For every club around the NFL during the bustling offseason, many questions occupy headlines as a new season looms. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023, the question that pervades is who will start at quarterback? Not only will there be a new face under center following the retirement of Tom Brady, but also a retooled offense/playbook under Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales. There will be competition at every position throughout the offseason workout program, with each unit being evaluated as turnover shifts the depth chart. Next up in the series, let’s take a look at the quarterback position.
In March, the Buccaneers agreed to terms with sixth-year quarterback Baker Mayfield on a one-year contract, marking their first acquisition of free agency. Mayfield joins third-year man Kyle Trask to compete for the starting role under center for the Bucs in 2023. Both will vie to replace Tom Brady, who retired on February 1 after leading Tampa Bay to three straight playoff appearances and a victory in Super Bowl LV. Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales shed light on the factors that will make the determination come fall.
“I think philosophically for me, coming from Seattle, the best guy gets the job,” Canales stated. “You saw it happen last year, firsthand. It was Geno Smith, it was Drew Lock, and it was a true competition. You had a guy who hadn’t played in a long time, and you had a guy who had some pretty bad experiences in the recent past with Drew. For me, it’s a win-win when you create a competition. Here’s why: if you name a starter today, the backup guy starts thinking like a backup. But if you say, this is a competition, we’re going to allow us to go into the preseason and let them show us that they can manage to get us into the right play, they can take care of the ball – that’s going to be the determining factor, really, who takes care of the ball. The bonus is who pushes it down the field. If we can play great defense, run it, and take care of the ball – we’re going to be a great team. The guy who can show that is going to win the job.”
Baker Mayfield, who is 28, has an edge in experience, having passed for 16,288 yards and 102 touchdowns in six NFL seasons with the Browns, Panthers and Rams. In contrast, Kyle Trask, 25, has only been active for two games over a span of two seasons, appearing in the low-stakes regular-season finale at Atlanta last year in which he completed 3 of 9 passes for 23 yards. Even though both are starting from scratch in…