TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Baker Mayfield entered the interview tent at Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp just as coach Todd Bowles exited and playfully lobbed the first question of the quarterback’s news conference.
“Are you the starter, Baker?” Bowles asked, smiling as he continued walking away.
Mayfield grinned, too, though he didn’t provide much insight Thursday into where the competition for Tom Brady’s old job stands.
Instead, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 NFL draft who’s battling third-year pro Kyle Trask to become Brady’s successor reiterated he’s simply focused on learning the offense and making the most of an opportunity to jumpstart his career.
“We just work each day. One day at a time, right now,” Mayfield began. “We are just getting into the swing of things offensively with the recall of what we worked on in the spring.”
Trask is a 2021 second-round draft pick who spent the past two seasons a third-stringer learning from Brady, who retired last winter after a historic 23-year run that included six Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots and one with the Buccaneers.
Mayfield, 28, is with his fourth team in two years. He’s 31-38 in 69 starts, including 29-30 over four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
“We’re trying to make the quarterback room as good as possible. … No matter what position I am in, I’m going to try and get everybody better,” Mayfield said of the competition, which began during offseason workouts.
“I’m still going to be me. I’ll work my tail off, obviously, to start. That’s the goal,” he added. “But so is to get everybody else better around me, to raise that competition level and that standard as well.”
In addition to leading the Browns to the playoffs once in four seasons, Mayfield spent time last season with the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams.
“Being in different places and experiences always helps you. If you don’t take lessons from that and learn from it, then you are doing it wrong,” Mayfield said. “I have taken lessons from that in understanding how to approach the game from different seats. I am approaching it like I want to be the starter.”
Trask has appeared in one regular-season game, completing 3 of 9 passes for 23 yards.
“As cliche as it sounds, you just want to compete with yourself and make sure you’re progressing every single day. … That’s been my main focus,” Trask said.
Bowles is not in a hurry to make a decision.
“Obviously, you take notes and you look at things in the spring to see how they learn, see how they handle the team, see how they grow, see how they encourage others and see who is the best fit for the offense. You evaluate it as the time goes,” Bowles said.
“I’ve got a timetable in my head. Obviously, it will be preseason,” the coach added. “I’m not going to make it in the regular season.”
If general manager Jason Licht knows how Bowles is leaning, he’s not saying.
“People can have in their head, ‘Well, it seems like it’s for sure going to be this person or it’s not going to be this person.’ But until we’re out there, anything can happen,” the GM said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun just to really focus on how this is going to play out.”
Via Sports Talk Florida, special to Bucs Report.