Dave Canales says Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask competition is partially about “respect”
In any quarterback competition, the ultimate goal ideally is to identify the best option and get him ready to play. In Tampa, another factor apparently has crept into the analysis.
Respect. As in showing it to former second-round pick Kyle Trask. And in giving newcomer Baker Mayfield a chance to earn it.
Offensive coordinator Dave Canales used that term, repeatedly, when recently discussing the competition between a player who has never started and a former fringe franchise quarterback.
The comments came on the No Days Off podcast from Fox 13 in Tampa.
“I think it’s partly just respecting the team, respecting what’s best for everyone, and then also respecting Kyle’s process,” Canales said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “You know, he comes in as the second-round pick with high hopes. Obviously, what a great thing, Tom Brady’s been here, so he’s been able to learn from him. But at the same time he’s worked really hard to try to have an opportunity to show what he can do.”
The respect for Trask, then, is also respect for the second-round pick that was used to acquire his rights. As he enters his third NFL season -- and his first without Tom Brady as the undisputed starter -- there needs to be respect to the 2021 draft-day presumption that Trask will eventually be the guy.
Standing in Trask’s way is Mayfield, who had a great season in 2020, an injury-plagued 2021 campaign, and a three-city tour in 2022 that made it very hard for him to get things back on track.
“On the flip side, too, I think Baker, would he love to be named the starter?” Canales said. “I’m sure. But Baker also knows this is his road back, too. From Cleveland to Carolina and L.A., you know, he’s been told, ‘No,’ a couple of times. And so for him to be able to come out here to win the team over in his own right, to perform and to show them that he can be the caliber quarterback that he believes he can be, I think I owe it to both of them and to the team to put the best guy out there.”
Finally, Canales got to the ultimate goal -- put the best guy out there. Before the team will accept that Mayfield is the best guy, he needs to show it through direct, apples-to-apples comparisons with Trask.
The remarks make the competition seem not necessarily rigged for Mayfield, but engineered for him to have every chance to prevail. He should be able to win the job over a guy who has never started, and who has never really generated much buzz during his two years as the Tommy understudy. The key becomes having him win over the locker room, so that there’s no schism if/when Mayfield struggles.
This makes it the bizarro version of the typical veteran vs. young guy competition, when the organization feels compelled to show that the newcomer is having nothing handed to him, that the veterans aren’t being asked to set aside their present competitive wishes in the interests of the longer-term goals of the franchise.
In Tampa, it’s about giving Mayfield a chance to show that he deserves the opportunity to disrupt the pre-existing succession plan, while also showing the proper respect to a succession plan that could eventually be disrupted.
Ultimately, it’s about getting someone ready for Week One. While competition has its benefits, one of the detriments is that the overall reps get diluted. At some point, the internal competition needs to yield to the looming external competitions.