Jason Licht: Baker Mayfield Vs. Kyle Trask Battle “Was Close”

September 1st, 2023

GM talks QB battle.

Now 10 days after the Bucs announced Baker Mayfield is your starting quarterback for 2023, some fans are still peeved.

In the immediate days after the announcement, Joe could sense some fans were mentally in a pall they were so depressed and/or angry with the news.

Shoot, Joe even reads comments now that claim the fix was in for Mayfield over Kyle Trask the moment he was signed.

Yesterday, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht admitted it was a tight race.

“I probably didn’t see it too much different than you guys did,” Licht said at a gathering of the local pen and mic club. “But it was close. It was awesome to see Kyle [Trask] take the steps that he did to make it as close as it was.

“Because of that, it made Baker [Mayfield] better. And Baker – we talk a lot about Kyle and how great he was, but Baker was obviously better, or we wouldn’t have chosen him to be the starter, collectively.”

There was absolutely no question Trask made significant headway from the time OTAs closed to the start of training camp. For that reason alone, Joe is impressed with the work of new Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales. Trask was a night and day a different quarterback.

After one training camp practice, Joe joked with Licht asking him where he had stashed Trask after the kidnapping — because the guy wearing Trask’s uniform had to be an imposter.

It still blows Joe’s mind how much progress Trask made in like six weeks. He truly was a new quarterback in July.

Licht believes the continued desire of both quarterbacks to better themselves will be fostered by internal competition.

“I think it’s something that is going to continue throughout the season to push Baker and push Kyle, as well,” Licht said. “It was everything I hoped it would be, really, to be honest with you, the competition.

“It was fun to go out there every day and just see, ‘OK, what’s going to happen today?’ It made us better in the end. I think Baker is in a great headspace right now, so I’m excited to see how this turns out.”

First, this Mayfield vs. Trask played out like Joe predicted: Trask had to be head-and-shoulders better than Mayfield in order to start because Bucs coach Todd Bowles needs wins. No way a risk-averse defensive guy was going to put his career on the line with his quarterback having nine career pass attempts.

You could maybe argue that Trask was better in practice, but he certainly wasn’t head-and-shoulders better.

Are both quarterbacks better because they had to scrap? Maybe. Would this dissuade Joe from selecting a high-profile quarterback in the first round in April?


38 Responses to “Jason Licht: Baker Mayfield Vs. Kyle Trask Battle “Was Close””

  1. Jeff Says:

    Stupid GM double talk. “Close” How dumb does Light think we all are? Pretty darn dumb, apparently.

  2. Buddha Says:

    Must you continually stir the pot, Joe? For what good reason?

  3. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    Trask is too explosive and completes pass too long for Todd Bolwes.

  4. Lord Cornelius Says:

    lol this idea that Trask outplayed Mayfield in camp is not a consensus opinion among writers for one, and for anyone who has said it – they said basically it was extremely close. No one said Trask outplayed Mayfield by any meaningful margin that I’ve read.

    And in the actual preseason games, Mayfield outplayed Trask. Different sample sizes but Mayfield was basically almost perfect.

    I think the competition really wasn’t BS and really was to push both of them. It makes sense to me from a competitive standpoint to do that. That’s what Canales did with Geno & Lock.

    And Lock actually balled out this preseason by the way (~70% completion 8.4 YPA 3 TD 1 INT). I think that competition was good for him even though he didn’t win. Same with Trask.

  5. Beej Says:

    A few months ago, nobody (outside of Frozen, of course) thought Trask would be remotely competent as a #2/spot starter. NOW, I can see teams who lost their starters making inquiries about the kid

  6. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    Trask will be the starter at some point this season. Mayfield will not be able to dink and dunk the Bucs to a winning record.

  7. Wild Bill Says:

    Gonna be interesting to see how this plays out. If the bucs loose 3 out of the first 4 games does Baker sit? If Trask comes in and the Bucs start winning more than losing does Trask own the job? Is Baker’s money guaranteed? Was Mike sulking and refusing to play preseason? What Is an aging vet worth ?

  8. JD Still Says:

    There’s that warm liquid running down our backs again! Now what could it be?

  9. Since76 Says:

    Trask was better. Has more upside. But we have to support the team even if they make bad decisions. I think this is one. I hope Mayfield plays well. I think he can be average if he doesn’t throw all those picks.

  10. Greg The Truth Says:

    Mayfield had basically one scripted drive in two games with starters and got the job. He didn’t even play enough to show anything. If he is better than Trask fine but calling it a competition is just gross. Trask worked his ass off just to be lied to.

  11. Watch More ALL22 Before Commenting Says:

    It was not that “close.” I read every camp report from multiple sources and every tweet by reporters in attendance – local and national media. Trask had a good showing, but Mayfield pulled away before the preseason games, and then separated in game 1 and Jet’s practice. Recall Ira Kaufman’s claim was made the team is Mayfield before the preseason games started – because Mayfield’s lead was so great already at that point.

    Trask showed much better than expected, but expectations were low. His game tape shows he’s not ready for real defenses and needs more time to develop. Trask would be eaten alive by starting NFL defenses based on his inability to move past his first read. The review of his gametape shows a very raw QB who has a lot of basics to learn and his arm is too inaccurate when throwing fast.

    These statements are being made by a GM to justify his competition and to keep Trask’s spirits up should he be needed to come in for an injured Mayfield, or if the season is lost and they want to give him reps.

    Anyone who says Trask beat out Mayfield didn’t read the camp reports past July and doesn’t watch game film or understand it.

  12. Danny Husak Says:

    Why does ANY-Brain-FROZEN-Ninny think Baker won’t produce ? Only an injury, 5 Brown’s head coaches, 6 OCs, a sinking Carolina ship and some Buc fans who can’t read believe The Bake isn’t pretty dog-gone good. AGAIN I SAY: ” Watch ALL the games.” Obviously, film was “frozen” down there. I wonder what 3rd grader is writing some of the local comments. I’m NOT local. Just, educated, informed, “Well Baker-Watched” and offering NO opinions. JUST FACTS. Danny Baker Buc Esq.

  13. Since76 Says:

    Danny. Ask yourself what the common denominator was for all those OCs and head coaching firings. There is one. There might be more at the end of this season.

  14. WyomingJoe Says:

    It was close? Don’t make me laugh because Baker is SO MUCH BETTER than Trask! He reads defenses quicker and his arm is light years ahead of Trasks’. Licht is babying Trask to save both their faces. I mean, what’s he going to say, that Trask would make a competent backup? I WISH Baker played seven quarters of football during the preseason against High School players the way Trask did. He might have thrown for, I don’t know, 600 yards and 7 TDs? Forgive me, I’m just trying to he conservative. Licht even said that as a staff, Baker was “obviously better.” Hmmm, isn’t that was the Jets said? No, they said that Baker was elite! But I guess we’ll see what happens when the season starts. Baker will come through because BAKER IS BETTER.

  15. WyomingJoe Says:

    @ Frozen: Joe’s are offering their OPINIONS on who was “leading” in training camp. Other media people present offered other opinions as well and they picked Baker as the leader. Joe’s, you guys should have provided more detail on the practices during camp. Just my opinion…

  16. Posey99 Says:

    Trask deserves to start. Not mad about mayfield starting, he’s a proven starter on bad teams. Good to know we have someone capable that will start at some point this year. Hopefully it’s our future and I think trask is. If anything trask proved a lot of doubters wrong this off-season.

  17. Student of the Game Says:

    Wild Bill: “If the bucs loose 3 out of the first 4 games does Baker sit?” Why so negative?
    If Tampa Bay wins 3 of 4 will you shut your trap about this and support the coaches decision and the team? IF the Bucs lose 3 of 4 you can bet your house it is o-line failures not QB to blame. If the defense makes an absolutely great play and gets and interception, is the QB to blame or did the opposing player do something extraordinary? Football is not a black-white game where you can wholly blame any single player for any mistake or success.

  18. Mike S Says:

    All due respect Jason – you’re full of it.

    This was never a real competition.

    But hey man… Now you live with the consequences.

  19. Gerald Says:

    I refuse to disrespect Kyle Trask. He showed good growth over this off season. But in no way shape or form did he out perform, play, or throw Baker Mayfield. I watched Twitter reporters on the ground at camp and saw Mayfield making elite throws down field. I would go to YouTube because I just knew Pueter Report would show them. But when I went to check they would only show some 20 yard frozen turkey Trask threw and non of the Mayfield throws. Next thing you know all the Traskanites are running with this fake Quanon nonsense that Trask is beating Mayfield in camp. FAKE NEWS!

  20. Tony Says:

    Double the interceptions in since competing with Trask. Proven the worst in the league with the most interceptions and batted balls. How dumb is this coaching staff. Urban Meyer changed the plays up to suit Trask and you see what happened, only the 5th best numbers in SEC history. Apparently it is over Canales and Bowles head to do this. 🤷‍♂️

  21. Tony Says:

    Trask needs to get his agent to get him out of Tampa. These coaches look like career killers

  22. Shane Callahan Says:

    I’m glad Trask improved. However, he will NEVER be as good as Mayfield. Baker was the first walk-on to win a Heisman and be the first to be the number one pick. He started that he would immediately turn around the Browns who had only won one game in their previous TWO years before drafting him. He delivered on his promise. He even won a playoff game for them and his team should’ve beat Mahomes the next playoff game, but his team lost despite his excellent performance.

    He played with a torn left shoulder for all but 1 and a half games during his final season with the Browns. He shouldn’t have played through the injury, but he’s a gamer and his coaches thought an injured Mayfield was better than any other option they had.

    Carolina was a disaster that he had nothing to do with.

    So, Baker throws 1 incomplete pass during Bucs preseason, and the Trask homers STILL complain.

    Please give Baker a chance especially if you don’t truly know what you’re taking about. He truly is special, and he’s never been the a-hole that he’s been portrayed as by the media.

    For real, shut up, watch, learn, and appreciate him.

  23. Watch More ALL22 Before Commenting Says:

    Test post. Others keep getting deleted.

  24. M milligan Says:

    Bucs to open 2-0 and gun eagles down in a thriller on Monday night. 90% of u are so full os. Don’t know anything about mayfield it appears.
    Goggle mayfield and watch the Kansas game they have up on twitter
    “Shouldn’t have done that”
    Yea, go find another team u sissies
    Nice game by the gators last night

  25. Gus Meola Says:

    Who does Mayfield have pictures of? This is the same script Carolina ran last year….and WILL have the same results. NFL defenses salivate to play against the undersized/non-athletic limited Mayfield….they simply hem him into the pocket where he is utterly ineffective and can’t see over the line and get the ball downfield. Mayfield is barely an NFL backup…..waste of valuable time and games not giving the ball to TRASK.

  26. M milligan Says:

    BM owns 2 of the top 3 all times seasons in NCAA history. Shane is dead on,
    Also Wyoming joe. I’m afraid the majority knows very little about bm whatsoever

  27. M milligan Says:

    BM owns 2 of the top 3 all times seasons in NCAA history. Shane is dead on,
    Also Wyoming joe.

  28. Tony Says:

    Baker was a walk on, but he was playing with 3 potential hall of famers and the fastest guy in the league. Mark Andrews, Joe Mixon, Trent Willson, Marquis Brown. The list goes on. When you have talent around you you can make it happen. Trask had Kyle Pitts, and Kadarus Toney witch they have not been goo in the NFL. He had nothing else and produced the the 5th best SEC numbers ever. Urbine Meyer produced plays that worked with Trask is the way it happened. For the coaching staff to not realize that shows how incompetent they are. Canales want’s to be known as the guy that revives QB’s to make him look like a genius. Dink and Dunk has never won anything, but they put up good completion numbers. I am a face reader learned from a guy that wrote the book. Bowles is a great friendly guy but when a narcissist comes in and takes control he is screwed.

  29. Tony Says:

    Yes, Baker did get the Browns to the playoffs when there were no fans in the stands but cardboard cut outs.

  30. Tony Says:

    Bowles is a great guy and a defensive guy. I just wish he had a clue. to hire a guy (Canales) that has never called a play ever, and it’s his way or no way. he does not see the talent around him to make things happen.

  31. D1 Says:


    Why are you not aware that urban Meyer was long gone before trask was the starter.

    5th best in the SEC not even going to address that low achievement.

  32. Herb Says:

    Joe, do you think the bucs would have any interest in kyler murray next year if hes available. if baker doest pan out rather then look to draft say if they are not in the top 6 picks?

  33. Joe Says:

    Joe, do you think the bucs would have any interest in kyler murray next year if hes available. if baker doest pan out rather then look to draft say if they are not in the top 6 picks?

    If Baker Mayfield doesn’t pan out, the Bucs probably are in the top-six picks. As a result, would be very surprised if the Bucs don’t draft a quarterback.

  34. garro Says:

    And the old lady debate team continues.

    The only tidbit I got from this that was anything close to newsworthy was this.

    “we wouldn’t have chosen him to be the starter, collectively.”

    Collectively as in He, Canales, and Bowles all agreed it was Mayfield?
    A fifteen second vote and back to work? Or a long strung out meeting? LOL

    Would love to know who held the Trump card and whether or not it was played.

    Of course we probably will never know.

    Go Bucs!

  35. garro Says:

    And the old lady debate society continues.

    The only thing I got that was remotely newsworthy was this. LOL

    “we wouldn’t have chosen him to be the starter, collectively.”

    Key word is collectively. Was it Licht, Bowles, and Canales? A 15 mnute vote and unanimously chose Mayfield? 2 hour argument and chose Mayfield?

    Wonder who had the final say? Team Glazer? We will probably never know.

    Go Bucs!

  36. Goodbuc'nlife Says:

    Just like every other player we let go prematurely, they will sign with another club and either do extremely well there or even worse, WIN a freaking Superbowl. Talib, Blount, Bennett, all come to mind and I’m only naming a few. Trask will leave and perform greatly. This, ladies and gentlemen will be Lichts worst nightmare. Trask has a much higher ceiling and it was evident in preseason. Teams payed attention. You think Arizona isn’t pondering, Titans maybe, Raider’s perhaps? Point I’m making, he’s a starter in this league. Jason blew chunks on this one. All will be well “IF” Baker bakes. 8 more days!!!!! Let’s go!

  37. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Never thought this was a real competition from the beginning.Like joe said he wasn’t leaving his career in the hands of trask. I believe Bowles knew baker was his guy from the moment they signed him but they did battle it out. For trask being just as close as baker lets us know he has what it takes to be a starter. If baker was really that much better then he would have bin head and shoulders better than trask. Depending on how baker plays this year and what our record is we draft a QB and let him battle trask and what ever QB we have on the roster. Maybe another training camp and trask will be ready. I hope baker does well.

  38. Mark hardt Says:

    The Bullseye is still on Bakers back. Because of his bravado and college antics a lot of people hate him. They dismiss his accomplishment of bringing the Browns back from 1-31 to a playoff win and a blown call away from beating the Chiefs in the next round. He has to be perfect just as Trask needed to be. Expect a quick hook. Let,s see if he can be a walk on success for the third time and finally beat his nemesis going all the way back to Texas Tech Mahomes in the superbowl.