Wise Moves At Safety By Todd Bowles

August 15th, 2023

Returning to old self.

Wanna know why Bucs stud safety Antoine Winfield didn’t return to the Pro Bowl last year?

The big reason was injuries. He was dinged up, mostly with concussions and a sprained ankle. He suffered the ankle injury (as did Tristan Wirfs) in the dreadful overtime period against Cleveland.

You remember that game, no? It’s the one when head coach Todd Bowles admitted he was scared of Tom Brady throwing a pick (despite Brady having but two picks in the 10 previous games). So Bowles took the ball out of Brady’s hands leading a charge late in a tie game that easily could have put the Bucs in field goal range?

Not only did Bowles’ decision cost the Bucs a win, it cost the team valuable starts from two of its best young players.

Well, Scott Spratt, typing for Aaron Schatz’s Football Almanac 2023, noted stats revealing Winfield was playing out of position last year at nickel cornerback — and NFL NextGen stats to back that up.

However, Spratt believes Bowles and Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht made two savvy defensive backs moves to improve the 2023 run defense: Winfield moving back to safety where his ballhawk ways and precise tackling are much needed, and signing Ryan Neal.

The Bucs may salvage their secondary run support with Todd Bowles’ reported decision to have Antoine Winfield give up his 2022 nickel role and move back to safety. The role shift seems likely to help the former Pro Bowler after a disastrous coverage season with a 31% success rate. And despite their required penny pinching, the Bucs can afford to move Winfield after adding former Seahawks safety and coverage specialist Ryan Neal for a modest $1.2-million free-agent deal.

Joe thought this was reinforced yesterday in the Bucs’ final training camp practice of 2023 open to the public at One Buc Palace.

Winfield was literally all over the field in the early going. Yeah, it’s practice, but dang, Winfield looked like a one-man gang out there.

Provided Winfield stays healthy, Joe expects him to deliver a big bounceback year.

13 Responses to “Wise Moves At Safety By Todd Bowles”

  1. HC Grover Says:

    The Bowles Curse will last beyond his tenure.

  2. AtlBuc Says:

    So Bowles took the ball out of Brady’s hands leading a charge late in a tie game that easily could have put the Bucs in field goal range.

    That one is still a mystery to me. Considering that type of decision making I will not be surprised if Mayfield gets the starting nod. He might want a dink and dunk game-manager. And he might be afraid of a qb who pushes the ball downfield like Trask. 96 yards in less than a quarter??? He is ready to light it up!!!

  3. Tony Says:

    With the way Trask looked I think I’d consider putting Wolford behind Mayfield. Wolford was looking better than him at times. I didn’t even want Trask coming out. No QBs make it out of there. If it gets to the point to where they start struggling & they want to consider seeing what they wanna do at QB give Wolford a chance. Trask really doesn’t have an excuse because both of them were playing against backups so neither one of them had an advantage. Sure he hasn’t really played much being with Brady here but if you’re sitting with Brady (of course gonna be one of the best players in all of sports period) for a bit & you’re still struggling then you still have issues.

  4. Tony Says:

    A wise move by Bowles would be for him to step down & let Arians run everything. Even if the waterboy janitor or concession stand worker has to take over ANYBODY ELSE BUT TODD!

  5. Fred McNeil Says:

    Moving Winfield back was a wise move
    Off topic, but still interesting: Dalvin Cook signed with our Saturday night opponent, the Jets. Can we tackle him?

  6. garro Says:

    Good news on Winfield. Can he teach the est of the guys to tackle?

    Go Bucs!

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Fred … ‘Dalvin Cook signed with our Saturday night opponent, the Jets.’

    Good catch Fred; hadn’t seen that. Did see however that Ezikiel Elliott signed with the Patriots.

  8. Fred McNeil Says:

    Zeke’s getting $6mil. I don’t know what Dalvin’s making. The NY Post.

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Zeke is getting 4 mil with incentives up to 6 mil.
    Cook is getting 8.4 mil but not sure how much of that is incentives.

  10. Hodad Says:

    Dalvins getting about 8 mil, and he won’t be practicing against the Bucs.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    “Bowles took the ball out of Brady’s hands leading a charge late in a tie game that easily could have put the Bucs in field goal range”


    I’m getting tired of hearing that narrative.

    I believe the situation was tie game late in the 4th Quarter – 4th and 7 at the 48 yard line.

    Bowles punted. As most NFL coaches would have done – goat or no goat…

    Our offense had basically sucked all day (season?). You just failed on the previous 3 downs. Fail once more on 4th down and long – and the other team takes over at midfield – needing only 1 decent completion to be in field goal range.

    Basically giving the game away if you don’t convert 4th and long….

    You punt and play for a better opportunity than 4th and 7.

    Which they got. Multiple opportunities to drive and score and win in OT. But the offense couldn’t do anything – so we lost…. and a narrative of Bowles coaching scared was born…..

  12. PSL Bob Says:

    Not only will the defense benefit by having Winfield at safety full time, but it looks like we have a terrific replacement at nickel with Christian Izien.

  13. Dwayne Cone Says:

    I get a lot of push back because of my views of Baker Mayfield and I will Probably get push back on my View of Todd Bowles. But here goes.

    I’m an optimist and first to say ‘things will get better.” I’m also a realist and will call a Spade a Spade. 7 is much easier that 4 in craps, Red or Black is much easier than a 17 on the Roulette wheel, and this reply is about Bowles and not Baker.

    To be Optimistic I cannot got on thinking that we cannot win with Baker. We Are Doomed has to be put aside.

    So I started looking into How can we Win with Baker and I believe that Bowles is on the right track.

    I am sure that when deciding to bring him here Bowles checked him out, created a list and has been checking the boxes.

    Plenty of film so I took 1 close win and 1 close loss with the Panthers. Also I took a random win from Bakers great season. Eagles 17 and Browns 22.

    Top of Bowles list. DEFENSE
    Most importantly is defense has to Produce and score.
    Panther Win defense supplied a Pick6. Panther loss defense supplied a Pick 6.

    Next on Bowles list is limit Turnovers.
    Difference between the close win and loss was turnovers.

    Have yourself a Top Notch Kicker.
    Majority of the scoring in both Panther games not by the defense was on field goals.

    Be more Efficient in the Red Zone so you aren’t winning with Field Goals.
    Baker has to Finish drives. Home Runs are great to get you down to the Red Zone but he also needs to be able to drive two in the bottom of the ninth with a base hit. 32nd out of 32 QB’s last year in red Zone efficiency is not gonna do it.

    Game that made me realize this and the possibility of Tampa success was when i looked over the Games for Baker in 2020 and wondered how did the Browns beat the Eagles 22-17?

    0-0 Browns defense stripped the carrier for a Touchdown 7-0
    7-0 Special teams pinned Eagles at the 4 and Defense sacked QB for 2 9-0
    9-0 Eagles get TD and Field Goal 9-10
    9-10 Chubbs rips a run from the own 30- Eagle 15 then him Hunt bang it in. 16-10
    16-10 Eagles get a Touchdown. 16-17
    16-17 Browns add 2 FG’s one 40 yards and 1 deep in red zone. 22-17
    22-17 Browns defense picks of Eagles on the Red Zone to close it out.

    That brings up the last two Items that Bowles wants to be able to run the ball and don’t suck on special teams.

    He has the right Formula to Win, Ingredients are questionable, and it Looks like they will have to fill an inside straight. Optimistically it doable.

    Dungy assembled a team that could win in Tampa and got his Ring in Indy. Being fired is not always the End or even bad thing if you look at the Bright Side. Wish him the best of luck in 2023 Who’s gonna cut the cards?