The question has been asked. Will we ever see Tampa Bay’s defense get back to being anywhere near as good as the 2002 Bucs defense? I think it’s possible, and it starts this year.
For the Bucs, the majority of next month’s NFL Draft is going to be focused on improving the defense. I believe that Todd Bowles is the first quality defensive coordinator that the Bucs have had since Monte Kiffin. Todd Bowles is one of the best and most aggressive defensive minded coaches in the NFL today.
I also believe that Bruce Arians is grooming Todd Bowles to eventually take over as the Bucs future head coach, whenever Arians decides to retire for good. Tampa Bay already has some solid pieces for the Bucs to start building around for the future, such as Lavonte David, Carl Nassib, Vita Vea, Justin Evans, M.J. Stewart, Jordan Whitehead, and Carlton Davis.
When Bowles served as the Jets head coach (2015 to 2018), he did what came naturally to him. The majority of his draft picks were focused on the defensive side of the ball, e.g., Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, and Jamal Adams. Last year, at about this time, the Jets were able to sign Trumaine Johnson to a big contract in free agency. They also brought in Morris Claiborne from free agency to help out their secondary.
When Bowles served as the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals (2013-2014), in the 2014 NFL Draft Arizona selected current Buccaneers safety/linebacker Deone Bucannon in the first round.
According to profootballreference.com, in 2013 the Cardinals statistically had the #7 ranked defense in the NFL and #5 ranked defense in the NFL in 2014.
I think we will eventually see Tampa Bay’s defense return to being one of the best defensive units in the NFL. Just like the 2002 Buccaneers, although it may take a few years and a lot of patience.
I’m excited about the future of this team! Go Bucs!