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Expect another redshirt year for former Gator Kyle Trask in Tampa Bay

Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen says Blaine Gabbert remains the No. 2 guy.
Bucs second-year quarterback Kyle Trask, left, was inactive for all 19 games (17 regular season, two postseason) in 2021, and could encounter the same fate in 2022.
Bucs second-year quarterback Kyle Trask, left, was inactive for all 19 games (17 regular season, two postseason) in 2021, and could encounter the same fate in 2022. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published May 10|Updated May 10

TAMPA — In a sense, Kyle Trask has remained a crock pot in a microwave society.

While the portal percolates at the college level, and NFL franchises scurry to sign franchise quarterbacks instead of gradually grooming youngsters, Trask has spent a career in waiting, biding his time as a backup and trusting the process at every level.

“Kyle’s always been that kind of slow, steady developer — in high school, in college,” Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said.

But presumably, even portraits of patience such as Trask have their boiling point, and the 24-year-old former Gator just might be starting to simmer.

Because Christensen said Tuesday that he projects Trask to have a second straight NFL redshirt season in 2022.

“I don’t see him competing with (Blaine) Gabbert (for the backup job) this year,” Christensen told reporters during a media session with Bucs offensive coaches. “He could do it, just all the odds are stacked against you. You can’t rep everybody, it’s hard to get Gabbert enough reps. So we’ll prepare Gabbert as the No. 2.”

Such is the flip side of Tom Brady’s unretirement. Trask, inactive all 19 games during his rookie season, could encounter that same fate in Year 2, diminishing his chances of getting that first snap in a real NFL game. Christensen, however, counters there’s no flip side to Brady’s decision, adding another year of observing Brady is “the best thing that could’ve happened” to Trask.

“And sometimes it doesn’t feel like it maybe necessarily at the time, but I think he would tell you that he needs another year,” Christensen said. “He kind of has a methodical development to him that I think he’s following the same pattern he followed in high school and college.”

By now, the Trask odyssey — equal parts astounding and deliberate — is well chronicled.

A career backup to eventual University of Houston and University of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King at Manvel (Texas) High, Trask played four games his first three seasons at the University of Florida, and didn’t become the full-time starter until Year 5, setting UF’s single-season touchdown pass record (43) in 2020.

But the NFL, where life spans are compressed and the prevailing objective is to earn a second contract, is a different beast, hardly conducive to slow development. Though Christensen and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich both said Tuesday they’re pleased with Trask’s awareness and understanding of their system, they still don’t know how that translates to bona fide action.

“We like where Kyle’s at, we just haven’t seen it, none of us,” Leftwich acknowledged.

“None of us has seen it. The only thing we’ve got is preseason reps. I think he’s gotten drastically better from the last time he stepped on the grass, we’ve just got to see it. And he hasn’t had the opportunity to actually be on the grass playing.”

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Hence the reason the team’s upcoming organized team activities loom so large for Trask. Brady won’t be there, which affords coaches the chance to get a lengthy on-field look at the guy who may or may not ultimately inherit Brady’s gig.

“The (organized team activities), we’re going to put a premium, a priority, on getting him reps and seeing what he’s like,” Christensen said.

“It’s just hard to judge anyone until you get quality reps against a defense. So that’s one of our goals in this camp. We’ve got three other veteran guys who really don’t need a ton of it, so we’re going to give him a bunch of reps and get a good, good look at him.”

But it won’t be the same as live snaps in an NFL regular season.

At this point, those aren’t likely to arrive until 2023 — at the earliest.

“I see Gabbert being a backup and Kyle being a developmental guy, and we’ll rep them that way,” Christensen said.

“If you jump off the screen and he outplays Brady, then he outplays Brady and we’ll make some decisions. But when you go into it, the percentage chance of that happening isn’t very good, and we frankly can’t operate that way. You just don’t have enough reps to do that and get everyone prepared.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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