It is official that Todd Bowles is the new defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As of Tuesday, January 8, 2019, Bruce Arians is the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Arians and Bowles are teaming up once again, this time, in Tampa Bay. In my opinion, Todd Bowles is going to be a great fit and a great defensive coordinator for Tampa Bay. It is my opinion that the Buccaneers have not had a great defensive coordinator since Monte Kiffin, who served as the Bucs defensive coordinator from 1996 to 2008. Todd Bowles was the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals for two years (2013 and 2014) while Bruce Arians was the head coach. Arians and Bowles have a track record of success while they worked together in Arizona. In 2013, Arizona finished the regular season with a 10-6 record, finishing the year ranked third in the NFC West. The following year, in 2014, Arizona finished the regular season with an 11-5 record, ending the year ranked second in the NFC West, made the playoffs but were eliminated by the Carolina Panthers in the first round.
In 2013, some of the more notable players Arizona’s defense included players such Calais Campbell, John Abraham, Patrick Peterson, and Tyrann Mathieu. Abraham and Peterson made the Pro Bowl in 2013. In 2014, Campbell made the Pro Bowl, as did Peterson again. Antonio Cromartie was a new addition to the Cardinals in 2014, and he also made the Pro Bowl that year. According to PFF, Arizona’s defense finished the season ranked as the seventh-best defense in the NFL in 2013. In 2014, Arizona’s defense finished the season ranked as the fifth-best defense in the NFL.
When Bowles served as the head coach for the New York Jets from 2015-2018, he also had a hand in helping to select several prominent players on the defensive side of the ball through the NFL Draft such as Jamal Adams, Darron Lee and Leonard Williams. Adams was drafted sixth overall in the 2017 draft, named to the Pro Football Writers Association’s honorary All-Rookie Team in 2017 and was also selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Darron Lee was drafted 20th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Through his first three seasons, Lee has 241 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, and 1 defensive touchdown. Williams was selected sixth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Williams made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year and was also selected to the PFWA’s honorary All-Rookie team. His career stats so far include 220 total tackles, 17 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and one interception. Even though the owners and the GM’s of each NFL team usually get the credit for their team’s draft picks, I would say that Todd Bowles certainly had a hand in selecting a few of the Jets more prominent players on defense. Bowles knows how to evaluate talent and bring the best out of his players.
Now that Bowles is with Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers are probably going to run a 3-4 style defense. There are already some solid pieces for Bowles to work with, including Jason Pierre-Paul, Vita Vea, Lavonte David, Kendell Beckwith, Justin Evans, and Vernon Hargreaves, as well as some young promising corners who will be going into their second-year such as Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart, and Jordan Whitehead. There are also some more solid players to work with such as Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander but there are still some questions about whether or not they will return to the team this year. Hopefully, they do.
I’m excited for Todd Bowles to get to work and help turn this defense around. I will certainly be watching earnestly to see what happens in free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft to help improve this defense. I look forward to Bowles being a much more aggressive play-caller on defense than the Bucs have had in the last 10 years. He knows how to mix up and disguise coverages and blitz packages to confuse opposing quarterbacks, making it difficult for them to read what the defense is going to do. The offense is capable of scoring a lot of points, that was proven in 2018 as the Buccaneers had the #1 ranked offense in the NFL statistically. Like I had stated in one of my previous articles, during the 2018 season, the Buccaneers finished the year with a 5-11 record, but six of those losses were only by a touchdown or less. If the defense is able to keep opposing offenses from scoring as many points as they did against them in 2018, then hopefully that will result in a lot more wins than losses and hopefully a playoff berth in 2019. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the Buccaneers in 2019. I’m excited about the future and the direction that this team is going in!
Let’s root our Bucs on to victory! Let’s go Bucs, fire the cannons!