Is Trask up to the task for Tampa Bay?

by Gary Shelton on March 10, 2022

in general

Could Trask be the Bucs' choice?/TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

At least, now we know who the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Bucs won't be.

It won't be Aaron Rodgers, who will continue to do his lying on the frozen tundra. Rodgers just signed a contract that will take him from filthy rich to stinking rich. With that kind of money, he can pay people to believe he's telling the truth.

It won't be Russell Wilson, who is leaving Seattle for Denver for a fistful of draft picks, certainly more than the Bucs could afford to pay.

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It won't even be Carson Wentz (whew), who is taking his Underachievement Tour to Washington , a place that knows all about not living up to the hype. Fortunately, Washington can try again next season.

And, if you take him at his word, it won't be Tom Brady, either. Brady says he's retired, not that the internet guys believe him. One guy passes a "strong" rumor that Brady is coming back, and the next says it's "very strong," and before you know it, we have a war of modifiers.

I don't believe it will be Blaine Gabbert, who has never won very much. Coach Bruce Arians points out that Gabbert has had eight coaches and eight coordinators, but some of that is because bad quarterbacks get coaches fired. I don't think it will be Jimmy Garappolo or Jameis Winston or Teddy Bridgewater or Deshaun Watson.

So who?

Could it be ... Kyle Trask?

At this point, we don't know, because last year, Trask was just a face in the team picture. He didn't take a snap, and he didn't throw a pass. He was barely allowed to sweat in practice. In other words, Trask was a ghost.

Yes, but there had to be some reason that the Bucs spent their second-round draft pick on Trask, who obviously didn't help the team in last year's title defense. They picked him to eventually make a run at being Brady's successor, right? So if he can't make a run now, when the job is open, then when?

Consider this. Last year, Brady threw 43 touchdown passes for the Bucs. The year before, in 12 games, Trask threw 43 touchdown passes (in 12 games) for Florida.

Interesting, huh?

But no one backs up from as far away as one of Brady's backups. So while Mac Jones was winning 10 games for the Patriots, while Trevor Lawrence was starting 17 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Trask was in football limbo. To believe in him now, you have to believe that college stats mean something (they don't; ask Andre Ware and David Klingler and a dozen other flops). You would have to believe that a rookie can keep a team winning (they can't. Lawrence won three games. In 13 starts, the Jets' Zac Wilson and the Bears' Justin Fields won two.

It's hard to win with a first-year quarterback. The best ones are drafted by teams that don't have many other players. Even Jones, who beat Buffalo and Tennessee last year), lost four of his last five starts.

Oh, the trouble is this. Even without Brady, the rest of the roster is a lot more playoff-ready than a quarterback who has yet to throw his first pass as a pro. A new quarterback takes time to ripen. The Bucs are not built to play with a quarterback who is dragged along by his team.

But is there a choice?

The problem is this: Unless Brady changes his mind, and unless the Texans ask for a serious return instead of the pie-in-the-sky requests they've received for Watson, the Bucs are to choose between a retread or a draft pick. If Trask really is a prospect, then it's time to find out if he can play.

So why haven't the Bucs handed him the keys to the offense? Why should they? Why not keep pressure off of him for as long as they can? If he has a good off-season, you can always rave about him then. You can't win anything in March.

Besides, you know what will make Trask a fan favorite.

Watching Gabbert play.

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