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Tom Brady successor battle has ‘absolutely’ tightened, Bucs OC says

Following in the footsteps of a legend is never easy but for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask, it’s the reward for the winner of the training camp battle. 

Tampa Bay is entering the season without Tom Brady under center for the first time since 2019, with one quarterback looking for a fresh start and another for his first opportunity. 

Baker Mayfield at training camp

Quarterback Baker Mayfield goes through a drill during the Buccaneers’ training camp on July 28, 2023, at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Mayfield, the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, has significantly more experience than Trask, who has attempted just nine passes since being drafted in 2021. 

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Asked on Tuesday whether the quarterback battle has tightened since the start of training camp, Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator Dave Canales didn’t skip a beat. 

“Oh, absolutely,” Canales told reporters. 

“The first couple of days, I think the experience that Baker brings, just playing in games, being in camps, going through installs, you can see where the offense was gelling really well,” Canales said when asked where the competition stands. “The timing of the snaps and all that, it’s really critical for us. So, probably an edge for Baker to start off, just in terms of the smoothness of the offense. 

Kyle Trask goes through drills at training camp

Buccaneers quarterback Kyle Trask passes during training camp on July 28, 2023, at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“But it just took a couple of days for Kyle to really settle in. And then, what we saw is the last two practices, Kyle really showed what he can do, stretching the field with his arm, getting the ball out quickly, making decisions. So, I am really excited about both of those guys and the progression that they’ve made throughout the last couple of days.”

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Mayfield signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay in the offseason after playing for two teams during the 2022 NFL season. 

Despite being on his fourth NFL team, Mayfield is still confident in his abilities as the start of the season approaches. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks throw during practice

Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, left, and Kyle Trask go through a drill during OTA offseason workouts on May 30, 2023, at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I don’t need anyone on the outside to tell me what I can or can’t do,” Mayfield said last week, via the Buccaneers website.

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“I know what I am capable of. Yeah, I mean I got hurt in Cleveland. That is why my run ended there. Then last year, it was what it was in Carolina. Everything happens for a reason. I am here now, and I am ready to go. This team, you talk about skeptics and what the narrative is around this team, I think it speaks to our veterans and the people that were a part of the run to the Super Bowl and the success that they have had recently, more so than me. I will always have a chip on my shoulder.”

Trask was a two-year starter at Florida and was a second-round draft pick in 2021. 

Fox News’ Chantz Martin contributed to this report

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