Bucs Disappointed In Da’Quan Bowers

August 1st, 2013

da'quan bowers

There is no question the Bucs needed and wanted to upgrade their defensive pass rush. The Bucs are so intent on getting heat on quarterbacks, former front-seven coach Bryan Cox, arguably the Bucs’ best defensive assistant, was given a new title and new assignment: He solely and only works on pass rush drills and coaching.

By letting last year’s sack leader Michael Bennett walk away, the Bucs have put a lot of faith (and pressure) on Da’Quan Bowers, who has been nagged by injuries since he was drafted in 2011.

It was a controversial move and reading into a piece on now-injured Adrian Clayborn typed by Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune, it seems Bucs coaches are not doing backflips over Bowers’ practices after the first week of training camp.

In at least one case up front, the Bucs still aren’t sure if their No. 1 guy is worthy. That’s at left end, where third-year pro Da’Quan Bowers has replaced Bennett. The Bucs think Bowers is ready to make an impact as an edge rusher and run stopper, but his play through the first week of training camp has not necessarily been up to their standards.

“He’s played at a high level (in the past), but he’s done it as a situational pass rusher,” Schiano said. “Now, he has to learn how to play down after down and still be a situational pass rusher.

“Situational pass rusher is not a bad deal. You go out there, and 95 percent of the time they throw the ball. So, you don’t have to worry about stopping the run. You don’t have to do the dirty work. When you get to where you’re a first- and second-down player as well as a pass rusher, well, then your world really gets harder. So, we’ll see.”

This is the biggest question on the defensive side of the ball outside of Darrelle Revis’ knee. Can Bowers live up to his talent? It seems, per Cummings’ article, a bit of doubt has crept into the minds of coaches.

Look, Joe knows there is a long, long road to go before the Bucs play the Jets to open the season in New Jersey. One bad week of practice does not a season make.

But the Bucs, namely Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik, put a lot of eggs into Bowers’ basket, rather than signing someone like John Abraham, who was dangling on the line all summer for the Bucs (or any team) to sign.

It was, and is, a gamble. A very big and perhaps a very costly gamble.

29 Responses to “Bucs Disappointed In Da’Quan Bowers”

  1. Architek Says:

    Losing AC and now this report is starting to look bad for the pass rush. Terrible gamble and worse results so far.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Like you said, there is a long way between now and the 1st game.
    We have cap space and there will be players available. From what I’ve seen of Bowers so far….when he is in the game he is effective. Its been a matter of getting him in.
    I think we will be alright here….but I worry about injury.

  3. robert Says:

    disappointed might be stretching it here. I did not read anything quoted that was not true of anyone going from situational to full time.

    maybe motivational….I want to see what the guys behind them (Morgan, Means and Gohlston) have anyway…let them get reps. and of course Teo will bring his lunch pale and played admirably last year.

  4. BucsfaninChina Says:

    I dont know, Joe. I dont see a shred of “disappointment” here unless you know something we dont. Its not like Schiano has been showering Bowers with praise but I’m willing to give him a couple games before using that word. Definitely on the bubble of being a BUST, step up yo game!

  5. Bucnjim Says:

    Would sure like to know how Clayborn is doing. I think he is the one with the most potential to break out.

  6. Captain Stagger Says:

    Joe….reaching a bit here aren’t you????

    What part of the statement suggested disappointment? And Clayborn is not lost???? With rest a stage 1 or 2 groin pull will heal in 4 weeks. Is Bucs news so slow we need to generate stories now?

  7. Macabee Says:


    Following Twitter, I’m told that Adrian Clayborn is at practice riding the stationary bicycle along with Underwood. Good sign!

  8. Eastsidebuc Says:

    This has got to be the most obvious question the whole off season. With 2 injury prone DE, “rockstar” did nothing for depth and nothing to upgrade the position. Your best pass defense is the pass rush and “rockstar” does nothing??? What sense does that make? P.O.B (playoffs or bust)

  9. cbell Says:

    Hey joe love the site man any news on clayborn?

  10. the_buc_realist Says:

    how is this shocking, exactly the same from last year. you would have to live in a fantasy world to think a terrible pass rush is going to turn into an elite level. I do think that there will be a minor improvement from last year, but that is saying nothing at all. After all we have had the worst pass rush on average the last 4 years in the NFL.

  11. robert Says:

    I’m so sick of all the crying about our DE’s….

    this is not the bucs of old needing simeon rice coming off the edge @ lightning speed.

    this is stunts and blitzes looking for mismatches. two different types of D.

    we have depth, and the guys will know the scheme better this year.

  12. Buc'n Junkie Says:

    Why does it seem to me that Joe’s is trying to start a controversy over Bowers this early in camp. It just so trite for Joe’s to keep bringing up Abraham, as if Joe’s has something to prove. Yes, Bowers may struggle, yes Bowers may be a bust, but I’m not convinced like Joe’s, that Abraham was the end all cure all, either. Can we get a story about Bowers and Clayborn without injecting Abraham into the conversation every time? Joe’s wasn’t the only one beating the proverbial drum on signing Abraham, but our GM had his reasons not to, and somehow, through it all, forgot to tell the Joe’s why.

  13. robert Says:

    2 out of 3 sack leaders last year where LB’s…just sayin’

  14. BirdDoggers Says:

    I can understand Dominik wanting to put the bulk of the pass rush on the shoulders of their two young, high draft pick DE’s. The downside of that train of thought is rearing it’s ugly head…injuries and underperformance. It’s still early and Bowers may get into a groove. Hopefully Clayborn’s injury isn’t serious, but it’s the groin and it could be nagging. Gholston and Means haven’t made much noise so far and they both have a learning curve. It’s a win now league. With all the money invested in the secondary, Dominik needs to find a way to have a pass rush, something he hasn’t had since reigning as GM.

  15. snook Says:

    Abraham is garbage. And its evidenced by the fact no one signed him forever.

  16. bucrightoff Says:

    Yawn…training camp/preseason, where nobody’s look like Hall of Famers and somebodies generally don’t care. I’ll be concerned if the pass rush is struggling in week 3, but now the only thing that should be worrisome is injuries.

  17. Bucnjim Says:

    Having a great offensive line probably has something to do with the lack of pressure so far in camp. I think when healthy this is a top 5 or top 3 line in the league. Watched Clayborn & Penn go at it during night practice. Classic battle between two great players.

  18. BigGib Says:

    I really hate when i hear “oh theres no depth behind our starting DE’s”, “If our Dline goes down we are screwed”. Yes we need them to be healthy but doesnt every team need there starting DE’s to be healthy???? Who is the back up DE for the saints, or the falcons, or the panthers. How many Pro bowls have the back ups of those teams made. The backups are usually young players who are trying to develop. I have faith in our Dline especially with our improved secondary.

  19. Couch Fan Says:

    I think being “disappointed” in just the first few days of Training camp is a bit to much. Nowhere in this article does it suggest anyone is disappointed with anyone.

    This is definately something to keep an eye on all season as letting Bennett go, to me, was a mistake but it’s nothing to be to worried about just yet. Hell so far Freeman has had a crappy camp to, i guess we should be worried about everyone who hasent performed up to par through 5 days of camp.

  20. Bobby Says:

    Now this IS Joe trying to stir up some @#!%. I remember the presser and Schiano was not coming down on Bowers at all. He was simply stating that Bowers will have to step his endurance up from last year if he is going to be an every down player. It had nothing to do with his performance in any of this year’s practices. As a matter of fact he said he believed he COULD do it but he hadn’t done it yet so this year would give the answer. At no time did he say he was disappointed with the way Bowers was performing in OTA’s or training camp.

    Bobby, this isn’t the case. You can even check Cummings’ Twitter feed from this morning. Before yesterday, the Bucs were disappointed in Bowers thus far in training camp. Joe hears from various Bucs sources. And you know what, not giving a talented guy glowing marks on July 31 isn’t a very big deal. –Joe

  21. gbuc Says:

    No matter how the Bucs want to spin it. Bennett was our MVP on defense last year. Not signing Abraham was a big mistake.

  22. Adam L Says:

    Wow… I called this shot 2 months ago!

    Injury plagued, unproved D-line with no depth.

    What do we have?

    Claiborne’s groin.

    Bowers underperforming.

    And solutions were available for peanuts up through camp.

  23. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Abraham sat out a LONG time in free agency. There is a reason for that. He eventually signed with the lowly Cardinals, of all teams.

    I maintain that we don’t know how good the pass rush was last year because our defensive line never had a chance to rush the passer. I keep going back to that Giants game where WRs were open before the ball made it from the center to the quarterback. It was ridiculous. That and lets not forget, this isn’t the same defensive line from last year. Clayborn and Bowers missed the majority of the season. McCoy is the only constant from last year. (and Teo)

  24. Biff Barker Says:

    BucNJim may have a point with Penn/Clayborn. Joseph and Nicks have played limited snaps though so the DT’s should be looking better.
    Bowers is playing over Dotson so it’s tough to say. Dotson is supposed to be much improved in pass pro.
    Regardless, reports out of camp yesterday said Bowers was looking more sad than studly.

  25. Biff Barker Says:

    I think you cats are banging pretty hard on Joe over the DE depth situation.
    Kirwan and Ryan were pretty much saying the same thing about starting the season with unproven DE’s, and they weren’t the only ones. Its not exactly a league secret.

  26. Pete 422 Says:

    I agree with Captain Stagger, this is s reach one week into training camp. Woody Cummings seems to be putting words in the coaches mouths. Simply stating what is expected is much different than saying he is a disappointment.

  27. MegaDaveUK Says:

    Poor headline.

  28. Bobby Says:

    @Biff….Clayborn is hardly ‘unproven’. If he’s healthy he will be just fine. Not worried about the groin unless it becomes worse than a strain. Bowers played well when he played last year. I think he will perform at a high level when they turn him loose against an opponent.

  29. Adam Says:

    @Bobby… One “good” season. One injured season.

    you know who had 1 good season?

    Michael Clayton.