Todd Bowles Establishing His Team

May 7th, 2022

Rookie Ko Kieft is a Todd Bowles guy.

Joe has yet to meet a defensive coach who doesn’t enjoy the sting of a good hit. And it seems Bucs coach Todd Bowles is starting to mold his offense into a squad that doesn’t take punishment but dishes it out.

Every team seems to take on the personality of its coach, good and bad.

Bowles wants his desire of hard-hitting defensive players to be embraced by the offense. In a spot on “Movin’ the Chains” co-hosted by Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller this week, heard exclusively on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Bowles explained he seeks guys on offense that enjoy drilling defenders and guard Luke Goedeke and tight end Ko Kieft — are those rookies.

Bowles was especially enthused by Kieft.

“Right now we only have two tight ends on campus [signed] in Codey [McElroy] and Cam [Brate],” Bowles said. “We didn’t have any true blocker [tight end] on campus. Hopefully, Gronk comes back but you never know. So we got Ko Kieft who is an avid blocker.

“He loves to block. That’s what he does. Between him and [Luke] Goedeke, they bring a newfound attitude to our run game, hopefully, because both of them guys like to stick their face in the fan and get after it.

“I’m really looking forward to [Kieft] coming here and holding up against some of the better defensive ends in the league. That’s what [Kieft] wants to do; that’s what he loves to do. He’s excited about it. Very rarely do you get a guy that just wants to block and not catch the ball all the time. He’s one of those guys.”

Just because Kieft was a sixth-round pick doesn’t mean he cannot hang on. Outside of foot-rubbing Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski, what other tight end on the Bucs’ roster can block?

Kieft if he can stick with the team, would likely come in on max-protect packages.

In a recent “Ira Kaufman Podcast” Ira said that Kieft could be another Luke Stocker, a mostly-blocking tight end who was drafted by the Bucs in the fourth-round by former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik. Stocker played 11 seasons.

Joe preferred the analogy Antony Auclair, who the Bucs signed as a rookie undrafted free agent in 2017. He primarily was a blocker and a special teams guy. Now he plays for the Texans.

Either way, Joe likes how Bowles is bringing in guys with ornery demeanors. The more Ryan Jensen-types to play on the offensive line, the better.

So it has begun. Bowles is beginning to put his stamp on the full team, not just the defense.

28 Responses to “Todd Bowles Establishing His Team”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Kieft will likely make the team….as will all the picks through round 5……Only player I’m not sure of is our 7th rounder.
    Zion could bump one of our CBs to the PS
    Kieft (if Gronk returns) could bump McElroy to the squad also.

  2. Dman Says:

    I like it. Cappa had that same attitude.

  3. posey99 Says:

    Love the Goedeke and Kief picks, those two and Jensen with be fun to watch.

  4. BUCman Says:

    Definitely a guy who could be useful in goaline and short yardage situations. Along with giving Brady max protection in some passing situations. If he can play special teams he’s definitely worth a 6th round pick and a roster spot.

  5. Hodad Says:

    Can’t wait to see this kid dig into Cam Jordan on running plays. Heck pass plays too. He needs to be double teamed, now he can be roughed up in the process. This is the kind of ginger, like Jensen, who can get under your skin. Like the tude direction this team is taking. I don’t think the Bucs were hungrey enough last year. Such an old team with injuries, practices became walk throughs most of the season. We needed to add some young hungry blood to this roster, with an attitude, and Licht has seemed to do that.

  6. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Love it! Smashmouth offense and build the ultimate D!

  7. Jason Says:

    Kieft and Jensen as a tag team called The Gingers. Just saying, lol.

  8. Jason Says:

    Their theme song could be “Prejudice” by Tim Minchin. If you know, you know. Lol.

  9. K2 Says:

    Bowles certainly has more influence, but this is about the whole Bucs philosophy. Jason and the scouts tend to give coaches what they want. They gave Mike Smith the players he wanted…they just didn’t align with his own scheme. I think Bruce and Byron still have more influence on the offense. All coaches wanted to be able to run the ball effectively. The team probably would have run the ball a bit more last year but it wasn’t as powerful as their passing game. It would be great to have 2nd and 5 instead of 2nd and 9 after every 1st down run play.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    @Jason: your Tim Minchin reference is hilarious!

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Bowles … ‘because both of them guys like to stick their face in the fan and get after it.’

    That is one of the most classic lines of all time by a head coach.

    Actually Ko Kieft (what an awesome name) has me more excited than Brate, McElroy or Otton (Gronk’s still The Man). Kieft just looks like a Freightliner truck, and at 265 isn’t much smaller than one. For some reason reminds me of Lorenzo Neal (another great name). Lorenzo never got many carries, but he parlayed kicking the snot out of people into a 16-year career as a FB. Hoping Ko Kieft will do something similar for us.

  12. Sparky Says:

    BA had an emphasis on players who can block too, so this is not really a change. One thing I don’t understand is players who don’t block. Is it because they can’t or because they don’t want to? It seems like the most fundamental football technique there is on offense, like tackling is for defense. Everyone on offense should be able and willing to block.

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    So, really, the Bucs drafted an extra OL in the 6th. He’s a blocker, not a receiver.

  14. Biff Barker Says:

    FA LG Mason from the Pats is supposed to be a mauler too.

    I like the direction we’re going in.

    We just werent physical enough against the Saints and Rams.

  15. sasquatch Says:

    Kieft is a lock.

  16. Destinjohnny Says:

    Bowles likes the gritty grinders which is kool.
    Am I the only one who wouldn’t be bummed to see Donovan’s replacement drafted?

  17. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    A little clock control would be a big help to that defence.
    And Kief would be a little different from an extra tackle in that he can get into the secondary and block too in both run and pass plays.

  18. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    Otton seems to be a competent blocker also.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I suspect that players that can’t block are that way because they don’t like to…….if they liked it, they would spend the time to get better at it.

    This is usually the case with every endeavor…..people that don’t like selling aren’t very good at it……people who do excel….the same with management.

    I think Gronk likes to block…..OJ and Brate don’t

  20. ChiBuc Says:

    It would be nice to see a bit more balance on offense. Imagine running the ball on downs other than 1st or short yardage. Eating up clock may also get Vea in on a higher percentage of snaps as well. Win, win

  21. PanthersSuck! Says:

    We need more aggressive men to beat the saints.

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    We’ll see.

  23. GOB Says:

    the bucs really must think Gronk will play, because These other TEs just aren’t good enough. The problem with tight ends that only block, is it telegraphs a run play. You might as well bring in another tackle. Hopefully one of these guys will develop into adequate, pass catchers. Brady will only tolerate so many drops, then he’ll shut you out.

  24. steele Says:

    If Kieft provides any pass catching production, he’s not only going to be an important part of the offense, but a great surprise weapon on certain plays.
    Get ready for the “Ko Ko Ko” chants.

  25. Mark A Swygert Says:

    Otton caught 91 balls in his career at UW, so the man can catch a football. Kieft only caught 12, but he did average about 13 yards a catch, decent for a TE. I think they will both make contributions in the passing game. I think they will also be used like old-fashioned lead blocking FB’s in the running game. Kieft will blow some LB’s up.

  26. Biff Barker Says:

    You have to throw to Kieft for him to be most effective. I’ve always thought it was stupid to telegraph plays.

    Not often, just enough to keep the D honest. Kind of like a fake punt lol.

  27. sasquatch Says:

    Kieft is like another O lineman in there, so it says nothing about what kind of play we’re in. He blocks for the running game, and the passing game… and the defense won’t account for him, and then bam! they sneak him underneath and you have touchdown, or a key first down. He’ll be a perfect option in short yardage and goalline packages so we can actually run the ball effectively in those situations.

  28. 1#bucsfan Says:

    If you have a physical offense n a physical defense you’ll wear those teams down n by the 4th qtr Brady is going to light em up. Let’s go Bucs