If Todd Bowles Doesn’t Do Todd Bowles Things, Bucs Defense Should Suffocate Justin Fields

September 15th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Joe has always considered the best coaches to be flexible coaches that can adjust as needed to best take out their opponents.

So Joe is pleading with Bucs coach Todd Bowles not to be Todd Bowles this weekend.

Bowles loves to blitz. It’s one reason he is one of the better defensive coordinators in the game and one thing he’s known for mastering.

But at least for one Sunday, Joe is begging Bowles not to be himself.

In other words, if Bowles blitzes he is playing right into the hands of Bears runaround quarterback Justin Fields.

Per handicapper turned stathead Warren Sharp, the few times Fields — who is an excellent runner but as a passer of the football (ahem) needs work — has faced a bunch of blitzes he has done rather well.

When a defense floods the secondary with defenders and shies away from the blitz, it rattles Fields.

The Bucs blitzed 42.6% of the time in Week 1, the highest rate in the league.

Dating back to last season, Fields has posted a 105.4 rating against the blitz, which is seventh in the league.

The Packers [last week] blitzed Fields on just 15 drop backs, but he was 9-of-11 for 96 yards (8.7 Y/A) with a touchdown when they did.

It is when teams play coverage and do not send extra defenders that has given Fields issues, which is what the Packers did in Week 1.

So Joe sends out a plea to Bowles: Don’t be stubborn. Don’t be SpongeBob Leftwich. The evidence is clear as day. Don’t blitz. Please.

Blitzing could set the Bucs up for one of the more embarrassing losses in recent team history. The Bears have lost 11 straight games. And in each one of those losses, opponents have rung up 25 or more points.

Please, Coach, even though it may hurt your pride, don’t blitz. You can regain your lost pride by basking in the glow of Victory Monday.

34 Responses to “If Todd Bowles Doesn’t Do Todd Bowles Things, Bucs Defense Should Suffocate Justin Fields”

  1. Tim Says:

    I’ve always thought that the best coaches will incorporate whatever a players strengths are, and not try to make that player fit his “system”. Lovie Smith was in that latter category.

  2. Fire Bowles Says:

    No need to worry, Joe.
    We have the greatest coaching staff in the history of the NFL. Just ask them, they’ll tell you the same thing.

  3. Voice of Truth Says:

    Monte Kiffin and DBrooks wrote the book on how to contain a run around qb

    Dwhite is his shadow all afternoon – you don’t blitz, you wait for him to try and scramble them the fastest guy on the field shuts him down

  4. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Bowles is an addict, man. He can only put the blitz bottle down for so long. You know he will come back to it. Hopefully we can score a lot of points and render the point moot.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We have to contain Fields…….I’m thinking Devin White has the speed for that.

    Fields 4.44
    White 4.42

    I agree that coverage is important and it will be especially with the possibility of Izien & Davis out.

  6. Leighroy Says:

    Interior pressure with our OLBs playing contain could work too. If Bowles does blitz, I hope it’s early and sets up some bluffs later in the game, and that the blitz is designed to force Fields right into the waiting arms of someone.

    My other inclination was LVD should be part of this contain but I have a feeling he’ll be busy shadowing Kmet.

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I think we loaded up on pass rush this year because he had to blitz so much last year to manufacture pressure. His game plan on defense doesn’t seem the same week to week so I’m not too worried.

  8. Duane Says:

    Todd Bowles has already proved he’s more than capable of making adjustments to counter whatever the opponent’s offense is doing, or can do … that was last Sunday against the pass happy Vikings.

    This week, we face a not very effective passing attack but a pretty effective rushing attack led by the Bears quarterback Justin Fields. So we really don’t need Captain Obvious JBF telling one of the top defensive coordinators in the league how to do his job.

    If our run defense is strong, and we have one of our linebackers or cornerbacks effectively spying Justin Fields to keep him contained, it should not be very difficult to contain their passing game. So that is the big question.

  9. J Ghotier Says:

    Repeat the game plan that the Bucs used to demolish and handcuff Vick and the Falcons at home back in the Tampa 2 days, just w/ Devin White inserted in place of Double Nickel

    In all seriousness. It really would be a great game plan to not blitz so much this Sunday. I completely agree w/ the sentiment, but still surprise them here and there and when situation is just right to do so.

  10. Lt. Dan Says:

    Just hoping against hope that the D doesn’t just sit back in that weak a$$ zone scheme. You know…just too keep things in front of them.

  11. orlbucfan Says:

    Fields sounds like one of those QBs who needs a D spy on him. We’ve got a few fleet Ds who could do it. Regarding blitzes, Sapp seems to forget that both Tony D and Monte K loved them!

  12. D-Rome Says:

    The Bucs blitzed more than any other team in the NFL last weekend. Justin Fields completed 64.9% of his passes against Green Bay. If that is not a fluke (i.e. he’s become a better passer) then he’s really going to be a nightmare on Sunday.

  13. Hodad Says:

    Joe giving Bowles advice on how to play defense. I needed a good laugh this morning.

  14. Everything is just horrble! Says:

    Joe in case you forgot watch our last Super Bowl win. It might make you feel better. You will see the defensive scheme for this weekend. Devin White will be the QB spy and terminator. White will receive a game ball.

    Go Bucs!!!

  15. Joe Says:

    Just hoping against hope that the D doesn’t just sit back in that weak a$$ zone scheme.

    That’s exactly what screws up Justin Fields, though.

  16. 02,20,2022 Says:

    Get ready for a masterclass on Defense this week folks!! (we may see another HOF worthy gameplay from Bowles imo)

  17. JimBobBuc Says:

    Our outside rushers really need to focus on containment and our interior guys need to stay in their lanes. Keep Fields in the pocket as much as possible. DJ Moore only got a couple of targets last week so I think Fields will force the ball to Moore so we should double Moore early in the game and we might bet some easy picks.

    I was very unhappy with our pass rush last week, we had to blitz to get pressure, so I hope we can get pressure with 4 rushers this week. This is the type of game where Kancey would shine, I hope he plays.

  18. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Do the Bucs know how to make IN GAME adjustments in the 1st half versus waiting until halftime? They couldn’t make adjustments on Jefferson last week until halftime?

  19. stpetebucfan Says:

    TBBucs and Joe have made posts that suggest Devin White is the man who can handle this.

    I agree with Joe that DW55 would be better served as a spy on Fields rather than in pass coverage or blitzing unless he is CERTAIN he sees a gap for a quick sack.

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    White ran a digitally clocked 4.38 40 last year in the 2022 off season. Some contest with 3 other of the fastest players in the league….

    So yea – just let Diva shadow Fields from a few yards behind the line all game.

    Coaches need to make Devin watch tape of MR Derrick Brooks completely shutting down Michael Vick in his prime.

    Fields ain’t no Michael Vick btw…..

  21. Andrew Fish Says:

    This team isnt the packers. We have the guys that get home when they blitz. the problem comes when we play the super soft coverage.

    to me you play everything tight/press man and blitz often. dare them to throw deep. Fields isn’t the QB for that and you only have to worry about Moore.

  22. Cobraboy Says:

    I’m still smarting over that 6-TD pass Trubisky beat-down the Bears gave the Bucs at home five seasons ago.

  23. Buc50 Says:

    This is the week we could really use Kancey. Being able to rush with our front 4 and dropping into coverage will go a long way.

  24. CChead Says:

    This is a classic look ahead trap game for the Bucs. We will see if Bowles has his coaches and players ready for the Bears. Needs to coach smart and be flexible and not rely on his addiction to blitz. My gut tells me he will be blitzing early and often to start this game. Go Bucs!

  25. Darin Says:

    Bowles will do what he does and let the bears have their way in the first half. Then adjust at halftime and hope it’s not too late. That’s been every game outside the biggest of them all. Put all the marbles on the line and he’ll make a first half game plan. Wasn’t for those fumbles last week and it was gona be a hard hole to crawl out of. I’m not betting on opposing turnovers every week

  26. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Anyone remember the Rams playoff game a few years ago!? Stafford was THE best QB against the blitz that season. Did that stop TB from blitzing (a lot!) that game??
    It would show growth as a HC if he makes the adjustment. Hope he does! But we’ll see.

  27. stpetebucfan Says:


    As usual a great post and I hope the Buc’s staff actually reads it.

    “Coaches need to make Devin watch tape of MR Derrick Brooks completely shutting down Michael Vick in his prime.”

    I was always amazed at how Derrick had Vick’s number. By the end I’m sure he was also in Vick’s head.

  28. I remember 21 Says:

    To everyone giving Joe a hard time (you think you need to remind defensive genius TB how to call a defense?), do you remember the end of the 21 season?? I sure do. I remember all week leading up to the Rams game, literally EVERY talking head on the four letter network (and others), calling out how successful Stafford was against the blitz. EVERYONE was saying it ALL WEEK. He was one of the most effective passsers in the league against the blitz and we were one of the most blitz happy teams in the league. How did genius TB respond? He blitzed at an even HIGHER rate than our already high season average in the first half of the game. Maybe you remember how that played out? If not, maybe you remember the zero blitz on the last play? I know I’ll never forget. So let’s not act like our dear leader head coach is infallible. Leftwich was never the only stubborn coach on the team. Bowles is stubborn, and even Arians had a stubborn streak in him (albeit much more successfully so).

  29. Jeff Says:

    Bowles will not change. Bears 30 Bucs 22.

  30. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Had Bowles not done Todd Bowles things in Game 1 there would have been no strip sack and Field Goal when Offense moved the ball 0 yards from Vikings 18)

    Looked like the right call to rush 4 and cover that produced an Interception in the Red Zone.

    Had Bowles not used the Blitz to help the currently ranked 25th D Line get pressure the Vikings Receivers would have destroyed the Bucs Secondary.

    Joe has been quite clear that Bowles will do what he needs to do to secure his job. That goes for his QB and should apply to Decisions on defense. It’s his butt on the line.

    Come week 10 there will be teams looking for defensive Coordinators. Update your resume.

  31. SlyPirate Says:

    Winfield got to the QB in 2 seconds. Literally the exact moment he put his foot down to end his 5-step drop.

    I’d expect White to shadow the QB most of the game, but you’ll see a blitz or two.

  32. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I ain’t going to lie watching Vick thrash defenses was awesome but what was a hell of a lot better was when he faced us and our D ate Vick for lunch. Someone commented earlier that fields ain’t no Vick. That’s for sure Vick had a cannon for an arm also. Should be a fun game of chess between Bowles and the bears offense. Deff be good to have DW45 spy just cause he has great speed and he’s a liability in coverage but there’s also LVD and AW31 who could also spy and switch it up to confuse fields. The Bucs should have a FIELD day 😂🤣sorry I k is it’s corny

  33. unbelievable Says:

    My prediction is we will blitz through the 1st half, and if Fields is beating us, they’ll stop in the 2nd half.

    A la the Rams playoff game in 2021… Matthew Stafford was the best in the league against the blitz, but Bowles was dialing up blitzes the entire 1st half (and they were beating us). Then in the 2nd half he started dropping more guys back, and we shut their offense down. (Until the absolute collapse / no one set at the end of the game of course.)

  34. garro Says:

    If we blitz we need to get home fast. Hope we can get there with four…But… We have not yet proven we can. We can’t let Fields get loose either way. OLBs need to contain and rush. Tough to do. Give Nelson more snaps. He is excelent at keeping contain. Same with Shaq. JTS not so much…Diaby? He could be critical for us this week.

    Go Bucs!