Learning Curve Year For Todd Bowles?

March 24th, 2023


Bucs icon Lavonte David had a very interesting take yesterday on the 2020 season, the first of the Todd Bowles regime in Tampa.

Though Bowles had experience as a head coach, and had been Bucs defensive coordinator since 2019, David claimed offensive players didn’t really know Bowles. David seemed to think that may have stunted the Bucs offense, or at least that was his implication.

“It was a long road,” David said of 2022. “Guys on the offensive side didn’t really know Coach Bowles or didn’t really have any communication with him in past years but last year was kind of like a stepping stone – [guys] getting to know him, getting to understand him and how he is, getting his philosophy, how he is as a head coach.

“I feel like a lot of guys bought into what he’s about and what he likes to do. From being around the locker room, everybody loves him and respects him – especially on the offensive side.

“Obviously, when he did get the head coaching job, guys would reach out [to David] and say, ‘You guys have been with Bowles this whole time, we don’t really know how he is.’ But obviously it’s been a good relationship with a lot of the guys so a lot of guys have a ton of respect for Coach Bowles.”

Couple of things here. Notice David didn’t say everyone was on board with what Bowles wanted to do? He did say “a lot” but “a lot” is not a 100 percent buy-in. David gave this same take at the Super Bowl, and it was a big topic on the Ira Kaufman Podcast.

And remember, Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians said late in the season that one reason the offense exploded in the first half against the Bengals was because failing Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said (in so many words) ‘Aw, eff it,’ — and came out at the start of that game firing like the Bucs did the previous three seasons.

The suggestion from Arians was that Leftwich felt handcuffed as Bowles’ offensive playcaller.

So Joe is curious who the guys were that did not buy in, per David, and were they already sent packing?

Joe documented several times during the season that at least in the public eye, there was virtually no chemistry or communication between Tom Brady and Bowles.

For a stud quarterback like Brady and his head coach rarely to be seen together or chatting was really weird.

50 Responses to “Learning Curve Year For Todd Bowles?”

  1. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Is this guy not fired yet ? smh….

  2. Craig Says:

    I thought he had his break-in period as coach of the Jets. If he didn’t learn anything there he isn
    t ever going to.

  3. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:


  4. Jack Clark Says:

    former Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians
    former Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Byron Leftwich

    All the evidence points to Todd Bowels being the coach who failed this team by changing our Super Bowl winning no risk it no biscuit strategy

    RIP no risk it no biscuit 🙏

  5. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    1st year comparison

    2022 Todd Bolwes – 8 wins

    2019 Bruce Arians – 7 wins

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Are you forgetting somebody, Jack? Bucs Super Bowl winning DC Todd Bowles.

  7. Vancouver Buc Says:

    This Super Bowl winning DC fell asleep at the wheel against the Rams in last year’s playoffs and still hasn’t woken up yet.

  8. Jack Sparrow Says:

    With todd Bowles, Bucs will be lucky to get 4 wins and they will blame Baker Mayfield for all the miseries. I guarantee that !!!

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Bowles has been a HC……should have already learned by his mistakes.

    Either he thwarted Lefwich’s efforts with the offense


    He delegated the offense completely to Lefwich

    The offense failed so neither worked

    I saw enojgh in-game miss-managemernt to realize that Bowles is not equipped to be a HC…..now, I will root for him and hope the hell I am wrong.

  10. K2 Says:

    I don’t think Bowles told Byron to be predictable an never do anything that might catch or surprise the defense. I think Byron did that in his own.

  11. Bucsfan714 Says:

    1st year comparison

    2022 Todd Bolwes – 8 wins Tom Brady

    2019 Bruce Arians – 7 wins Jameis Winston

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    Todd Bowles is a solid defensive coordinator.

    Last year was frustrating for all of us Buc fans. Todd Bowles took over this team from BA a few months before training camp started.

    He didn’t get to make many choices regarding his coaching staff, the 45 year old QB or the impending salary cap issues this franchise now faces…

    I will be interested to see if Todd Bowles can motivate this team and stay competitive or is he just another “fall guy” like Lovie Smith was for the Texans?

  13. Crickett Baker Says:

    Insightful article. I agree with TBBF. I feel they fired the wrong guy. Todd knew nothing much about offense, it seemed, and sort of hog-tied the team and BL from most accounts. I will root for him to not be a slow learner.

  14. YucsBall Says:

    Respect does not equal results

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    Learning curve?

    Was he not a HC with the Jets for several years?

    He didn’t learn enough there?

    And Buc fans are worried about Trask being a supposed “slow learner?”

  16. SlyPirate Says:

    Look at LVD’s quotes throughout his career. It’s always positive. He doesn’t air things out in public and that’s one of the reasons why everyone in the organization loves him.

  17. Goatfarmer Says:

    Bowels could turn the 1972 Dolphins into the 2008 Lions.

  18. WillieG Says:

    I think Bowles tied Leftwhich’s hands and made made him adhere to an offensive style he wasn’t familiar with. I’d love to see Leftwhich get another OC job where he has the freedom to do what HE wants to do. I think he got a raw deal here. Maybe he sucks. Maybe he just sucks with a run first, take no chances offense. I’d love to know what the answer is.

  19. HC Grover Says:

    Prepare for The Bowles Curse Effect

  20. Stuck Says:

    Ok what about the drop off on the defensive side?! Wasn’t that his squad? Not sure what happened last year but it wasn’t that.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … ‘I will be interested to see if Todd Bowles can motivate this team and stay competitive or is he just another “fall guy” like Lovie Smith was for the Texans?’

    Not sure I agree with the notion that Lovie was the Texans ‘fall guy’ Marine, but I agree with the rest. Bucs could’ve won that last game IF they’d kept the starters in, but Bowles elected not to because of the pending playoff game. Not at all sure that I understand that ‘half-in, half-out’ approach to that last game, but i still contend that the Bucs could’ve won that game IF they’d wanted to (they were leading 17-10 at the half when the starters were pulled).

    Whether we finished 8-9 or 9-8 is irrelevant; we had the playoff spot locked up by that game. What is relevant to me is how Todd Bowles handles the Bucs HC position THIS YEAR. I still wish that he’d appoint George Edwards as his DC (and he might yet) because I don’t like dual-hatting HCs except in certain very special situations (like when they’re exceptional as a coordinator AND they have a counterpart coordinator who can independently run the opposite side of the ball without a whole bunch of ‘guidance’. Bowles didn’t have that in BL for sure (thus BA’s Red Pen?), but I hope Canales can quickly change that and operate the offense fairly autonomously.

  22. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    “Not sure I agree with the notion that Lovie was the Texans ‘fall guy’ ”

    I guess it was just a funny coincidence that the Texans wound up with the #2 overall draft pick after trading Watson to Cleveland…

    Wow – Those Texans sure are a lucky group of fellas.

    Come on DR. I know you are smarter than that.

    But that is OK. We can agree to disagree once in a while… lol

  23. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    Fun trivia question for you:

    Who was the Bucs Head Coach when they were granted the #1 overall pick in the 2015 draft?

    Just another coincidence – I’m sure…

  24. Allbuccedup Says:

    Learning curve at 60 years old please lets don’t get ridiculous.

  25. Bobby M. Says:

    Our team last yr was more talented than this year yet we expect to compete for the division? We barely won the division at 8-9….we have lost multiple starters on the offense, we’ve lost depth on all sides of the ball, lost the GOAT and somehow Bowles will coach the team to a better record?

    Bowles has a losing record for his career as a HC….he’s the only coach brady ever had a losing record with in a 20+ yr career. There’s no secret sauce about to be discovered, he’s mediocre. If Canales proves capable I hope we can Bowles and promote Canales.

  26. sasquatch Says:

    Allbuccedup Says:
    March 24th, 2023 at 5:20 pm

    Learning curve at 60 years old please lets don’t get ridiculous.

    I love how Joe says “learning curve” in the title, and a few people take issue with it as if Bowles said it, making an excuse for the performance in 2022. That’s not the reality.

    Lavonte said it took some time for offensive players to get to know Bowles. That’s it.

    Never mind though, any excuse to sh!t on Bowles, right?

  27. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    Bucs will win 3 games next year.

    Strap in everyone we’re in for a rough ride.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … ‘I guess it was just a funny coincidence that the Texans wound up with the #2 overall draft pick after trading Watson to Cleveland…’

    I should’ve explained my comment better obviously. Your comment ‘just another “fall guy” like Lovie Smith was for the Texans?’ with the question mark at the end made me think that you were being ‘sympathetic’ to Lovie Smith. IMO he was (and is) a horrible coach, not ‘just another fall guy’. Lovie earned every bit of bad press that he got.

    I don’t in any way, shape or form put Bowles in the same class as Lovie. Todd’s an excellent DC IMO, who was dealt a very bad hand by BA back at the end of March last year. I can understand why he accepted the HC job, but it smelled like a ‘no win’ situation from Day 1. And that’s pretty much what it turned out to be.

    Remember Ray Perkins. He had the misfortune of replacing Bear Bryant at Bama (went a meh 32-15 in his 4 years as Bama’s HC, THEN moved UP to coach the Buccaneers; ya right). Not exactly a sterling resume, but I do remember reading awhile back that he hired a number of assistant coaches who went on to glory … guys who became HCs like Bill Parcells & Bill Belicheck.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    I don’t in any way, shape or form put Bowles in the same class as Lovie. Todd’s an excellent DC IMO, who was dealt a very bad hand by BA back at the end of March last year. I can understand why he accepted the HC job, but it smelled like a ‘no win’ situation from Day 1. And that’s pretty much what it turned out to be.

    I agree.

    Especially when you consider the following:
    • Ali Marpet – Retired (Exposing Donovan Smith?)
    • Ryan Jensen – Out for the Year
    • Rob Gronkowski – Brady’s security blanket not re-signed.

  30. Mike Johnson Says:

    A lot of you hate Bowles. But I’m pulling for him.

  31. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Marine. The 45 year old QB? You mean the GOAT. You don’t think Bowles wanted him running the ship? He prayed he would return. What he didn’t want was for Tom to have so much on his shoulders. He wanted a capable running game to complement Brady. What happened? They had a historically bad running game. It’s amazing how hardly people ever mention this fact! It was result of predictable play calling and a bad OL.

    I’m a season ticket holder. I’ve seen Bowles and Brady interacting. Bowles is the DC, so he spent most of his time interacting with his defensive assistants. Maybe he should give up his DC duties. Dungy rarely messed with Manning and the offense when he was with the Colts. Bowles said he and Brady “see the game the same way.” He and Brady didn’t want him throwing 50x a game, and that didn’t because they couldn’t run the ball effectively or efficiently.

  32. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Countless former & Current Defensive players/Coaches have said at nauseam that how you rattle Tom Brady is “GET PRESSURE UP THE MIDDLE”.

    Yet your missing…
    • Ali Marpet
    • Ryan Jensen
    • Rob Gronkowski

    And you suppose to do what? Change the offensive scheme on the fly when you don’t have the personnel? Give me a f#cking break.

  33. Goatfarmer Says:

    Bwloes could toss a ball in the air and it would never come down. He could go around the world and be the one to fall off the edge even though the earth is round. New HC for 2024.

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    For all of you who love to bring up Todd Bowles record as the Jets HC, check out the company he’s had in LOSING as the Jets’ HC:

    New York Jets head coach record

    Coach Years Record Win percentage Playoff record
    Robert Saleh 2021-2022 11-23-0 32.4% 0-0
    Adam Gase 2019-2020 9-23-0 28.1% 0-0
    Todd Bowles 2015-2018 23-40-0 36.5% 0-0
    Rex Ryan 2009-2014 46-50-0 47.9% 4-2
    Eric Mangini 2006-2008 23-25-0 47.9% 0-1
    Herm Edwards 2001-2005 39-41-0 48.8% 2-3
    Al Groh 2000 9-7-0 56.3% 0-0
    Bill Parcells 1997-1999 29-19-0 60.4% 1-1
    Rich Kotite 1995-1996 4-28-0 12.5% 0-0
    Pete Carroll 1994 6-10-0 37.5% 0-0
    Bruce Coslet 1990-1993 26-38-0 40.6% 0-1
    Joe Walton 1983-1989 53-57-1 48.2% 1-2
    Walt Michaels 1977-1982 39-47-1 45.4% 2-2
    Lou Holtz 1976 3-10-0 23.1% 0-0
    Charley Winner 1974-1975 10-18-0 35.7% 0-0
    Weeb Ewbank 1963-1973 71-77-6 48.1% 2-1
    Bulldog Turner 1962 5-9-0 35.7% 0-0
    Sammy Baugh 1960-1961 14-14-0 50.0% 0-0

    The ONLY winning HCs they’ve had in 62 years are Al Groh who coached them for 1 year & went 9-7, and Bill Parcells who coached them for 3 years & went 29-19 (not all that great actually). None of the other SIXTEEN Jets’ HCs had wining records. Makes me think that there’s something wrong with the ORGANIZATION perhaps?

  35. Mike C Says:

    Goatfarmer, how do you feel about the coaching?

  36. Mike S Says:

    Defense seems they’re bad at picking coaches.

  37. Goatfarmer Says:

    Blowes is the only one who has had four consecutive losing seasons in a row, about to be five. The 4th in a row was with Tom Brady and a much better roster than any of those Jets roster. Yes the Jets are a bad organization, as in, I would be skeptical hiring an ex-Jets coach with multiple losing seasons in a row, but here we are due to circumstances beyond Licht’s control.

    As a side note, all one need do is look at the current Jets to witness the organizational stank, yet by all appearances they have a decent HC. But the Aaron Rodgers fiasco spirals out of control. It’s hilarious! Very thankful for Jason Licht and the Tom Brady / BA years we enjoyed.

  38. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    We don’t win a Super Bowl without Bowles defense in Green Bay.

  39. Goatfarmer Says:

    Blowes did have a good defensive run at the end of 2019 when Jameis blew the season. In 2020, Bowels gameplanned to the Bucs strengths (pass rush) against GB and KC’ weaknesses (O-Line). Against the Saints he recognized that Brees’s arm was toast and tightened the coverage to press man and smothered them. But he almost let Taylor’s Heineken beat us, and if not for PI against Tyler Johnson, GB was mounting a ferocious comeback. No small thanks to Goat’s three interceptions in the 2nd half. So credit where it’s due, but since then, Bloweszo’s defense has been poor against anyone good, the league is catching on to him. And now that he’s Head Coich, he’s even more distracted and unable to inspire, energize, gameplan, game manage, lead.

    New coach in 2024.

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    Mike S … Me thinks we’ve had our own struggles.

  41. FlBoy84 Says:

    Don’t think anyone is questioning Bowles’s ability as a DC, but that’s not the topic we’re discussing.

  42. FortMyersDave Says:

    Just a general statement, considering what Bucco Bruce said about Leftwich and the Bengal game, well it seems like Bowels used Leftwich as a scapegoat for last years utter fail. The Bengal game was a rare occasion where the Bucs were bringing it in the first half and were kicking the crap out of Cincy. I blamed Leftwich for going turtle in the second half but maybe it was Bowels who thought the Bucs were not following the run, run, pass for 5 yards, punt scheme which he embraced and forced the OC’s hand. Perhaps Leftwich was as handcuffed as the rest of the offense because of Coach Bowels. I guess we can only speculate to that point though. Anyhow, Bowels needs to win 9 or 10 games or I say the Glazers launch him, he is already coaching on borrowed time IMHO.

  43. Goatfarmer Says:

    Bloweszo would forget to put the car in park at the boat launch.

  44. Goatfarmer Says:

    The curve is flatlined and has a negative slope. It’s reverse learning now.

  45. steele Says:

    No learning curve. Just a continuation of mediocrity, and lack of leadership or vision. A consistent history over the course of many seasons with different teams.

  46. Dooley Says:


    The Jets have been the east coast Raiders for some time now, but as a native of the tri-state area nothing would bring me more joy than seeing the rest of the AFCEast rise up and lock the Patriots in the basement for the next half decade. Selah is a solid, defense first HC and last year they made sure to capitalize on having 4 selections in the first 2 rounds hitting on Gardner, Wilson, Hall, & Johnson II.

    Jets are trending upward, and to me they are doing what the Bucs did in 2020, what the Rams did in 2021, and that’s going after a vet QB in Rodgers to pair with young weapons on both sides of the ball to potentially win their division and take a shot at going the distance in 2023. The NFL is still a copy cat league
    and that model has worked twice in the last 3 years in terms of winning divisions and eventually SBs.

  47. NEfan Says:

    LuvMyBucs@ the O in GB playoff game scored over 30 points? The D almost lost the game. Before you go there, only one of the Brady ints turned into points all but one was deep in GB territory. I will give you this, the D was the main factor in the Saints win. Washington, they weren’t very good.

    DR, what you failed to mention was the coaches that coached as long as Bowles for the Jets have a higher winning %. Saleh, is about to change his stats this season.

  48. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    That horse is dead

  49. Goatfarmer Says:

    NEfan, thanks for some objectivity.

  50. Goatfarmer Says:

    A dead horse is a real option to beat out the unfairly treated, abused, Kyel Tarsk at 4th string QB.