Few players were impacted as heavily by Tom Brady’s return from retirement than Bucs 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask.
With the seven-time Super Bowl champion back in the mix, Trask went from potentially competing for the starting job to falling back for yet another redshirt year. Tampa Bay is better off for it, and Trask likely is, too. Even still, it has to be difficult for the former Florida Gator in a sense.
While he finds himself in a good situation, Trask won’t see much of the field for the second straight season. Other quarterbacks drafted in his class, such as Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, New York’s Zach Wilson and New England’s Mac Jones, started as rookies. Trask didn’t dress for a single game day last year. In fact, he likely won’t get a chance to see meaningful action until 2023, when he’ll be 25 years old.
However, speaking after Tuesday’s OTA practice, Trask made it clear that he isn’t interested in what he can’t control. Instead, he’s working on taking his game to the next level and making sure he’s ready whenever the Bucs do call his number.
It’s that type of attitude that served him well in high school when he sat behind D’Eriq King. It proved valuable for him again at Florida, where he initially had to sit behind Feleipe Franks. When he finally got on the field, he rapidly became the best quarterback to wear orange and blue since Tim Tebow. His record-setting 2020 season is what landed him in Tampa as a second-round pick.
Heading into the 2022 season, Trask said he is happy with his progress while also recognizing more work needs to be done.
“I’m really proud of myself for the strides I’ve taken [thus] far,” Trask said Tuesday. “I’ve still got a ways to go for sure. But I’m on the right track.”
Trask Enters 2022 More Confident And In Better Shape
For Trask, part of being on the right track includes eating better and trimming down. The ultimate result is that, at a lighter weight, he can play quicker on his feet. He already dropped seven or eight pounds – “bad weight” as he called it – while putting on muscle.
“All throughout last year, I really tried to clean up my eating and trim down and just get as quick on my feet as possible,” he said. “And that’s definitely been one of my focal points this offseason. I think I’ve kind of hit my goal weight and now I’m just trying to maintain and just keep on getting quicker.”
Bucs QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Trask said fewer cheat meals is the key to his continued progress. He is sticking to steak, chicken, rice and whatever is offered at the AdventHealth Training Center, which he says is healthier. But he’s not only leaner – he’s also more confident. Fourth-year cornerback Jamel Dean said Tuesday that, as someone who is on the other side of the field from Trask, he can see the growth.
“I feel like he’s gaining more confidence in himself. From last year to this year, you can see he just made that huge jump as if he’s getting to understand the game more (and getting) a feel for it,” Dean said. “As time goes on, I feel like he’s just gonna continue to get better.”
More than a year into his time in the Bucs’ system, Trask is getting more and more familiar with everything that’s expected of an NFL quarterback. He is also learning how to read different looks that he’ll see from opposing defenses.
“In college, you grasp a playbook after a few camps and you’re good to go. I think the NFL game is way more complex,” Trask said. “You see a lot more defenses and coverages. Definitely a lot of new fronts and blitzes. Every team has their own scheme and they all have their own packages of fronts and blitzes and coverages and things like that. So, it’s just way more complex.”
Coming into OTAs, Bucs coaches said they wanted to see their second-year quarterback take a lot of reps. On Tuesday, head coach Todd Bowles said they’re happy with what they’re seeing.
“He’s picking up the scheme well. He’s making all the right reads right now and we’re getting to see him in some competitive periods that’s making him make some quick decisions,” Bowles said. “And we like what we see.”
Another Year For Trask To Learn From Brady
The Bucs drafted Trask knowing they had Brady under contract for 2022 and 2023. So, if anything, this was the plan before Brady’s brief retirement. And now that he’s back, it’s business as usual. Who better to learn from than Brady? A quarterback doesn’t play more than two decades in the league and win seven Super Bowls by accident. His work ethic and preparation are the stuff of legends. Trask gets to see that firsthand.
Bucs QBs Tom Brady and Kyle Trask – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“He prepares like no other. He prepares more than I’m sure a lot of other quarterbacks in this league are willing to do. That’s kind of what separates him,” Trask said. “Ultimately, it comes down to his love of the game and wanting to be the best. That’s just a really special opportunity for me to be able to see that firsthand … I’m gonna try to see how much more I can learn from him this year.”
Between the work ethic, attention to detail, mastery of the offense and all of the wisdom that comes with more than 20 years in the NFL, Brady has a lot to offer a young quarterback.
We’ve seen such arrangements work before. Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for three years. Patrick Mahomes backed up Alex Smith during his rookie year. The Titans are hoping the same type of results occur with 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis working with Ryan Tannehill. Whether it works for the Bucs with Brady and Trask remains to be seen. But for now, the 24-year-old isn’t taking the opportunity for granted.
“Luckily, I’m in a really good room of quarterbacks and I get to learn from them every single day,” Trask said. “And I think that as long as I just keep stacking these [good] days, then I’m on the right track.”