Todd Bowles: “You Can’t Pick Up Where You Started Off Last Year”

September 22nd, 2021

You could write a good blues song about the Buccaneers’ pass defense.

But make it an uplifting song with a happy-ending message.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has had plenty of ups and downs with his young defensive backs since taking the Bucs job in 2019. And he knows their greatness in the 2020 playoffs isn’t showing up yet.

A guest on The Bruce Arians Show yesterday at, Bowles was asked how continuity of players and coaches has paid off early this season.

Bowles said it’s appeared as a clear advantage for some of the defense but not all of it.

“I don’t think it’s paid off yet. I think it’s paid off up front from a D-line standpoint from the stunts and everything else.  I think from the back-7, I still think we’re scratching the surface and we have a ways to go,” Bowles said. “I think we play good at times, and I think we make errors at times that are not yet consistent of where we need to be … You can’t pick up where you started off last year. You couldn’t if you had a losing record, you couldn’t if you had a winning record.

“Every year starts a different year and I think guys have to understand that, and they’re starting to understand that. You have to work and put in the work and put in the everyday grind as a coach and as a player to understand how you have to get ready for Sundays, and then you have to out there and do it. We’re close. We’re not there yet but we’re making strides.”

It almost sounds like Bowles was diagnosing a minor Super Bowl hangover when it comes to his secondary and the overall pass coverage from his linebackers and defensive backs.

As for injuries, and the Bucs have had their share, Bowles said he can’t go there. He said he’s been a a part of “three healthy secondaries that I went through a season with” in 21 years of NFL coaching.

17 Responses to “Todd Bowles: “You Can’t Pick Up Where You Started Off Last Year””

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    AB has the Rona

  2. mark2001 Says:

    You would think if anyone on this team was “susceptible” to some SB letdown, it would be the younger guys. They haven’t learned how tough and it is to ever get there again, and how rarely does your team really have the talent to do so.

  3. crazyBucs_CL Says:

    @“You Can’t Pick Up Where You Started Off Last Year”
    that’s true, actually you should be better. You got all the players, and then some..
    Todd B, is just an average DC; and specially when it comes to changes, reaction, action he is sooooo slow. We never will have a great D under him.

  4. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Better to start off slow ( and still get W’s) Than to fade down the stretch. If our secondary improves and the D can get off the field, our offense should be a pinball machine. Cha Ching Cha Ching.

  5. SlyPirate Says:

    The NFL is creating a monster.

    The DBs will improve if every team keeps attacking the Bucs through the air.

    The defense should be dialed in by the playoffs.

  6. gotbbucs Says:

    Basically we have a bunch of vets on the d-line and young guys in the secondary. They’ll figure it out.
    Every single year is the same song and dance. The offenses around the league put up big numbers in September and October and then the defense catches up in November and December.

  7. gotbbucs Says:

    You live in a fantasy world.

  8. Ben green Says:

    Bowled is exactly right. Bringing everyone back doesn’t guarantee they’ll play like they did last year. Every year is different, every team is different. Some of those guys up front look fat and happy to Ben. The bucs are now the hunted. It’s an all together different animal. Teams aren’t going to lay down because they see superior talent. If anything it’s a chance to prove yourself against the best. Brady and gronk understand this, but I worry about the defense.

  9. firethecannons Says:

    The Bucs had 2 pick 6 last week plus other decent plays, with all the short quick passing going on, I am happy with this, hope Arians keeps ME32 in the game at nickel and finds ways to keep him active every down. Stressing handsup to the front 7 is the way to go and led directly to the Shaq pick.

  10. 163doubleplay Says:

    The DB’s need help from the frontline. If the BUCS frontline cannot pressure Stafford, the secondary will have hard time stopping the pass.

  11. Hodad Says:

    The D line only has two sacks, the Panthers D line has 10. Two ain’t good enough. Bowles should be more worried about that, because the pass rush was supposed to be our bread, and butter anyway, not the secondary. Get more pressure on the front end, and that will help the guys in the back.

  12. daniel Da Man Says:

    They will correct the issues after losing a game.. a loss will be a hard lesson for the d safety a nd middle guys. The buckneers will return to dominant defense

  13. Craig Says:

    But every game, even every snap, is a different beast. Things need to be moving all the time. Defenses are used to a changing game, but it does take time for it to come together.

    It doesn’t necessarily need to be spurred by a loss, but something will happen, maybe Stafford will make a game of it and the defense will come together.

    It took a while to happen last season too.

  14. Lamarcus Says:

    Again we had a good run last year….that never meant to be something like “we turned the corner” when clearly we did not. We ran into luck with Cheifs and their tackle situation but outside of that it was really about just getting hot at the right time. As a whole we have one of the worst secondaries in the league with no end in sight….

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    @CrazyBucs_CL … “Todd B, is just an average DC”.

    Any DC whose defense improves from a #29 ranking in 2019 to a #8 ranking in 2020 … and wins the Super Bowl … is certainly better than ‘average’. Bowles has managed to find a way to quickly & effectively merge experience & youth in a defense in a way that few other DCs could’ve managed. I’d hardly call that ‘average’ CrazyBucs.

    What most impresses me about Todd Bowles defense though isn’t the Front-7; it’s the Secondary. Yes they struggle without a pass rush (most Secondaries probably do?), but ALL of them are on still on their FIRST contract (it’s called YOUTH?). No real veteran leadership back there to rely on & keep them focused, yet they’ve managed to hang in there. There’re still getting better & I’m convinced that we’ll see continual improvement throughout the year.

  16. Mike Says:

    Where are guys of “defense wins”? Without an elite offense, you can only win one SB over several decades such as the first Bucs’ s SB, Broncos in 2015, Seatle 2014.

  17. SB Says:

    Medicated Pete Says:
    September 22nd, 2021 at 12:05 pm
    AB has the Rona


    But he is vaccinated and a healthy athlete!!!