Preseason Quarterback Battle Still Ongoing as Buccaneers Fall to Steelers

Ken Cross

August 14, 2023 at 3:20 pm.

TAMPA, Fla. – The collective magnifying glass of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continues on the quarterback battle between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. However, Saturday evening in the Buccaneers’ 27-17 loss to Pittsburgh at Raymond James Stadium, neither signal caller took command of the offense.

Mayfield completed 8 of 9 passes for 63 yards, while Trask went 6 of 10 for 99 yards. He also found wide receiver David Moore on a 38-yard pass play, but the Bucs were flagged for a face mask penalty.

The story on Mayfield is that his most solid ability is to play on the move and on the rollouts. He needs the ability to consistently drive the Buccaneers’ scoring drives throughout games.

“There were a couple of line checks that I could have turned into a better play,” said Mayfield. “We will watch the tape and get better from it. That’s why it’s preseason.”

Mayfield led the Buccaneers on a nine-play touchdown drive that saw Trey Palmer make the catch and manage to get both his feet down in the back of the end zone as the Buccaneers tied the game, 7-7.

“The moment wasn’t too big for me or nothing,” said Palmer. “I do it at practice. I practice ‘contested catches.’ I saw the ball and not even the player.”

The scoring march had several different contributors as former Fordham Ram running back Chase Edmonds figured in the drive.

“I thought Chase Edmonds was going to score on the run play just before that,” explained Mayfield, who previously played for the Browns, Panthers and Rams (last season). “He lost his footing. That’s what it’s all about – putting plays together and moving the chains. Trey made an absolutely great catch in the back of the end zone.”

Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles lauded Mayfield for his first evening in a Bucs uniform.

“He was composed and did a good job of commanding the offense,” said Bowles. “He made the plays he needed to make.”

Meanwhile, Trask suffered three quarterback sacks which were key in Mayfield taking the lead in the game in passing yards.

“I felt very comfortable with every play that was given to me,” said Trask. “I just have to clean up the little things. We are going to New York next week to play against a team with a lot of buzz. We will see how we stack up.”

Trask discussed how he was more comfortable in his third training camp than in the previous two years.

“The last two preseasons, I felt very nervous out there,” noted Trask. “This year, I feel very comfortable in my ability, my body felt better and my arm strength felt better.”

John Wolford is also a new quarterback in Coach Todd Bowles’s system. He came over from the Los Angeles Rams where he served as a backup playing in seven games and starting four in his first three NFL seasons.

Wolford completed 10 of 17 passes for 111 yards and completed two scoring drives which were a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Blankenship and an 8-yard TD pass to tight end Payne Durham.

As you watch a preseason game and see its outcome, you know the potential for injuries if you had all the normal starters in place.

Sixteen starters did not play for Tampa Bay and rightfully so. You never know who could go down with an injury and lose the season with starters in the game, who are certain to play.

With that, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh combined for 18 penalties as the Bucs were flagged 12 times for 127 yards. 

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