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Bucs OC Dave Canales won't rush decision between Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask as starting QB

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are poised for an offseason quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask that could last deep into training camp.

Asked Wednesday about the balance between naming a starter early so he can get extra reps in the offense and allowing the competition to run its course, new offensive coordinator Dave Canales cited his experience last year during the Geno Smith-Drew Lock battle in Seattle.

"Philosophically, for me, coming from Seattle, best guy gets the job. … For me, it's a win-win when you create a competition," Canales said, noting that the quarterbacks preparing as if they are the starter for six months makes the entire team better in the long term.

Mayfield has plenty of starting experience, with 69 starts in five seasons, including 10 last year with the Panthers and Rams. Trask, meanwhile, is as green as a third-year player can be, throwing a total of nine passes in one appearance.

The dichotomy of the two QBs is one reason Canales wants to extend the competition as long as possible.

"Circumstantially, if Kyle would have had more opportunities, you know, I'd love to see what would happen to those," Canales said. "So I don't think we need to rush to make any decisions, is my opinion. Wait as long as you can, as long as possible. Our offense and defense -- they don't need us to name a starter, trust me. We got studs up front on the offensive line, veteran presence. We got veteran presence at the wide receiver position. We got a really good group of backs, and the defense is fantastic. The way we're building it, even with the draft, this is not a team, that's like, 'We gotta know who the starter is gonna be so that we can move forward and figure out who we're going to be.' I don't think so. I think the way that we're going to play it, I'll have both guys ready to be really, really successful and efficient at what we're doing."

Added Canales: "So from Baker, what's cool about him is he's got a ton of game experience. So there's a lot of conversations happening about things that he did and saw or did this in games. With Kyle, what's cool is you do see -- just talking about being around Tom (Brady) for two years -- you see his tempo and control and his drop mimicking a guy that was the greatest of all time. It's like, OK, he has a great starting point if you were going to play behind somebody, who better? And that frame, that 6-foot-5 frame, you know? Honestly, the guys are both plenty smart enough to handle any of our alerts or our checks, getting us to the right types of plays. So, I've seen that. I also see two guys where when I walk into the room in the mornings, they're already in there. They're talking, they got their books out, they're watching a game. So they're already cohesive in that nature, they just are doing really well together."

The Bucs added veteran John Wolford to the mix this week, who has played in seven games, including four starts with the Rams, and was in the L.A. QB room with Mayfield last season.

"We just signed John Wolford, too, which is a huge get for me because he walks in and he's the smartest guy in the room Day 1," Canales said. "He's really dialed in and excited about the opportunity. He's played games and he really knows our system. There's a lot of good carryover from what they did at the Rams to what we were doing the last two years in Seattle. So it's a great room."

Mayfield signed in Tampa with designs on starting and revamping his standing before hitting free agency again. First, he'll have to beat out Trask, whom the club used a second-round pick to acquire.

If Canales uses the blueprint he was a part of in Seattle last season, it could come down to late preseason action to determine the Bucs' 2023 opening-day starter.

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