TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — There’s no question about Tampa Bay’s plans for Kyle Trask for this season.
If Tom Brady remains healthy, and the Buccaneers are anywhere near as successful as they think they can be, the third-string quarterback likely won’t play a down for the second straight year.
That’s why it’s important for the defending NFC South champions to learn as much as possible this preseason about the 2020 second-round draft pick’s potential to develop into an eventual successor to the 45-year-old Brady.
He threw for 258 yards and led two touchdown drives in a 26-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night. There were some growing pains, too, with Trask throwing an interception and losing a fumble that was returned for a TD.
“Overall, I thought he played well,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said.
Miami third-stringer Skylar Thompson played well in spurts, too, throwing for 218 yards and one TD in Mike McDaniel’s debut as the Dolphins’ coach.
Jason Sanders kicked four field goals, including a 53-yarder that put Miami ahead for good with just under seven minutes remaining.
Trask drove the Bucs into position to potentially win the game, but Jose Borregales’ 49-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright and bounced away as time expired.
“I just tried to stay calm,” Trask said. “We pushed the ball down the field and gave ourselves a chance.”
With Brady taking what Bowles described as a pre-planned break from training camp for personal reasons, Trask and No. 2 quarterback Blaine Gabbert shared playing time against the Dolphins.
Most of the starters from both teams, including Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and key offseason acquisition Tyreek Hill, had the night off after the clubs scrimmaged against each other for two days earlier in the week.
The Bucs announced Thursday that Brady, who practiced the previous day against the Dolphins, will not rejoin the team until after next weekend’s preseason game at Tennessee.
Gabbert, a 12th-year pro who backed up Brady the past two seasons, started Saturday night and worked two series. His 23-yard touchdown pass to Jaelon Darden gave the Bucs an early lead. Trask extended it by completing five of six passes for 67 yards on a long drive Ke’Shawn Vaughn finished with a 1-yard scoring run.
Trask followed that up with a pair of costly turnovers: an interception on an ill-advised pass intended for rookie running back Rachaad White, and a fumble that Miami linebacker Sam Eguavoen returned 32 yards for a second-quarter TD.
The Dolphins also converted the interception into points, with Thompson tossing a 22-yard TD pass to Lynn Bowden Jr.
Thompson played the entire game, finishing 20 of 28 passing with no interceptions.
Trask played the final three quarters for Tampa Bay, going 25 of 33 for 258 yards, one interception and one touchdown.
The 24-year-old was inactive for every game during the regular season and playoffs a year ago, but benefited greatly by watching how Brady prepares for games in practice and executes the offensive plan on game days.
It’s a role Trask has been familiar with since his days at Manvel High School in Texas, where he once played behind future University of Houston and Miami quarterback D’Eriq King. He was also rode the bench at Florida for three years before an injury to Feleipe Franks created an opportunity with the Gators.
The only Tampa Bay player listed as a starter on the depth chart who played was Aaron Stinnie, who’s competing for the left guard opening created by Ali Marpet’s retirement. The rest of the offensive line rested, as did receivers Mike Evans, Russell Gage and Julio Jones, running back Leonard Fournette and defensive stalwarts Lavonte David, Devin White, Shaquil Barrett, Vita Vea, Akiem Hicks, Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Antoine Winfield, Jr.
Several key Dolphins joined Tagovailoa and Hill in sitting out, including receiver Jaylen Waddle, running backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, cornerback Xavien Howard and safety Jevon Holland.
Dolphins: Host the Las Vegas Raiders next Saturday.
Buccaneers: Travel to Nashville next week for a pair of joint practices ahead of facing the Titans on Saturday.