Too Many Eggs In Bowers’ Basket?

August 15th, 2013

Yes, Joe posted this information last night, but it bears being put under the microscope for further examination: The Da’Quan Bowers Odyssey.

Yesterday, Joe read a report that noted Bowers was mostly participating on passing downs during the Bucs-Patriots joint practices in Foxborough. This seemed a odd to Joe as the Bucs are bound and determined to make Bowers an every down defensive lineman. Shoot, the Bucs played Bowers the entire first half last week in the preseason opener. Rarely are starters left out in a preseason opener longer than, say, 20 minutes into the game.

That was eye-opener No. 1. Eye-opener No. 2 was Greg Schiano’s comments about Bowers and the starting left defensive end gig.

“There are no starting jobs right now. Guys are competing on the defensive front. You’ve got Gerald McCoy, that’s a guy who is definitely starting,” Schiano said. “If AC [defensive end Adrian Clayborn] can come back healthy, then he’s definitely starting. After that it’s wide open.”

Whoa.. whoa… whoa… whoa! Wait, what? Bowers not starting? Joe can just hear Vince Lombardi yelling, “What the hell is going on out here?”

Bucs fans were told in the offseason that, in part, the Bucs didn’t re-sign 2012 Bucs sack leader Michael Bennett because he was damaged goods and that Bowers was ready to fill the void. The Bucs turned their noses up at John Abraham because, in part, Bowers was ready to be the bookend to Adrian Clayborn. The Bucs looked the other way on Osi Umenyiora and Dwight Freeney, in part, because it was now Bowers’ time to shine.

Now we are being told Bowers may not even start? Good grief, how quickly Bowers has fallen in the eyes of the Bucs. He went from future Pro Bowler to perhaps a part-time player in a matter of weeks.

Joe had a hunch all along it was a gamble — a big gamble — to put so many eggs in Bowers’ basket, a guy who came out of Clemson with a lot of potential but has been injured and has yet to come remotely close to reaching that potential.

If Bowers, three weeks from the season-opener against the Jets, hasn’t locked up a starting gig, how silly do the Bucs look at being penny-wise and pound-foolish with Bennett? Sure, he was/is damaged goods, but for the (relatively) minimal amount he would have cost and all the cash the Bucs have under the salary cap, what the heck. If Bennett couldn’t hack it, you make an injury settlement or cut him and walk away.

Something really smells fishy here (and it’s not the empty beer bottles at Joe’s side). Joe totally understands how Schiano wants competition, but my goodness, what has happened to Bowers?

If Bowers can’t cut the mustard with Schiano, Joe thinks it is safe to say that Clemson defensive ends are just like Penn State quarterbacks and Florida wide receivers: Stay away. Stay very far away.

39 Responses to “Too Many Eggs In Bowers’ Basket?”

  1. Red86 Says:

    I expect Bowers to have a break out season next year. Assuming he stay healthy all season. Right now I think this is being a little overblown for a guy that was hurt most of his career. Yea the GM let Bennett walk, but that wasn’t Bowers choice. I still think the Bucs should get Abraham, while he’s available. That if the other DEs prove to be okay performance wise.

  2. tampabaybucfan Says:

    Its too early to start digging the grave for Bowers. Yes, Schiano may be on his A$$ but what else is new. My fear is that Bowers may not be a “Buccaneer Man” and that is the kiss of death.
    From what I saw of Bower’s play…when he is in, he does very well. If he can’t be an every down player, then we’ll have to adjust. That would put a lot more pressure on the development of Means and Gholdson which isn’t a bad thing.
    Relax and let things play out.

  3. tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Red 86

    Abraham signed a 2 year deal with Arizona

  4. lightningbuc Says:


  5. jvato24 Says:

    Wow, only 1 game into preseason and Bowers is a Bust at LE. Can we actually see him live in games before he is written off?? If i remember correctly Mike Bennett routinely struggled with assignments and run fits until his final breakout season here. 1 preseason game no sacks = bust i guess just like 1 bad practice with Freeman = six flags

  6. Ian P. Says:

    I think it speaks more about the competition at DE than anything else. Te’o-Nesheim had a lot of potential coming out of college, but has since been (mostly) a bust. Maybe he’s finally found the right system?

  7. Name Required Says:

    I just don’t understand how everyone in the NFL world but our organization can see the dilemma so clearly.

    If your defense was at or near last in the league, how is the coordinator not fired and more DLs not brought in?

  8. snook Says:

    Sorry folks… Abraham is garbage. Thats why he went unsigned for so long.

  9. FlBoy84 Says:

    Think it’s more that the coach(es) are trying to send a message. Have read numerous articles where Bowers is being constantly corrected in practice and his motor has been questioned. Read the other day that even Clayborn was frustrated because Bowers kept blowing his assignment. There will be a few DE’s released in the final cuts that should be able to come in and add depth as well. Curious to see how it plays out.

  10. Biff Barker Says:

    Name Reuired,
    It’s because Sheridan is running Schiano’s defense that’s why.
    The guy insists on stunting against QB’s who can get rid of the ball in under 3 seconds.
    We better be very heavy in man press at the line to give our rush a chance or its going to be a very long season.

  11. Buc1987 Says:

    “There will be a few DE’s released in the final cuts that should be able to come in and add depth as well. Curious to see how it plays out.”


  12. eDDyk0k0 Says:

    Bowers came up with the plan of playing more snaps last week. He literally said that coach and him are together on doing so because he is an unproven defensive end in the national football league, unlike Adrian clayborn he has yet to play full season, and both he and Schiano know he has the attributes to be a game changer. All coach wants is bowers to have ample time to perfect his craft and so does Bowers. There is no reason to worry about a coach (Schiano) COACHING his player (Bowers) to PLAY more snaps. There is no better substitute for learning than actually game time situations. Remember it’s all about trust, belief, and accountability.

  13. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Last i checked, the sky isnt falling, folks. We are talking about the second week of the damn preseason. The Bucs are not one single player away from Super Bowl greatness, nor would the demise of Bowers mean we are a sub-.500 team. Schiano is hyping this guy up waaaay too much, considering he hasnt proven a damn thing in the NFL.

    Yeah, we f’ed up by not resigning Bennett, but damn, Clayborn is back. There was so much speculation last year that he would be the guy making one hell of a year for himself. Also, Revis=more secondary and LB blitzes. We will have pressure coming from other places folks, Bowers is not our make or break player on defense.

  14. Robbie_G Says:

    It bothers me Bowers is not in shape. Looks like EVEYONE else came into camp ready to go, even the players who were hurt. This is one of the 2 BIG questions this year, pass rush and the QB. Clayborn looks like he is ready to go, which is great. How can you come into camp KNOWING you are going to be ” the guy” and NOT be in shape? At least Means came in hungry, working hard, in shape, and WILLING to learn. I hope they found a diamond in the rough, or have someone else who is willing to put in the work. It is early, maybe just MAYBE Bowers can get his head right.

  15. tampabaybucfan Says:

    Over 3 weeks is an eternity in preseason….not time to panic & if things aren’t right….there will be players cut between now & the season. They could be cut for financial reasons….not talent, or the team cutting them may already have the DE position & backup filled.

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    @ eDDyk0k0…I understand what your saying, but why was he still playing into the 2nd qtr, up against 2nd and 3rd stringers?and How come he was not more effective up against those 2nd and 3rd stringers?

    I still think there’s a plan behind moving him inside to DT every so often, so it makes him a better DE. I don’t know though. I’m not inside Schiano’s mind. I do think it’s too early to speculate. I think Schiano can turn crap into gold is what I’m trying to say. If he can’t turn Bowers into gold, which it’s seems he’s having a hard time doing. I think they will look elsewhere, but as far as this season goes it might be too late. Which is the point of Joe’s article.

    The turning crap into gold part is my point of why Dom and Schiano never went after another DE or kept Bennett.

  17. tampabaybucfan Says:

    We drafted 2 DEs & one DT….so, there were thoughts that we needed depth (cheap depth) Perhaps one of our rookies will shine….stranger things have happened. Hell, lets put Lavonte David on the line….he seems to be everywhere anyway. Or maybe we can bring in Tebow for the job!

  18. BFFL Says:

    He’s too big and slow to be a defensive end, but too small to be a tackle. That’s the reason he slipped in the draft. Good thing the rock star doesn’t pick our players anymore.

  19. Matt Says:

    Richard Seymour

  20. joseph mamma Says:

    If Bower’s is awful this season, then we will be picking in the top ten and drafting his replacement. I just can’t believe we let Bennett go because of money. Does anyone remember what Bill Parcell’s said in his HOF speech? He said he was lucky that he worked for owner’s that gave him all the resources he needed to win and if you don’t have that, you don’t have a chance.

  21. tampabaybucfan Says:

    Simeon Rice out of Retirement!!!

  22. Rob Says:

    I think it’s time for everyone to calm down and let the guy play. He’s still tentative and all this extra attention isn’t going to help. It’s been one pre-season game and a few weeks worth of practice. If he’s sucking by week 5 or so… different story.

  23. DallasBuc Says:

    If coach and GM really believed in competition then they would have brought back one or more of those mentioned top free agents to compete with Bowers. They are giving it to Bowers like they did with Quincy Black. This one is on the GM really. It is his job to bring in the talent to compete. Bowers better step it up!

  24. Buc'n Junkie Says:


    Good thing the rock star doesn’t pick our players anymore.


    What? Some people will say anything that they can fling against a wall to see if it sticks. You know monkeys do that, although maybe not with words. I think it’s safe to say that the GM with his job description is still making the decisions on player personnel. Now, does he confer with the Coach? probably.

  25. Yar Says:

    Once a cut and dried “starter” is named it takes away incentive from not only the back-ups but the starter also.

  26. BucDan Says:

    I do not think it is a question of Bowers being out of shape. What is in question is his desire on the field. Even though he played in the majority of the first preseason game, he hustled when he wanted to hustle. Not “til the whistle” as football players should know. I watched as he slowed his play and dropped hands multiple times once the play was obviously not coming his way. Watch McCoy and how he hustles down the field until the ball carrier is brought to the turf. AC does the same. So do David and Foster. That is the mentality that Schiano is looking for. It is the mentality that he showed in week two versus the Giants last year.

    I hope the light switch goes ON for #91, but I kind of had a clue during last season while following him on twitter. AC constantly tweeted about recovery and getting back on the field. Bowers constantly showed his immaturity as he “hustled” girls. Barely mentioned the team or recovery work.

  27. Dooleymite Says:

    Bowers has a 41 Tackle(w/a fistful for a loss) 9 sack void to fill thanks to Dom & Schiano, but I think he’ll eventually have a positive response to this pressure he’s been getting. The preseason is for players to establish themselves and tune up for the regular season, being one game in, it’s way too early to to competely write Bowers off, but what I think we’re seeing is Bowers working himself out the very hole left by Bennett’s departure. I hope him well and oh yeah, Go Bucs!!

  28. eDDyk0k0 Says:

    Practice makes perfect and Bowers learning to play defensive tackle maybe could make the front four more diverse. I’m just speculating here but perhaps on 3rd down they have McCoy and Bowers lined up inside with AC at right end with one of the rookies (Gholston? Means?) at left end. Gmc getting the double team could allow Bowers to get a better one on one match up with a guard rather than a tackle. Which could then help collapse the pocket and generate more pressure on the quarterback.

  29. BucFanNYC Says:

    Thank you BucDan for saying exactly what needed to be said. The problem IMO may not really be his talent(decent, could be great), or his fitness(although he is still too out-of-shape to be an every down player), the problem is his mentality, drive, and motor. I think he said all the right things to Schiano during his injury recovery, did all the right things when people were watching, puffed up his feathers and convinced Schiano that he was a true “Buccaneer Man”. If you follow his interviews, twitter, and gameplay it is pretty easy to see that he hasn’t turned that corner and he was probably putting on a show. Pure speculation, but it looks that way from my very outside position looking in.

    I don’t get all the dramatic worry here though. He should at least be an ok situational pass rusher this year; Gholston and Means(especially) seem to really be outperforming their expectations and will probably be able to fill in the rest. It isn’t perfect, but it is definitely not a disaster. Bennett could have been a mistake, but if Schiano is right about Means then this time next year Bennett will be a distant memory.

    A lot of coaching is just simple psychology. Bowers is not a self-starting introvert that Lavonte David is. Looks like if Bowers is going to get motivated, it has to be externally driven when people are looking at him, calling him out, praising him, etc. So, I would expect that Schiano knows this and will continue the media hooplah around him to try and get him motivated to actually work.

    Could be way off base, just some thoughts.

  30. Buc1987 Says:

    eDDyk0k0 …good points. I also think it’s a lot harder to get to the QB from the DT position. Which if he is struggling to do so from the DT position. When Schiano moves him back over to his natural spot DE it makes it easier on him. Kind like a Mr.Miyagi, karate kid type thingy. Paint the fence, wax the car, sand the floor only to make him better at karate.

  31. Mike J Says:

    BucDan , didn’t Bowers himself admit recently that he was not in the best shape??

  32. Buc'n Junkie Says:


    I think you’re right on message!

  33. BucDan Says:

    @Mike J

    Yes, he did. But as I mentioned, I believe that being in shape and giving it your all are two different things. Was Albert Haynesworth not in shape in Washington or was he just not motivated? He was “the best at his position” during that time frame. It’s been said plenty of times that you can teach technique, players can have the gifts of the game, but if the player does not have the heart or the drive to do what it takes to be a champion….

    Plenty of players out there that just outwork and out hustle the more in shape guys. Same as there are plenty of high round flame outs. The players that take it serious, play sound technique and run through the whistle: These are the players that Schiano is looking for. Not players with excuses such as “I’m just not in shape” or whatever he said exactly.

  34. BucDan Says:

    Let me say that I do believe that Bowers can play. I agree with exactly how Schiano has described the situation. We know he can play. Can he do it on a consistent every-down basis? #93 can. #94 can. That is why he said they are starters. Bowers is not the only one making a case here.

    The same can be said for NT, SLB, #2/3 CBs, 3rdRB, 3rd WR and FB from what we can tell so far.

  35. Red86 Says:


    Good looking out. Thought he was still available.

    I rewatch some of the last game. Bower did good against the run with the first team. He held the edge and forced the HB to run wide. It may not be on espn but that the different between a tackle for loss or a big gain by the HB. I didn’t get to re watch the whole game.

    I think the bar is unreasonably too high right now for Bowers. It’s his first camp to participate in fully. Yes he may have being told and read documents about his job. But, everyone learn differently. Some can read and immediately do the task. Some require demonstrations. Some need to be hands on. Experience is key for him. This is actually a time for him to add new move on the field, instead of spending time rehabbing from some injury.

  36. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Red86 Says
    “…I think this is being a little overblown…”

    This. Bowers is learning Defensive Tackle at the same time as trying to play the Defensive End position. I think it’s a mistake to have him learn DT before he masters DE. But all it means is it’s going to take him some time to become great. After all, this is only his second season playing.

  37. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    He’s only played in 26 games out of 32. He’s only started 6 of them.

    A lot of that was because the team wouldn’t let him play at first. They wanted to make sure he healed all the way.

    So he’s going to be a little behind the curve. Same as GMC was. People sreamed for GMC to be cut…now those same people pretend they never said such things and sing his praises.

    Some players are worth the wait. I think Bowers is one such player. I’m not opposed to him being a backup this year though, if there is someone better.

  38. Buc'n Junkie Says:

    ^^^ you’re right. I think it’s the society we live in today. The entitlement mentality. Everybody thinks they deserve it now and they don’t want to wait for it. People lose their patience quickly now, and are prone to lash out and point fingers before they have all the information. People have become less tolerable and more judgemental. People are less sensitive to others needs because what they want is more important. Selfish and self absorbed.

  39. scubog Says:

    Well said Junkie. I’m really over hearing about the now over-hyped Michael Bennett who, as I recall, in the early part of his NFL career (where Bowers is now) was CUT! I wish Bennett all the success in the world in his return to the team (Seattle) that originally dumped him but the media’s obsession with his departure is wearing me down. Bowers may be thinking too much and not just playing on instinct; but he’s no Booker Reece just yet.