Different Approach Produced Results

November 13th, 2023

Mixed things around.

Bucs coach Todd Bowles could sense the 2023 season was about to crater. He mentioned yesterday some Bucs players had kept their teammates from jumping off the cliff. Facing a possible 3-6 record with a trip to San Francisco just around the bend will do that.

So Bowles did a lot of different things to spark a defense that got thoroughly torched by a rookie quarterback in Houston’s C.J. Stroud a week ago.

Bowles held an all-hands-on-deck defensive meeting last week and encouraged players to air their grievances without demonstrating any feats of strength.

Bowles didn’t stop there. The Bucs’ pass rush had become terribly stagnant since the Bucs produced six sacks against the Bears in Week 1.

Only in four games since have the Bucs recorded multiple sacks in a game, none more than three. Until yesterday when the Bucs put Tennessee quarterback Will Levis on the ground four times.

Without sacks, you’re setting yourself up to get roasted, that’s all there is to it.

So Bowles decided to roll with a couple of guys who are not starters and get them more snaps. Both are rookie outside linebackers.

The first is YaYa Diaby. Perhaps running out of patience with Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, who really hasn’t grown as an NFL player since his rookie season in 2021, Diaby had the second-most snaps of his career and most since the loss to Detroit.

Bowles said the reason Diaby got more snaps was that he’s been playing so well against the run — a weakness for JTS. So with Tennessee being a run-first team (naturally since Mike Vrabel is a defensive head coach), Bowles said the time was right for Diaby to get on the field more.

“He’s very strong and he’s very tough,” Bowles said of Diaby. “He’s probably the strongest [outside linebacker] we’ve got out there.

“He’s very good against the run and against a running team you are likely to see more snaps from him. He’s earning more playing time and he’s getting it.”

Diaby had a sack, two quarterback hits and two tackles for loss. Yes he deserves more playing time.

Then, fellow outside linebacker Markees Watts played in his first NFL game and made an impact in only 11 snaps. Watts crushed Tennessee quarterback Will Levis on a throw that led to an Antoine Winfield pick, his first of the season.

Bowles said Watts earned playing time for how he has been balling out in practice.

“He has been working against Tristan [Wirfs] and Luke [Goedeke] the past couple of weeks,” Bowles explained. “He’s been giving them fits in practice.

“I was like, ‘This guy probably needs a shot in games.’ So, with people injured, we had a chance to dress him without losing a lot so we dressed him out and gave him a shot and he came through just like he did in practice.”

Bowles was getting to the point he had to try some things differently. Joe hopes that with the play of Diaby and Watts, that guys who had to sit the pine take advantage of the “greatest motivator of all” and start producing when they are on the field.

As Dirk Koetter used to say, the NFL is a “production league.” Either produce or get the hell out of the way. The NFL isn’t high school or college where Johnny gets to play because he deserves it for holding doors open for Grandma.

That non-production came close to killing the Bucs season and costing people their jobs.

35 Responses to “Different Approach Produced Results”


    Isn’t it wonderful how well things go when you have a really crappy opponent with a not-so-hot rookie QB….

  2. Marine Buc Says:

    Time to start looking for free agent safeties to come in and at least give a try-out.

    Ryan Neal should never see the field again – IMO…


    Also it’s about time the multi millionaire genius running our offense realizes that pounding the rock up the middle of this brittle and suspect o-line is as stupid as it gets.

    I was pleased to see more runs off-tackle and around the edge plus a few screen passes mixed in.


  3. Joe Says:

    Isn’t it wonderful how well things go when you have a really crappy opponent with a not-so-hot rookie QB….

    So Bowles should have thrown the game and gotten himself fired?

  4. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    OT: What is the story on Baker’s Throwing Thumb?

  5. realistic-optimistic Says:

    I was like, ‘This guy probably needs a shot in games.’ So, with people injured, we had a chance to dress him without losing a lot

    “without losing a lot?” Did it look like we lost anything on D by putting JTS on the pine? WTF took so long, Bowles?

    I LOVED lining Vea up on the edge. But again, what took so long, Bowles?

  6. Jmarkbuc Says:

    It shouldn’t take half a season, and the last month to realize sh!t ain’t working…

  7. Rod Munch Says:

    The difference was that they didn’t waste Devin White spend the entire game playing 10 yards off the LOS in coverage, and actually had him blitzing and causing havoc. They still didn’t do it enough, but it was a reminder of why White is special. He should be blitzing up the gut on literally every play he’s out there – he is a game changer when he’s doing that.

    Nearly every time he was released to blitz, something bad happened for Tennessee. Insult aside, I truly don’t understand how Bowles can watch the tape and not see that when White is used as a rusher, how much better the entire defense looks.

  8. Dave Pear Says:

    Still have zero confidence in Todd as a head coach. After fading a bit, the Niners look back to Super Bowl form and an impending crusher is headed for us.

    If Todd lets Canales Ro be aggressive early maybe there’s a chance.

    Nah, nevermind.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Dave Pear – The Bucs are 2-5 in their last 7, and overall 12-15 under Todd. There really isn’t any reason to have any confidence in him as head coach. Again, as a defensive coordinator, I think he was great, and if that was his full time job right now, I think the defense would be a lot better.

    But Todd badly, desperately, needs a signature win, and this is his chance.

    Which is why I assume the Bucs will lose 31-3.

    I’d love to be proved wrong, and I’d love to see Bowles actually say ‘dang it to all gorsh’ and go down swinging if the Bucs are too lose – but what I expect to see is another scared Bowles team that is more afraid of getting blown out than trying to win.

  10. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Rod

    I agree with you on D. White.

    It’s time for this team (on offense and defense) to stop shoving square pegs into round holes…

    Grow the F up already and learn how to exploit the strengths of your players and team.

    The Bucs have been one of the most frustrating teams to follow the past two seasons.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Bowles … ‘So, with people injured, we had a chance to dress him (Watts) without losing a lot so we dressed him out and gave him a shot and he came through just like he did in practice.’

    I’m missing something obviously. There’s an implication in that statement that Watts (who was by Todd’s own admission balling out in practice) only dressed for the game because some players were injured. Yet given the opportunity, Markees Watts balled out in the game too (1 QB Hit & 1 tackle in 11 snaps). Note to Todd: If the guys who you’re playing regularly aren’t getting it done (4-game losing streak is a clue on that), try someone else.

  12. Let Em Bake Says:

    With a divisional look-ahead game after the Bucs (Seahawks) and a DC Baker is familiar with ( both were in Carolina last year), and a few lucky bounces, The Bucs may have a puncher’s chance next week.

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Man it was refreshing as hell. I was in a bad place as a fan lol

  14. Buc4evr Says:

    There is absolutely nothing to lose against SF. If Bowles and Canales want a different approach, they need to open the offensive game plan up. No more stupid runs on first and second down. Roll Baker out and let it rip. Trick plays, bootlegs and reverses. And JTS needs to play on special teams and not start on defense.

  15. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    So let’s tip our hat for Bucs going 1-4 in the last 5 games. This team and the coaching staff suck. JTS and Hall are busts. D white plays well in spurts and Neal and Davis need to be shipped out of here.

  16. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Where is Sirvocea Dennis?

  17. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Lord

    I think we were all fooled by the 3-1 start and the hopium was flowing like fine wine at a Roman orgy.

    Back to life back to reality.

    The Bucs are a mediocre team who can beat other bad and mediocre teams as long as the coaching doesn’t 5h!t the bed.

  18. David Says:

    I don’t care about Toilet Bowl but he has been good in managing the defense except the Texans game. Bucs should have won those games if they had a decent offense. He would shine even more if he was DC in a super bowl bound team with a supportive offense. This offense with Baker has made worst than he is.

  19. HC Grover Says:

    The diff was playing a team even worse than the Bucs.

  20. Nprbuc Says:

    Imagine that! When you have a guy like JTS ( who has shown next to zero) in 9 games to sit him down for a while and see what you have in Ya Ya? It only took Bowels 9 games to see what JBF fans have been saying all year? That’s just one of the many reasons to get a new coach. Bowels took 9 games to see what we have been screaming for 9 games and he is taking millions of Glazers loot. Same with Watts. Many on here have been screaming to get the guy some snaps. Need to have an injury someplace to get it done? Think we may have a coaching problem maybe? Failure to use the talent you have and then playing not to loose says it all. Time for a change in HC. When couch potatoes can out Coach your HC it is definitely time for a change. I don’t care what he does from here on out. It is too late for him to redeem himself in my eyes.

  21. unbelievable Says:

    As if we needed more proof that Bowles was a stubborn buffoon…

    “This kid has looked great in practice, but we can’t put him in the game, unless one of our other guys who is underperforming and shows nothing gets injured and can’t play”

  22. It's Corn Says:

    I do like what Bowles did to have the defense address some of its issues in meetings and have accountability. That was Dungy-esque.

    But yeah they just beat a 3-6 team with a rookie QB, so may not be time to get too excited yet.

  23. Beeej Says:

    Markees Watts? If you had offered me a million $, I couldn’t have told you he was a member of the Bucs.

    Devin White, you notice how he was FAR more into the game than he has been in a while? He was assigned a task he KNEW he can excel in

  24. NE Fan Says:

    It only took a season and a half.

  25. ModHairKen Says:

    “[Devin White] should be blitzing up the gut on literally every play he’s out there – he is a game changer when he’s doing that.”

    Rod Munch is right. We have all seen it. Now, do it, Bowles, you fat dummy. Save your job. Use these guys. As for Diaby, I don’t give a F if someone is a rookie, play them if they give more of a crap than the starter.

    This should be Revenge Week. They went in last year thinking Purdy is a rookie, so it will be easy, and he whipped them like little boys. They should be flying to SF like angry, crazed dogs.

    Be angry. Take chances. Penetrate. Punish.

    Bowles, every game is for your job. As angry as I am, I want you to pull an Arians and make me apologize for dumping on you.

  26. BUCS4LIFE Says:

    Show me some $hit this Sunday, then I might listen. Because beating up on a very mediocre team ain’t gonna cut it.

  27. Just Saying Says:

    So Bowels plays Yaya because JTS is weak against the run. Didn’t he notice that JTS can’t rush the passer either. Gifted him starters role and benefits like no preseason games because of what exactly? Every time Bowels explains a decision it makes me less confident in his abilities.

  28. LongSeason Says:

    I will give credit where credit is due. If the defense wants to make believers out of skeptics then they need to play as good against good to great offenses.
    Six points allowed to any team is great.

  29. Confido75 Says:

    Many of us on here, including myself, have given Bowles hell for being stubborn and lacking flexibility and leadership. Well, he finally did the right thing and asked his players for input. I know its the Titans they beat, but its a good start.

  30. steele Says:

    The fact that he has to have these “emergency airing-out meetings” is clear proof that he is not an effective (much less brilliant) leader or manager of an NFL-level locker room. Issues with these egos and man-childs require a level that Bowles will never possess, and to get it all moving effectively is far beyond him. What should be routine and proactively done, with the roster, etc. is not done. Everything is reactive, late, “putting out fires”. If this locker room was healthy, we would also not be hearing about players “airing grievances” on the outside. Grievances have been stewing on this team for a very long time, since last season and earlier.

    That said, I would not be surprised if this rolling mess pulled an upset in SF next weekend. Because the Niners are not in great shape,either. They have a problem being overrated and ahead of themselves. That 3-game losing streak exposed a bad secondary, a lack of depth, bad DC (Wilks), Purdy having growing pains, and a huge problem if Trent Williams’ ankle is gimpy. ‘

    They’re beatable.

  31. Hopein1hand… Says:

    @ Scotty in Fat Antonio: Are they all as fat as Charles Barkley says they are? If so, can you find one to play guard?

  32. teacherman777 Says:

    @rod munch

    You nailed it again bro.

    Devin White is not a coverage LB!

    Let him blitz or get him off the field!

    Devin looked fast again!

    Set Devin free!!

  33. Daniel Z Says:

    Bucs played the Vikings in week one, not the Bears.

  34. rrsrq Says:

    Fact, I almost 100% sure I said these guys both Diaby and Watts should be getting playing time, I also mentioned Cam Gill, what die we have to lose, need guys hungry to play in this league, they earned their spots as FA’s (except YaYa)

  35. garro Says:

    Watts, Diaby and to an extent Nelson have all outplayed Mr draft pick JTS. If we as fans can plainly see this, why in the world has it taken so long for Bowles to see it. Hell, Kancey playing out of position looked better for the one snap I saw. One snap! Get the man tickets in the cheap seats and give his snaps to these dudes who have earned playing time.

    Go Bucs!