One Clear Path For Todd Bowles

March 29th, 2023

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Todd Bowles took his seat at the table this week during the NFC coaches breakfast with the media.

Todd Bowles

He answered every question directly, smiling often and radiating optimism about the 2023 Buccaneers.

Many of the queries came from a co-owner of this website, the only Bucs beat outlet that bothered to make the trip to Phoenix, where Joel Glazer and Jason Licht also discussed the state of the franchise exclusively with JoeBucsFan.

Next March, the annual owners meetings will likely shift back to Florida. Will Bowles be breaking bread at the breakfast table — or will somebody else be taking questions about the 2024 Bucs?

It all depends on what happens when games start to count in September. Bowles is eager to prove Tampa Bay can win without Tom Brady, who is busy riding boogie boards in the surf instead of riding Buc receivers to maximize their skills.

After an 8-9 regular season with Brady, followed by a lopsided home playoff loss to the Cowboys, Bowles finds himself on thin ice. He’s anything but naive and Bowles knows everyone is watching … especially the Glazers.

The preliminary win-loss totals for the Bucs by Vegas oddsmakers are out and they aren’t encouraging.

Tampa Bay is ticketed for the basement of the NFC South, a division which lacked a single team with a winning record in 2022. If that gloomy forecast plays out, Bowles will almost assuredly be looking for another job.

In his sixth year as an NFL head coach, Bowles still has so much to prove. He is widely considered an outstanding defensive coordinator, but his job description is simple: win football games.

In a way, Bowles has never recovered from the final game of his initial season as head coach.

The 2015 Jets were 10-5 and riding a 5-game winning streak heading into Buffalo, needing a victory to clinch an AFC playoff berth. Instead, Rex Ryan’s mediocre Bills sprung a 22-17 upset as Ryan Fitzpatrick fell apart, posting a 42.7 passer rating with three interceptions.

The next three seasons were a dark blur for Bowles in New York, going 14-34 with three consecutive last-place finishes.

Three years later came a second chance as Buc ownership signed off on Bowles to succeed Bruce Arians. An 8-10 finish hardly impressed Buc Nation, even with a second consecutive division crown.

Lower Bar

Expectations may have dropped for the 2023 Bucs, especially given the uncertainty under center, but Bowles won’t be marked on a curve.

Besides, he’s not looking for excuses. He believes he has enough talent on this roster to emerge as an NFC power without Brady and now he has to prove it.

Lots of new faces.

If he falls off the horse, Bowles knows this will be his last rodeo. He’s not going to get a third bite at the apple if the 2023 season turns out to be rotten.

This is not the same team — and this won’t be the same Todd Bowles. He’s going to be more assertive in Year 2 at One Buc Place. He’ll be more involved with the draft and Licht will know exactly which prospects Bowles is excited about.

Bowles won’t be hands on with Tampa Bay’s new offensive coordinator, but Dave Canales will feel his presence every step of the way. Bowles has moved on from Byron Leftwich and Ryan Succop. Bowles also was instrumental in retaining Lavonte David and Jamel Dean as key pieces for a defense that failed to show up in the postseason.

It wasn’t long ago when the Bucs brought back all 22 starters from a championship club. Times, and faces, have changed.

Brady, Leonard Fournette, Cameron Brate, Donovan Smith, Shaq Mason, Akiem Hicks, Mike Edwards and Logan Ryan all started in Week 1 against Dallas. None are on the current roster.

The starters against the Cowboys in the playoff game included Brady, Smith, Mason, Hicks, Will Gholston, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Edwards.

All gone, baby, gone.

So what’s a reasonable yardstick looking like for Bowles to convince the Glazers he deserves to stay?

A winning record would probably do the trick — especially if young players like Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Logan Hall, Cade Otton and Robert Hainsey develop into reliable starters. Anything less than eight wins and Bowles figures to be toast. At that point, the Bucs would be looking to draft a quarterback in 2024, tutored by a new staff.

Don’t be fooled by that calm exterior. Bowles can be feisty and he knows the pressure he’s under. If he intends on making it to the next owners meetings in 12 months, Bowles plans on doing things his way.

Given what’s at stake for this coaching staff, players should expect to be held to a higher standard.

Some Buc fans have already decided Bowles isn’t the guy. They look at his 32-50 career record and see him as a defensive coordinator masquerading as a head coach. A year from now, the Glazers may look at him the same way.

There’s only one way to change the narrative. Make those oddsmakers look silly.

Just win, baby.

27 Responses to “One Clear Path For Todd Bowles”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    People just got to wonder if things would’ve been different if Bowles fired Byron Leftwich last season when it was 100% apparently clear that the offense was awful…..


    Was it Tom Brady calling the shots???????????

    It’s hard to imagine a Head Coach giving a player that kinda power that he can simply override his own offensive coordinator????

  2. Voice of Truth Says:

    Thank you for the honesty Ira, many of us see the HC being our major drawback besides having to eat 55mil in cap…

    The chance he all of the sudden improves is possible, just not likely

  3. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ Voice of Truth

    I am hoping last year was just a fluke or a learning experience for him…..because people are forgetting that he is one helluva defensive coordinator.

  4. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    They would have to give Bowles another year after this salary cap mess.
    There are no “have-tos” in the NFL. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, just prior to the new salary cap rules, the Bucs were a bottom spender in the NFL. That didn’t save Raheem Morris. The Bucs went 10-6 in 2010 and the Bucs upgraded their young squad in 2011 with a free agent punter.

  5. zzbucs Says:


    100% with you Bro…and let me add you this, people today only think short term, now immidietly….That´s not how it works in any stage of life…..

    Just let the coach coach and players play, we´ve been in a huge party for the last 3 years, now is time to pay for that party, and we are in much better place than what most think…..

    Bucs team can still play good football, I undesrtan team is not the same it was, But there are still ME13, LVD, Shaq Barret, Jensen,Tristan W, A Winfield….

  6. catcard202 Says:

    If Bowles wins 8gms with this depleted roster, 1st time OC & hella question marks in the 2deep on both side the ball going into camp…It will be 2-3 more than I anticipate.

    Maybe Baker has a Geno yr, Bucs fill holes & team beats expectations…But that’s a big big maybe & something that can’t be answered until the fall.

    We should all want Bowles to succeed, because stability is good for the organization. However hard that is to get behind w/ the track record looming & 2022 disappointing results in TB12’s swan song still fresh in fans & Glazers minds.

  7. Buc1987 Says:

    I think the most noticeable thing missing from the offense will be Brady.

    We’re going to suck again cause Brady’s gone.

  8. Infomeplease Says:

    Everyone here knows how I feel about Bowles. It’s time for him to rack up more wins than excuses! It’s time to figure out how to get his team playing to win! If not, then just fade away!

  9. WillieG Says:

    I wanted him as the next head coach and was thrilled when he was hired. Then I watched some games. I hate his “play to not lose on offense” mentality. I like aggression on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

    I hope he is successful (and I have to eat my words) but I don’t see it happening. I just think not taking chances tells your players you have no confidence in them and that causes them to doubt themselves.

  10. VATom Says:

    Ya know what worries me? Vegas…bookies…odds makers. Not “THEM” But the knowledge they represent. Look, I don’t know sh*t about bookies etc, but with all the $$ involved I am guessing their research is a little different than the Stats Geeks or PFF. So I imagine they directly or indirectly source info from current and ex coaches/players, league smart guys, hell, maybe the janitor? My concern is that they are picking up that the Bucs are going to be the bottom…in a very sh*tty division. One side of me wants to bet against the house on this. They CAN’T be that bad right? Right? Or can they? And every g*d d*mn time I think I am going to make money betting against the house I usually walk away embarassed. Now, also depends what/how your betting against the house, but I digress. The fact Vegas has them at the bottom, of the bottom is disconcerting based on the info they are probably aware of. And as a fan that sux. I want Todd to be successful, Baker to do great, Evans to keep breaking and adding to records etc… but I am getting a bad feeling. Hope Vegas is wrong.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    One of your best pieces yet Sage. Very straight-forward & analytical. Sounds from your article that Todd Bowles has definitely moved on from BA, and let folks know that he’s not going out without a fight. There won’t be any ‘Tanking for Caleb’ this season. For some reason I can hear Frank Sinatra singing ‘I Did It My Way’ in the background.

  12. Pryda…Sec147 Says:

    Fix the o line and win 10 games

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    WillieG … ‘I just think not taking chances tells your players you have no confidence in them and that causes them to doubt themselves.’

    That’s the narrative many are pushing, but 2022 numbers don’t seem to back that up IMO. Example: Bucs ranked 8th in 4th Down Attempts (27) last year, and made 15 of them (ranking 7th).

    Under BA’s ‘No Risk-It No Biscuit’ philosophy we ranked 30th in 2021 in 4th Down Attempts (only 17), and made 9 of them (ranking 31st).

  14. RumDude Says:

    TheBucsAnthem Says:
    March 29th, 2023 at 10:37 am
    People just got to wonder if things would’ve been different if Bowles fired Byron Leftwich last season when it was 100% apparently clear that the offense was awful…..


    Was it Tom Brady calling the shots???????????

    The only time the offense worked last season was in the 2 minute drill when Brady was calling his own plays. That should answer that question.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’ll root for Bowles as I do all Bucs….but I’m not optimistic….

    I’m sure many will disagree…..but I think the best way to win is to bolster our offense with the following……OT, TE, RB, WR…… that order….
    Pick up 2 safeties in round 5 & a DT or Edge…..
    Trade down in round 1 if you get a chance….

  16. Larrd Says:

    The Bucs should be co-favorites with the Saints, IMO.

    There is no local media to send anybody anywhere, anymore. The fact a co-owner of this site went makes me suspect JBF may be a drug front.

  17. Hodad Says:

    Not just a lot to prove from Bowles, how about the players who are still here? The Brady safety net is gone. Time for the players to bow up, and prove they’re still winners. D. White has a lot to prove, David, Vea, these are SB champs getting shat on by the media. Think they don’t have a lot to prove? Time to shock the world Tampa Bay, and prove everyone wrong.

  18. Beejezus-belt Says:

    You shouldn’t just throw Bowles under the bus. His first 5 years as head coach he is 32-49 (ok not great). Bill Belicheat after his first 5 years 36-44. Think about that for a minute. Do you think the Patriots have regrets with a hiring a coach with a career losing record, let’s also remember he went 5-11 his first year in Boston. He deserves another year with coaching staff he was allowed to somewhat assemble, and he could use Licht having a great draft filling holes in the team.

  19. WillieG Says:

    Defense Rules. Yeah, I see your point but I’m also talking about taking shots downfield on 2nd and short instead of acting like it’s 3rd and short and running the ball. Plus, playing for a win and not playing for OT with timeouts in your pocket. Also, trying to score when the first half is winding down and you have timeouts. All that stuff wasn’t done last year. Well, not that I remember anyway.

  20. Canabuc Says:

    I haven’t watch pretty much every Bucs game last year as a fan I could say that the two biggest flaws offensively for the team or the predictability of the office and the inability of the office of lying to give Brady the time he had when playing for us in his first two seasons

    Unfortunately, Tom Brady at his age was unwilling or afraid to take any hits. I would either throw the ball into the dirt or get rid of it before the receiver had finished his route to get open, leading to a lot of incompletions and drives that ended prematurely. I think with a more mobile quarterback, it will help offset any deficiencies in the office of line. I also think that with Dave Canales as the offensive coordinator, we will see an office that like Todd Bowles defense will have multiple luxe
    And multiple route trees from the same look so the defenses can’t clearly scheme against us the way they did all of last year.

    Give me the casual viewer and fan on game day watching on TV can tell before the players run what’s going to happen imagine what a well coached football team who has tons of tape to study can do. This is what made Sean McVay is often so good is that he could have the same formation and multiple different things run from it so the defenses would always be caught off guard and they would manage to scheme their best players open, I expect to see similar concepts in our office this year

  21. BucU Says:

    6 – 11. Bank on it.

  22. Joe in Michigan Says:

    There are a lot of IF’s involved (such as, IF Bowles learned from his 2022 mistakes), but the Bucs could be decent/good in 2023.

  23. Goatfarmer Says:

    Ira — pure gold in that article. Nicely written.

    Who will the Bucs new head coach be in 2024? An intriguing question.

  24. Mike Johnson Says:

    I’ve never seem so many people on this website hate for Bowles. And the hate here is real. We should all be pulling for him to be successful. That is, if..we are truly Bic fans.

  25. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    I’ll be quite happy if I’m wrong about Bowles and he turns out to be a winner. I don’t really care about being right, I just want to watch a good team.

  26. Goatfarmer Says:

    I’m definitely hoping the Bucs win and Bowels proves many of us wrong. That is about as likely as my dog standing up on two legs and telling me how he’d like his steak cooked.

  27. SlyPirate Says:


    How do we forget so quickly how bad Bowles was? He inherited a stacked team, a proven system, and he botched the entire thing up. He sucks.