After a short two-drive stint to close out week eighteen a lot of questions swirled around Kyle Trask. Not just his play but the staff’s incorporation of him in the game plan. So what do we make out of this at season’s end?
Timing and Usage
One thing that caught my attention, and that of many fans, was the timing of Trask entering the game. With a prime opportunity to have Trask play significant time so that he may be evaluated Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich put him on the field late. Not just late but with under eight minutes left down by ten points. This precarious situation for essentially a rookie quarterback is not ideal.
Likely feeling overly nervous as many do when they finally get in a real game he had the added pressure of crafting a come from behind victory. Trial by fire is one thing but that’s not how you develop an NFL starting quarterback.
An additional note should be taken as to whom Trask had to make his debut with. With only one actual starter on the entire offense Trask marched out onto the field. He had depth players on the line like Luke Goedeke, Brandon Walton, Justin Skule, and John Molchon. Although Molchon played well. Most of whom you never heard of before.
Also take into consideration that the primary receivers were out too. No Mike Evans, no Chris Godwin, and no Julio Jones. Trask was throwing to back ups Scotty Miller, Deven Thompkins, and Breshad Perriman. Trask went three or nine for 32 yards. Add in Giovani Bernard and Ke’Shawn Vaughn for good measure and you have an offense Tom Brady himself may not have been able to will to success.
Playing Without Starters
Unfortunately though some fans walked away ready to throw in the towel on Trask. An argument I saw was that “it shouldn’t matter that he wasn’t playing with the starters”. This argument is ridiculous. The great Peyton Manning won 2.1 games per loss with Reggie Wayne on the field. In games without Wayne (While he was still on the roster), Peyton’s win to loss number drops to only 1.5. That’s only one player. You have to assume Peyton’s numbers drop far below that and even get into the negatives if you remove ALL the starters but a single offensive lineman.
Least we not forget the Falcons were playing most their starters on defense.
The Stats Argument
Another argument was that the stats he put up and his inability to mount a comeback were proof enough he needed to go. This argument revolves around such a small sample size it’s insignificant for us in arguing for or against him. It’s a recency bias with Patrick Mahomes as the standing example. If teams gave up on quarterbacks so quickly some of the greatest we have seen would have been bounced around and out of the league.
Tom Brady himself came in late into a game for his first ever full drive. His numbers? Five of ten for 46 yards. He also ended the drive with four incomplete passes in a row with the game on the line. Imagine if that staff gave up on Brady as quick as some Buccaneers fans are ready to do to Trask. Peyton Manning’s first game was horrible. 21 of 37 for 302 yards, a lone touchdown, and three (you read that correctly) interceptions. Good thing the Colts didn’t listen to their fans.
Oh, and the recency bias is flawed. People seem to forget Patrick Mahomes first game. 22 of 35 for 284 yards and an interception. Hardly anything to shake a stick at.
This argument is based on a mythical and irrelevant number in the pecking order on this team. The “he can’t even beat out Blaine Gabbert for second string” argument. Undoubtedly in ones monas and complaints about this team this season, one forgets the underlying issue of misplaced loyalty.
For example, when Leverett came in and out played Goedeke everyone was up in arms about why he didn’t start to begin with. The answer, loyalty. In this case emplaced on Goedeke because he was a second round pick over last years practice squad member.
Or not starting Rachaad White over Leonard Fournette. Again, misplaced loyalty. You see this staff has an over amount of loyalty to certain players over others. In some cases they covet experience and reward those who have shown loyalty to them. Hence Gabbert over Trask.
Claiming Trask is abysmal this early in his career is an absolute over reaction. Imagine if the Ravens gave up on Lamar Jackson after going 13 of 19 for 150 yards and an interception in his first game. They would still be in a never ending quarterback carousel. John Elway went one of eight for 14 yards and an interception in his debut.
For now this mentality represents a bigger issue. One that transcends football. The instant gratification that people crave. History has proven that teams that jump ship on quarterbacks quickly tend to be perpetual losers.
One Last Thing
Something I have noticed in my interactions in message boards and social media. Many of those pushing the narrative that Trask needs to go tend to be Florida State fans. Much like when University of Florida fans pilled on ever mistake Jameis Winston made. So please check your college fandom at the door. This is the NFL. You may be unintentionally rooting for your favorite NFL team to lose.