Rich Eisen: “It’s Getting Increasingly Tough” To Believe The Bucs Shouldn’t Tank

August 11th, 2023

So is it Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask?

The face of NFL Network, Rich Eisen, admitted this week the more he studies who should be the Bucs starting quarterback, the more he thinks the correct answer is Caleb Williams.

That’s how Eisen sees things from his Los Angeles perch speaking on The Rich Eisen Show.

Eisen has read all about Mayfield’s picks in training camp, and how Trask has done such a good job protecting the ball (until Wednesday).

Knowing how the thought of turnovers causes defensive-minded head coaches like Todd Bowles to break out in hives, Eisen wondered aloud on his show if Trask wins the battle just because of turnovers.

“That’s a major problem,” Eisen said of Mayfield’s picks. “Coaches don’t like it when the ball just even hits the ground in a practice. … If the ball is hitting the ground in 7-on-7 or even 11-on-11 and you’re throwing it to your teammates, that’s a problem.”

One member of Eisen’s peanut gallery suggested there cannot be a winner between Mayfield and Trask. Rather, the Bucs should just do the forward-thinking thing and tank for a quarterback in the draft.

Eisen admitted he’s torn on what the Bucs should do.

“I keep pushing back [on the suggestion of the Bucs tanking] but it’s getting increasingly tough to do that,” Eisen said.

Eisen did make a fair point about interceptions in training camp: He said people tend to always blame the quarterback and seldom give the defense props.

How does Eisen think this will all shake out? Eisen believes Bowles likely starts the regular season with Mayfield but with little rope. If the losses mount, it’s Kyle Trask time.

If the losses continue, Eisen said, “We go Caleb Williams.”

61 Responses to “Rich Eisen: “It’s Getting Increasingly Tough” To Believe The Bucs Shouldn’t Tank”

  1. Pryda…sec147 Says:

    I love rich the guy is fantastic, but he said no lies

  2. JD Still Says:

    We shall soon see , time to separate the wheat from the chaff and reality from the BS prognostications .

  3. Iron-Wombat Says:

    looks like the national guys think so lowly of Trask that if Baker loses out to him he should just commit ritual suicide and the Bucs will be picking #1 overall next year.

  4. Buddha Says:

    That’s what they promised the whole off-season you idiot. The coaching staff has integrity. Why don’t you count the number of touchdowns they have thrown? Or how many picks were passes intended for Evans or other starters?

  5. Tbbucs3 Says:

    You shouldn’t tank with a good defense….don’t care how bad the offense is.

  6. Fred McNeil Says:

    Why don’t we just watch some preseason football?

  7. Crazyhorse54 Says:

    Agreed, it will be a bad season.

  8. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Heard a poke at Shroud (Texans) that “it’s not as easy as throwing to Marvin Harrison Jr covered by Rutgers defensive backs’. Number two pick went 2-4 for 13 yards w/ 1 INT, sacked for 15, and had a QBR of 17.7 in two possessions.

    Bet Dick was the thinking Texans got a great Pick at the Draft.

    Can the Bucs do any worse than that this week?

  9. DS Says:

    Just tank man

  10. D-Rome Says:

    Tbbucs3, I agree. If this team has a good defense they should not tank. Tanking is a loser mentality and if they tank after having the greatest QB in NFL history with them for 3 years it says a lot about leadership in the organization. Tanking didn’t work with Jay-Miss and there’s no guarantee it would ever work.

  11. Uhhmm Says:


    Everyone knows it. It’s ok.

    They either need to tank or trad their future away to get a shot at a franchise qb.

    In my mind I would rather them tank this year to get a good pick. Trade away some of the talent (Vea) and load up on picks. I want the Bucs to be in a position the Cheifs/Bills/Bengals are in. Not in the patriots position….

    Rather than watch mediocre football all year. Id rather commit to the draft..

  12. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Tanking is for losers. We’ve had enough of losing. Anyone out on the field that isn’t giving 100% doesn’t deserve to be there. And any coach allowing it shouldn’t be there, either. Play to win or don’t play.

  13. Steven007 Says:

    The second to the last paragraph says what I think most of us already believe. Mayfield, then Trask as needed, and if it’s a losing season draft a quarterback. It’s not that hard.

  14. Pewter Power Says:

    Man even when Lovie tanked for Winston we at least got half a season before the tank talk started. Why in the world is everyone pushing this narrative. I mean did anyone watch CJ Stroud play last night? I think baker can do better than that because it was horrible debut. We can get a quarterback anyway and shouldn’t need to tank to do it. Maybe 5-6 teams could go qb in the first round, we’ll be just fine

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    If they tank they will lose their #1 draft pick if they get caught.

  16. Mike S Says:

    Again, this is all predicated on Baker’s resume, which by the way isn’t all that good.

    And that has been the point of the Trask Mob all along. Trask was a heck of a player in college – a record setting player who’s numbers were superior to highly touted guys with unquestioned starting jobs in the NFL right now. Its not like Trask’s measurables are lacking – he’s has a prototype frame for the NFL. He can make all the throws and can match football IQ with any player of his tenure in the game.

    You don’t bring in Baker Mayfield to arrest the progression of a talent like Trask.

    Eisen says you owe it to the veterans to make a run at this with Baker and then if Baker flops – which everyone admits is a stark possibility – you bring in Trask at the bye. You owe it to the veterans to start a guy with documented issues with turnovers?

    Also, it has been proposed that nobody knows how the line will perform and you don’t want to see Trask get annihilated with bad pass blocking. So you throw Baker out there until you’re assured the protection is shored up. That didn’t stop Joe Burrow from getting his reps, but I digress. I’m not in love with that rationale either.

    If Trask can run with Baker in camp and get the edge on him in practice and if he continues that performance in preseason games – without having the same game experience as Baker – that tells you he’s ready. Suit him up and give him the ball.

    This is why the rationale of “he needs to be head and shoulders better” doesn’t translate. It should be the other way around. If Baker comes in and outperforms Kyle, like a veteran QB should over a player with a quarter of football PT exp, then you say this is an easy decision to make.

    What is everyone afraid of? Trask will get the ball and play well? If you are sweating that then you are tanking. Too much talent here to tank. Give these guys an opportunity to show what they do. If it crashes and burns then we trade some pieces and get some draft picks.

    I understand that back in March it sounded reasonable to say “We signed Baker, we’re going to roll with him until the losses mount and then we’ll put in Trask” and then they also thought “We’ll have a QB competition to get Trask ready if/when Baker flops”

    But things change. There was an expectation that Trask wouldn’t rally in camp and make a run at the job. Good for Kyle for imposing himself on the situation.

    You said you had a QB competition without bias. Now we’re going to hold you to your word.

  17. Dave Pear Says:

    We get to see both QBs tonight and again next week. All of this babble is fun and everything, but on-field performance is coming. Let’s go.

  18. Nayrb Says:

    Two thoughts,

    Does anyone here know or can at least give an educated guess as to how long it would realistically take for the Bucs to stop having the need to “kick the can down the road” in reference to our salary cap woes?

    There is a plethora of at the very least, good, veteran players out there every single season that wander from team to team, playing for their respective veteran minimum salary. I wonder how easy, or well they would play, it would be to trade away all of our remaining great/fan favorite players and play with just “journeyman”?

  19. SlyPirate Says:

    Why are EVERYONE so dismissive of Trask?
    I’m not a Trask fan or Florida alumni but I do like stats.

    Trask’s last year at Florida: 4300 yards, 69% comp, 46 TD, 8 INT

    Those are insane stats. Nearly identical to Caleb Williams, Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston in their Heisman years.

    The only QB with slightly better stats was Mac Jones … who had 5x5star OL, 1x5star RB (Najee Harris – Heisman Candidate), and 1x5star WR (Devonte Smith – Heisman Winner).

    If Trask becomes a consistent starter, that puts the Bucs light years ahead of schedule and allows them to reload skill positions.

  20. Buc1987 Says:

    They don’t need to tank if Bowles is head coach.

    Bowles is the tank.

  21. gofortheface30 Says:

    “going with Caleb Williams” mindset has to start before season. You cant be 3-4 and be all like, “welp I guess well just tank and go after caleb now.” The NFC is so bad, with so many bad teams and theres gnna be a ton of horrible records, and teams with more draft capital. The only surefire way to lock yourself in to Caleb is to have the absolute worst record in football. But they wont. Its going to be the worst kind of record – middle of the pack mediocrity, 7-10 and general irrelevance.

  22. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I’m not sold on Williams anyway so there’s that. I will watch Maye this fall but he’s probably about as interesting.

  23. IrishTony Says:

    I honestly believe this will be a top 10 defense and if the d can keep scoring below 20 ppg then this team has a chance to win 9 games. I think a lot of folks are underestimating Canales’ scheme. I think either of these two mediocre qbs can have success but I would go with the more experienced player at this point.

  24. Jeff Says:

    Sorry Todd, this is a garbage team that MUST tank the season for a chance at a good QB. A top draft pick is our only hope.

  25. Brandon Says:

    I like Eisen enough. But cmon. He reports what others say. He has never shown anything beyond a rudimentary understanding and slightly comical, grasp of football. His major function these days is to be fat and run a slow 40 in a suit. Not exactly Bill Walsh level analysis.

  26. buccanstopit Says:

    Anyone saying tank for Caleb….see below for what will be in store for 2 years

    On his second dropback, he held the ball too long vs. the inside pass rush and took a 15-yard loss on a sack.

    The ensuing third-and-long was a disaster: Stroud telegraphed an underneath pass attempt to fellow rookie Tank Dell that was intercepted by veteran safety Jalen Mills. Stroud made an OK read, but his reaction in looking right at Mills cost him on the play.

  27. Craig Says:

    Looking at Hot Toddie’s record, he can drive a team into the ground all by himself.

    Looking at Duh Baker’s record, he can drive a team into the ground all by himself.

    Mix the two and light the fuse, what is going to happen?

    A rebuilding reputation coach and a rebuilding reputation QB has a good chance of being bad, so Hot Toddie should already be shaking the tree to see what Trask can do, but he is afraid of what else might fall from that tree.

    I actually agree with Eisen on this one.

  28. Steelers fan Says:

    Hope you write about what Rick Spielman said about Trask having a better arm than Baker. Since you love to ref. him all the

    [Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, TheG**gle doesn’t like outside links on this site but Joe will write about this. Interesting since Rick Spielman has stated before that Mayfield has “command” of the Bucs offense and believes he will start. — Joe]

  29. BucsFan81 Says:

    I know this season is going to be bad because of our cap situation and QB situation. However I don’t want it to turn into sucking every year and not making the playoffs for another decade. I can’t take that, going forward this team needs to be competitive and making playoff appearances every year especially in this weak division.

  30. Cobraboy Says:

    I don’t see this team as bad enough talent-wise to tank to the bottom of the NFL.

    That said, never underestimate how bad Bowles is as a HC.

    The danger is being bad enough to be middle of the pack, a no-man’s land in the draft.

  31. Bucsfanman Says:

    Why’d they sign Baker then? If Trask is thought of so lowly, why sign him?
    I am adamantly opposed to tanking for ANY reason. I consider it offensive to fans. And for a PROSPECT?! How’d that 2015 #1 pick work out for us?! No thank you.

    This team has talent. It just needs the right leadership.

  32. CTBucs Says:

    You don’t need to tank to get a franchise QB. Look at where Mahomes and Lamar were drafted. We should be as competitive as possible, and then make moves to go up in the draft if there’s a guy they like. Tanking is for losers.

  33. gotbbucs Says:

    I don’t even care anymore. If Baker is the answer, then the question was a joke. Start Baker and let’s start talking draft by October.

    We’re very quickly going to reach the point where all fans are once again apathetic to what happens with this team.

    They are talking about a 28 year old Baker Mayfield as a potential future franchise QB? This isn’t the mid 90’s anymore. Doug Fluttie wouldn’t be winning many games in today’s NFL. Baker had the best offensive line and running game he could have ever asked for in Cleveland….and he was still statistically a middling QB.

  34. gotbbucs Says:

    ….and tanking isn’t necessary. We weren’t tanking last year and we were one pointless win away from a top 10 pick.

  35. Duane Says:

    Too hard to tank in the NFL. This team doesnt want a good draft pick next season, they want Caleb. Only one team earns the right for that #1 pick, where the rest of the league still has to trade for it. We can go 17-0 or 8-9 and still have the opportunity to trade for that pick. If Jensen is down, I dont think it matters if Trask, Baker, or Brady are taking snaps this season. This team went out of its way to lose close games last season. I would love the looking forward to the number
    1 pick next year, but my dark heart would enjoy watching ATL, NO, and CAR have to start from scratch once more. LFG.

  36. Wild Bill Says:

    Talking heads are a dime a dozen. I don’t pay attention to any of them. I competed in sports all my life. Win or lose I could walk away after the game and know I gave it my best shot. Loosing a game against a clearly better team is no disgrace. Losing a game against a relatively equal opponent is a disappointment that hurts but motivates you to do better the next game. Being on a team that finishes last is the absolute pits. After a close game, win or lose, you could for beers with your team mates and enjoy the camaraderie that transcended the game itself. That was my life long enjoyment of competing in sports. I cannot fathom a team of pro athletes deliberately losing. Perhaps pulling your best players from a meaningless game to give backups quality playing time just before playoffs begin would be good strategy, and also when a game was totally out of reach for the last few minutes to give backups some playing time. But in all other situations you play to win or get the f out. I can not fathom a pro football team, owners and management, accepting anything less.

  37. Steelers fan Says:

    “Do you have a link?”

    Yeah just look up (Kyle Trask has a LEGIT chance to beat out Baker Mayfield I Bucs Training Camp Update) on you tube.

  38. johnnymoon Says:

    Tank ? Why not just forfeit all the games? We can save all the guys for 2024 and not risk anyone getting hurt …I mean the Giants won with Danny Dimes , Seahawks with Geno Smith and Dolphins with 3 diff QBS ..I mean Caleb is a cant miss like every other 1st rd draft pick …Maybe its 45 years of watching Football but i will never understand tanking unless it is the last game of the season not the whole 17 games that is just Idiotic .

  39. Hodad Says:

    Tanking in the NFL is a media driven myth. You really believe a team lead by Evans, Godwin, David, Wirfs is going to tank? You think Canales took this job to purposely fail? You’re falling for a media driven hoax.

  40. westernbuc Says:

    No one should ever go into a season with the mindset of tanking. Too many jobs/careers on the line. Not to mention the brutality of the sport.

    And say we tank. Get the first overall pick. Great. Wasted Mike Evans and Lavonte David’s year. They probably wouldn’t even want to come back.

    Then get a 22 year old Qb and say “no pressure but can you save the franchise?”

    Sorry, no collapse for Caleb.

  41. SOEbuc Says:

    Jason Licht does not tank.

    Does anyone remember the AMAZING Jameis Winston with the first pick. Should we have gone with Mariota??? He’s a giant success.

  42. StormyInFl Says:

    Didn’t we see this movie before with Jameis? All that tanking for a bust of a qb. No thanks on the repeat. Took years (and Tom Brady) to wash the stink off from that losers mentality.

    “You play to win the game” – Denny Green. Tanking is idiotic and infests the team with a loser mentality. Caleb Williams could easily turn into the next Jameis, Trubisky or Kyler Murray. He is not a sure thing. None of them are.

  43. IrishTony Says:

    This whole Trask vs. Mayfield conversation is annoying.It’s not about one player it’s about the team. What if this defense ends up being top 5 and PA is in the 20 and below range don’t you think Mayfield could be successful with quick read throws getting the ball into the hands of two great receivers, another (if he stays health) that can rack up 700, and Thompkins who’s a burner. Not to mention that this team is going to be running the ball ALOT. Hell I realize this defense isn’t anywhere near the 99 team but crap that offense with Sean King only put up 16.5 PPG. If either of these mediocre qbs can be Jared “freaking” Goff then they should be relatively competitive with this defense.

  44. Steelers fan Says:

    If you’ll tank once you tank twice three times etc. Its a culture of losing once it seeps in it dont leave.

  45. Jack Sparrow Says:

    As I said before, no matter who the QB is, as long as Bowles is the HC, we are in a losing season. I feel sorry for Baker and Trask, Bowles will use them as a scapegoat for his incompetency.

  46. Polkfan Says:

    Mayfield shouldn’t of been signed in the first place. You take a guy like Minshew that has a better TD/INT ratio than Lawrence through two years in Jacksonville. Higher completion % & QBR than mayfield with less wayyy less talent. I guess Bowles didn’t learn anything from Mr. irrelevant putting 35 on us without breaking a sweat in his SECOND career start. How about Pickett leading a game winning drive against these bozos??? He should know very well that experience isn’t the end all be all. This is clearly some big joke to try and get some butts in the seats. Everybody fell in love with the flag planting and the handshake stuff with Mayfield. it’s over. If the guys led the league in picks since he came in how do you even get considered for anything more than a backup???? Absolute Joke of a franchise.

  47. Polkfan Says:

    Mayfield has had every opportunity to look decent and has fell short almost every time.

  48. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Sort of ironic the fans who diss a former #1 pick want to tank for next year’s flavor. Aint no guarantee in the draft, boys; Brady was a low.l riunder, remember?

  49. Red86 Says:

    We haven’t played 1 game yet, but we talking about tanking? Are you really a Bucs fan?

    Are we forgetting the predictable Byron Leftwich was here last season and Bowles didn’t have the mean to replace him with his own guy, like he did this off season? Reading notes for multiple places including Joe’s, it looks like Canalez, maybe know how to scheme his wrs open. In fact, it’s wide open to be exact.

    Bowles inherited Arians’ mess at the end of last year offseason. Getting to the playoff without Jensen was a miracle in itself and Brady not being himself the whole season. Bowles handled that crappy hand the best he could.

    Yep. It’s wrong to say you have a qb competition, but have a qb in mind already. But, it haven’t been officially announced yet. This year is technically his first year with full control. And wanting to tank before week 1 started, are you serious?

  50. BillyBucco Says:

    What a dumb take.
    Good luck telling Vita Vea and Devin White and Lavonte David and Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and Antione Winfield and Ryan Neal and Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean that you are going to tank!!!!
    The National media acts like these guys are a bunch of chess board idiots.

  51. Kelby Says:

    Why would any of the team be ok with tanking? You have a second year coach wanting to prove himself, tons of players thinking the same aswell….have fun telling them that….

  52. Duane Says:

    No player or coach willingly tanks. That is a fantasy only of sports personalities and some fans.

    Every single person in the NFL wants to win games, and contribute to their abilities even when the season appears lost, not through intentional tanking.

    Tell us, what football player wants to qualify for the number one overall pick the following draft?

    Tell us, what coach wants to qualify for the number one overall pick the following draft?

    It’s just BS.

    In any event, considering what happened the two times that the Bucs had the number one overall pick. it’s no benefit anyway.

    It matters not where you draft – it matters only how well you draft.

  53. Infomeplease Says:

    Let’s face it, the offense and the defense of the 2023 Bucs, at this point, are unknowns!! Tonight we get a glimpse of things to be, just a glimpse. Most starters probably will be on the sidelines. Maybe the starting O-line will play for a quarter or half, maybe. All the rookies, perhaps all the 2nd year guys, and all the backups will be on the field. The best part of this game is that the real season is about 4 weeks away! LFG!!

  54. orlbucfan Says:

    It’s the first preseason game. Hopefully, the two teams’ players won’t boil to death with a 7pm kickoff at RJS. What is the heat index for the start of the game?

  55. Aaron Says:

    We don’t need to tank…just do our thing

  56. MadMax Says:

    We’ll see tonight and next week what we have so far….but seriously, we have 2 backups starting as QB so it is what it is….me, I always hope for the best but i have serious doubts right now….until proven wrong

  57. Kidfloflo Says:

    Where does everybody buy their crystal balls at!? Cause everyone on this site seems to know how Baker or Trask or the team in general is gonna fare, without one snap in the regular season played! Oh and when it’s 30 seconds into the first game, they all will say I told u so! Mooks

  58. BUCman Says:

    Remember all the “tank for Tua” talk a few years ago as if Tua was already being measured for his Hall of Fame jacket. Miami ended up with an average starter. And even if they do tank the odds of landing the #1 pick are still very low. There will definitely be some team that has a worse record. The smart play is to give Trask every chance to show if he has what it takes because he is someone you are guaranteed to have on your roster. This is not a super bowl year for us so we should use the season as a make it or break it with Trask.

  59. Toad Bowels Says:

    Sign Shaun King. At age 44 he’s younger than Brady and more mobile.

  60. Toad Bowels Says:

    Got Brady on speed dial?

  61. garro Says:

    Eisen joining the “I think it’s OK to tank crowd” is very disappointing. I have been a huge fan of his for years.

    Ethically. for a broadcast journalist to say its fine to break NFL rules and disregard the integrity of the league and the game tells me that so called journalism really has no ethical standards any longer.

    Teams who tank I think even less of.

    Go Bucs!