By Evan Winter
Special to Sports Talk Florida
The Bucs may have lost to the Bengals on Saturday night, but there were still some encouraging performances. Kyle Trask’s was one of them.
Don’t let the 4-of-15 for 35 passing yards fool you. Or the 39.6 quarterback rating. Overall, Trask had a good night and displayed some of the tools that prompted the Bucs to take him with the last pick in the second round.
He made good decisions, showed off an arm, and also made a couple of legit NFL throws. There’s probably a lot more intrigue surrounding the Bucs and Trask if Josh Pearson doesn’t drop one pass and if Travis Jonsen stays inbounds on another.
One guy who didn’t have a good night, however, was current third-string quarterback Ryan Griffin. He completed 6-of-11 attempts for 45 passing yards and two interceptions. It wasn’t just about the stat line, though, and it almost never should be. Griffin’s two interceptions were bad.
I’m talking really bad. Both occasions saw Griffin throw to a receiver that was clearly blanketed by a defender. Or defenders.
The second interception shown below is neither a throw nor a decision you want to see your quarterback make. No matter where they rank on the roster. This is also Griffin’s ninth season in the NFL and his third year in Bruce Arian’s system. He knows better than to make decisions such as this.
“A little disappointed in Griff (Ryan Griffin) with his experience and throwing those balls over the middle,” Arians told reporters Saturday night after the game.
The Bucs aren’t going to carry four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and they aren’t going to put Trask on the practice squad. The eventual plan is for the Bucs to make Trask the third-string quarterback and likely move Griffin down to the practice squad.
So if that’s what’s going to happen, anyway, then why not go ahead and make Trask the third-string quarterback now? I get it: It’s just one preseason game; there’s little reason to use that small of a sample size as a reason to demote Griffin. But at the same time, the writing is on the wall for Griffin and when you align that with both quarterbacks’ recent performances, then it may not be a bad idea to go ahead and put the plan for Trask in motion.
And the fact that it is the preseason also aides in the potential decision. You’re not going to affect Trask’s confidence if he doesn’t play well during the next two games. He has all the confidence in the world and he’s been in the backup position before. This is nothing new to him and honestly, it’s something he’ll use as motivation to better himself. He needs all the reps he can get. What better way to make sure that happens than playing him as much as possible?
“The one thing I really like about him – and he showed it in practice every day – the rush gets up in his face, there’s no panic and he’s really accurate,” said Arians. “I mean, he threw that ball 60 yards down the field with guys right up in his face. He’s growing every day. The game isn’t too big for him. He’s going to be fine.”