Tuesday, 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.”
Brady’s brief retirement forced the Buccaneers to confront a reality in which they’d have to send out the veteran backup Gabbert as their starter and get Trask ready to play — or have them duke it out for the No. 1 job in training camp. This, of course, being the scenario if they couldn’t find a way to snag a quarterback via trade (for Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield, perhaps).
Then Brady ended his 40 days in the non-football desert by returning with a hunger for more, surprising many, relieving the Bucs and confirming to Christensen what he already knew: Trask would get the year he needed to continue to develop.
“I see Gabbert being a backup and Kyle being a developmental guy, and we’ll rep them that way,” Christensen said, adding if Trask suddenly outplayed Brady by a remarkable margin, they’d reconsider their approach, though “the percentage chance of that happening isn’t very good, and we frankly can’t operate that way.”
This has been the theme with Trask, a 2021 second-round pick out of Florida, dating back to his high school days. He’s a gradual developer who has gotten to this point by trusting the process and enjoying the results — eventually.
“And sometimes it doesn’t feel like it may be necessary at the time, but I think he would tell you that he needs another year,” Christensen said. “He kind of has a methodical development to him that I think he’s following the same pattern he followed in high school and college.”
The main hurdle isn’t necessarily Trask’s performance, but lack of chances to perform. With the rest of the quarterback room already well-seasoned, Christensen said Tuesday that Trask will receive a significant amount of reps in spring workouts and organized team activities — but not when it comes time to play the games that count.
“I’m glad we didn’t have to find out opening day this year,” Christensen said. “That gives us another year to keep developing him and see, and this offseason, that’s one of the priorities.”
Tampa Bay’s stance on the quarterback room isn’t so much an indictment of Trask as it is a fact of the Buccaneers’ current reality: They have Brady for another year, and they’re here to win now. Gabbert — a player Christensen remains rather high on — provides the most security behind Brady.
Trask brings the element of the unknown, and in response, he’s in line to receive another “redshirt year” while also buying him “another year to develop and watch one of the best in the business (Brady) do his deal.”
“We like where Kyle’s at, we just haven’t seen it, none of us,” offensive coordinator Byron 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.”
Tampa Bay hopes to get him more of those opportunities, starting with this week. Just don’t expect to see No. 2 right behind Brady on the depth chart any time soon. His time is more likely to come once Brady truly walks away from the game — whenever that ends up happening.
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