Todd Bowles Talks “Fat-Headed” Fears, JPP Savvy & More

April 22nd, 2021

Ira Kaufman got the Todd Bowles breakdown. Ira’s work is presented by Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of Ford.


When Todd Bowles talks defense, you listen.

In his four full seasons as an NFL coordinator, two with the Cardinals and two with the Bucs, Bowles’ units have ranked as a Top 8 scoring defense three times.

If you’re looking for Bowles to trumpet his own accomplishments, good luck. He’d much prefer to give the credit to his players and fellow assistants.

It all came together down the stretch for the 2020 Bucs,  who yielded an average of only 19 points per game during a closing 8-game winning streak.

Bowles doesn’t give much away on those impersonal Zoom calls, but he was far more candid when I pulled him aside during a fundraiser for the Bruce Arians Foundation at Innisbrook Resort.

“We came together at the end,” Bowles said. “We started out great, went up and down a little in the middle, but consistency and being a professional and effort is what they’re gonna have to battle. They don’t have to battle the other team — they have to battle the man in the mirror.

“Bringing our starters back says a lot from a management standpoint, but you still have to have the same chemistry coming back and be, knock on wood, injury free. The mindset’s got to be right because everybody is going to be talking in your ear about how you won the Super Bowl. That’s really got to go. because handling success is a lot harder than handling failure.”

According to Bowles, before the Bucs start to focus on dealing with Julio Jones, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara, they must develop a game plan for complacency.

“It’s because you get fat-headed,” Bowles said. “It’s easy to fail and then scratch and claw your way back. It’s harder to have success and everyone is feeding your head with sugar plums and you forget about the little things that got you there. Even though we have the same people, we may not be the same on defense. You better tweak things, I don’t ever sit still.”

At that point, Bowles offered his detailed thoughts on some key Buccaneers, including Tom Brady.

“Tom talks to them all off the field,” he said. “We had our veteran guys, but understanding how to win and the culture Bruce and Tom brought to the entire team, pointing little things out, was a boost to their confidence.”

Devin White?

“He has no ceiling. He’s not brash, he’s honest. He loves to play the game, he plays it the right way and he puts in the work. He’s really improved in his coverage. Sometimes he’ll abandon a zone and something comes behind him, but he calmed down from a discipline standpoint. Lavointe helped him out in that regard. He wanted to get better at what he saw was wrong with his game. When you challenge him at something, and I’m a pest, he takes it to heart.”

Ndamukong Suh?

“The man’s driven, intelligent and motivated. He’s one of those guys you wouldn’t be surprised a couple of years down the line if he’s part of a group buying a franchise. He’s playing smarter, he understands where everything is and he’s having a good time. He’s the consummate professional. Every Monday he’s putting in his conditioning work, doing everything it takes to win.”

Jason Pierre-Paul?

“He’s more than a freak — he’s a damned good football player. He brings an attitude and energy and people don’t give him enough credit for being savvy. He’s a tough guy, one of those guys you want to go into a foxhole with.”

Vita Vea?

“Vita makes a big difference when he’s in there. Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) did an outstanding job, but Nacho can’t do the things Vita can do. Nacho can take on a double team … Vita can defeat a double team. That’s the difference. Vita’s just scratching the surface. These guys have pride, They know they can’t rush the passer unless we take care of the running game. That’s rule No. 1.”

If the 2021 Bucs win the division with a Top 10 defense, Bowles figures to be a hot commodity as a head coaching candidate.

His first try ended poorly with the Jets, but lousy ownership didn’t help his cause. Surely, Bowles would be a different head coach the second time around.

Tampa Bay fans have learned to appreciate Bowles while he’s working out of One Buc Place. He says a defense which is just “scratching the surface,” left a lot of plays on the field in 2020.

Can’t you picture Sean Payton spitting up his orange juice when he reads that quote?

Shop now at Just click on through.

Ira with his good friend Sean Sullivan, general manager of Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of ford. Sean will help you personally in any way he can. Just ask!!!

16 Responses to “Todd Bowles Talks “Fat-Headed” Fears, JPP Savvy & More”

  1. Drunkinybor Says:

    Great interview! You got some really cool insight. Sounds like hes going to challenge our guys and tweak some stuff. Gotta stay ahead great mindset. Monte Kiffen had great defenses for many seasons. But Bowles instant excellence and running a completely different screen is catching up with Kiffen on my DC ratings.

  2. Medicated Pete Says:

    I can’t read that many words all at once

  3. JGhotier Says:

    That’s 2 people in NFL circles in one day that pulled out “sugar plums” 😂

    Jerry Jones and now Todd Bowles

  4. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    Vita is the key to this defense. JL absolutely has to draft a SOLID backup for the manbeast. A true big-man NT. Shelvin, Tonga, Slaton, there’s a couple in this draft.

  5. PSL Bob Says:

    It’s difficult for a new coach to come in to a crap team and find instant success. First the organization has to have supportive ownership and a good GM. Then it takes several years through the draft and FA to get the players that fit your system. In today’s NFL, coaches typically don’t get several years. They get 2, maybe 3, and if you’re not winning by then, buh bye. That’s exactly what happened to Bowles with the Jets. He inherited a crap team with poor ownership and wasn’t given sufficient time to build a team that fit his philosophy. IMO it will be interesting to see how things pan out for Gruden in Las Vegas. He certainly has the time – no excuses. Was he really that good a coach when with the Bucs or did he just inherit a very good roster? An on-going debate.

  6. Hodad Says:

    There’s no salary cap for coaches. Hopefully Bowles would take a nice pay raise rather than try to turn a crappy team around as a H.C.. If we have success again this year, keeping Todd, and Byron will be a challenge.

  7. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree…

    if we miss out on c.baremore early, i’d take slaton in the 4th round…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Fatboys Jason Licht and Bruce Arians gets all the credit

    but Todd Bowles and Ryan Succop are the real reason we won the Superbowl”

    Kobe Faker

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Admiral Redbeard … “JL absolutely has to draft a SOLID backup for the manbeast. A true big-man NT”.

    I’m missing something Admiral. Why do we want to use our 1st Rnd pick on a BACKUP to Vea when we might be losing Suh, Gholston & McLendon next year? All are FAs in 2022 (as well as Vea BTW but I seriously doubt we’d let him get away). Seems to me we want to draft someone who can COMPLEMENT Vea in the trenches, not serve as his backup. Or draft someone who can COMPLEMENT JPP this year (he’ll be a FA too in 2022). We don’t have enough depth there either.

    813bucboi’s right in that you grab Christian Barmore (to complement Vea) if he’s still on the board. If he’s not, there seem to be several DEs & OLBs who’d fit in nicely & get some experience this year as a rotational player.

  10. SlyPirate Says:

    Kobe Faker … Did you really just quote yourself?

  11. TampaTown Says:

    I just thank the Lawd he dropped that zone defense/Mike Smith cr@p.

  12. JGhotier Says:

    @Admiral Redbeard

    Alim McNeil

  13. geno711 Says:

    Not a fan of taking a DT in the 1st round as probably none are worthy. Maybe Barmore but if he is gone then why reach for a guy who in other years would be a 3rd round draft choice. Rather get that position next year if need be. Just like not drafting an OT in 2019 because of a bad class of offensive lineman and then getting Wirfs in 2020.

    My opinion is it is a strong year for corners. My opinion is that we will not be signing Carlton Davis to a 2nd contract so I think CB is the position to take.

    Obviously, interior defensive line and rush end/linebacker are needs but lets pick talented guys as we have the last few years instead of reaching for what fans think are positional needs.

  14. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Kobe Faker: Yes, the kicker had more to do with the Bucs winning the Super Bowl than the new QB, Coach and the GM who signed the kicker.

  15. Swampbuc Says:

    I just got a warm feeling all through the loins.

    Bowles is a first class stud. Wow, love the way he talked about those players. Great job at capturing that, Joes. One of the best Joe captures yet, that I’ve read.

  16. fern Says:

    If we have a good draft again this team will be scary good