Bucs ready to start their 2021 season

by Gary Shelton on August 13, 2021

in general

Kyle Trask ready to start career./TIM WIRT

Friday, 3 a.m.

Let's be honest. Preseason football is a tease.

Yeah, it looks like an NFL game. It sounds like an NFL game. Heck, it costs like an NFL game. But it doesn't feel like an NFL game, and it doesn't count like an NFL game. Compared to a game that matters, preseason football is a dress rehearsal, a glorified practice.

Until this year.

For the Bucs, this will be the most anticipated preseason in team history. More than the first preseason. More than the 2003 season, the last time the Bucs were defending a Super Bowl title. More than all the years the Bucs were breaking in a new head coach or a new quarterback.

This time, the expectations are as high as the Bucs have ever had. Which makes Saturday's preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengal the first step of what most fans believe will be a successful journey.

Oh, don't make a mistake. It's still preseason football, which means that most of the game will be played by guys will be selling insurance very soon. No one will remember the final score.

Still, it is football, and it is the first course on the menu. That is, until the weather changes things.

"Not the rain, it would be the field conditions." said Bucs coach Bruce Arians. "That would be the only thing. I would go out and check. Hopefully while they're playing it's still okay. So, yeah, it could change. It could change."

Quarterback Tom Brady does plan to play.

“We’re really going to see where we are at after this game," Brady said. "You can make different predictions and so forth. This is where we’re at, this is what we’re going to do and so forth, but the reality is you have to go out there and do it. Every team this year has a lot of hope. The reality is by the end of September a lot of teams will start losing hope and by the end of October some teams will be out of it already. It happens really quick.

"Right now you have 32 teams that all think they’re going to be the team that wins it. You want to put yourself in a position to play well in training camp so you can be ready for the opener. You want to play well in September so you can be ready for October. This is all just a part of the process of getting ready. I have a lot of confidence in our team. I’ve played with our guys for a year now and I know what it’s like in the huddle with them. I know how we can work throughout the week, how we can put together a plan and that will give a great opportunity to go out there and be successful.”

The thing about preseason football, however, is that you're probably going to see more of rookie Kyle Trask than of Brady, more of Joe Tryon than of Shaq Barrett, more of Jaelon Darden than of Mike Evans. If the young guys interest you, it's easier to find entertainment value."

"Kyle's doing a great job," Brady said. "From the day that he got here he's a very hard-worker. Clyde [Christensen] works extremely hard with him to get him ready to go. Kyle's out here early, stays late, works with the younger guys. All the things that you're really looking for in a young player. It's just got to be a huge priority in your life. If you want to be doing this job for a long time you've got to make it a huge priority. You really don't know what you don't know at this point. You're one year in or two years in or three years in or five years in, and as somebody who's 22 years in, what I knew at five years in is very different than what I knew at Year 10 and very different than how I feel now. "

Trask is ready to get started.

"It means a lot (to play in his first game)," Trask said. "Growing up, watching NFL football, having the chance to play in any kind of game, I'm super excited. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play and do the best I can. I'm not completely sure how they're going to divvy it up and things like that. All I know is that I've just got to go out there and make the most of my reps."

Weather permitting, the game will start at 7:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.

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