Skip to main content

Jason Licht, Buccaneers 'hyper-focused' on QB competition between Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask 

For the first time in Jason Licht's tenure as Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager, the club will conduct a true quarterback battle.

With practices opening this week, Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are set to duel for the starting gig, which Licht noted on Tuesday is the focal point of the entire camp and preseason in Tampa.

"One thing I'm looking forward to is, this is really the first time since I've been here, and I'm going on Year 10, of a true quarterback competition," Licht said, via the team's official website. "One thing I'm looking forward to is just how hyper-focused we're going to be in those practices here at the beginning of camp for the first few weeks, at least. Just to see who takes the next step forward. People can have in their head, 'Well, it seems like it's for sure going to be this person or it's not going to be this person,' but until we're out there, anything can happen. It's going to be a lot of fun just to really focus on how this is going to play out."

Following Tom Brady's (latest) retirement, the Bucs inked Mayfield to a one-year deal, giving the former No. 1 overall pick one more chance to prove he can be an everyday starter. The signing pits Mayfield against Trask, a second-round pick in 2021 who has appeared in a single game in two seasons and attempted nine total passes (completing three).

The assumption is that Mayfield wins the gig going away, given his experience, the Bucs' desire to remain competitive in a wide-open NFC South and Trask's inexperience and wonky play when he did hit the field.

But all offseason, the Bucs brass, from the GM down to all the coaches, have propped up Trask as having a legit shot at unseating Mayfield, who has also dealt with injury issues during his career.

Licht again spoke highly of both QBs entering camp.

"It's probably the same things that we've been saying for a long time about Kyle -- the inner strength that he has, the inner confidence, nothing is too big for him," Licht said. "He's had to sit and wait for his opportunity his entire football career and has done that now. Nothing seems too big for him, once again. He's made tremendous strides here just this spring from where he was when we first got him. And then with Baker, he's full of energy, he does all the right things, he's working his butt off, he has a little bit of an attraction to him because of the energy that he has out there. But, once again, once the bullets start flying and we start playing, people [and] players gravitate to the player that they think is going to give them the best opportunity to win."

Head coach Todd Bowles won't publicly note his planned timeline for choosing a starting quarterback other than saying it'll work itself out during the preseason.

"Like I said, I've got a timetable in my head," Bowles said. "Obviously, it will be [decided in the] preseason -- I'm not going to make it in the regular season. I have a timeline in my head, I've got my notes down. We talked as an offensive staff and as a coaching staff and we understand where we're going. They know where I'm at and they know how I feel, so we'll go with that."

With camps gearing up this week, there will be plenty of battles to track in the coming weeks -- the QB tussle in Tampa among the most intriguing.

Related Content