TAMPA ― Quarterback Kyle Trask looked the part. In his first Bucs’ rookie minicamp practice Friday, he was the man — the only man ― under center.
Trask spit out every play. He tried to read every defense. He made every throw during the less-than-90-minute practice. Most were on target.
Trask made one egregious mistake. He underthrew an out route (or receiver Jaelon Darden ran the wrong depth) that Navy undrafted free-agent cornerback Cameron Kinley intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
By the fall, Trask will be submarined on the depth chart behind Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin.
But right now, you have to use a different set of chains to measure Trask’s forward progress.
“I think he grasped it very well,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “He was throwing the ball where it’s supposed to go. He had a couple drops on him, but I thought he looked really good.
“Just the way he processes information. He took it from the first time ever hearing it, and he was throwing it to the right guy. He was throwing against some really well-disguised coverages that he saw for the first day of his career. I was real impressed how he processed his information. He was very accurate.”
There’s one thing Arians was sure to mention. The Bucs have begun to spoon-feed Trask the offense. But with each day as a Bucs quarterback, it will become more like drinking from a firehose.
“Whatever we threw at him today? He’s not practicing it tomorrow,” Arians said. “It’s all new (Saturday), and it will be all new Sunday. We throw as much at them as we possibly can. Different protections and hots and sights for all those receivers and the quarterbacks and tight ends. As much volume as we can possibly load up them up with and see how much they retain when we get them back.”
Trask knows he has a lot to digest when it comes to the Bucs’ scheme, its terminology and passing concepts. But already he is seeing similarities between Arians’ offense and what he operated so flawlessly for two seasons with the Florida Gators.
“There are some concepts that are pretty much the same, but there’s different verbiage for it,” Trask said before his first workout on Friday. “So that’s another thing that has helped me transition thus far to learning the playbook, and I’m just looking to build off that. It hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been studying it like crazy. ... I’ve been picking up the plays at a good pace so far.”
Trask is used to starting at the bottom, having spent most of his high school years in Texas as a backup to D’Eriq King, who went on to start for the Houston Cougars and Miami Hurricanes, and sitting behind Feleipe Franks at Florida before getting his shot two years ago.
Brady is signed through the 2022 season, when he will be 45. The Bucs have said Brady can play quarterback for them as long as he wants.
Trask, of course, is anxious to play but used to waiting.
“For me, I’m just trying to come in with an open mind and work as hard as I possibly can and do whatever I can to help the team win,” he said. “When you’re a backup for however many years that was, you learn that you’ve got to compete every single day. There’s no days off.
“If your goal is to step on that field one day, you’ve got to compete every single day, and that’s something I’ve taken with me once I was a starter at Florida, because it’s one thing to finally be the starter but it’s another thing to stay there and get to where you can take that next level.”
It has ben a whirlwind for Trask and the Bucs’ other draft picks. Two weeks ago, they became NFL players. Wednesday, they arrived in Tampa. Thursday, they took physicals and began their classroom work. On Friday, they held a walk-through in the morning, broke for more meetings and lunch, then hit the field.
Eventually, Trask will get to sit and watch how Brady prepares and performs. Brady texted the former Gators star a couple days after the draft and invited him to begin throwing with him and the other quarterbacks. That could presumably happen as early as next week.
Trask was asked what his expectations are of working so closely with Brady.
“I’m not, like, sitting here setting expectations of what I want to get out of somebody,” Trask said. “It’s definitely just a privilege to be in the same room as someone who’s been that successful in the NFL and try to pick up on as many tips as you can. It was definitely pretty surreal. At the end of the day, it’s a dream come true just to be in this situation.”