Don’t Blame Rest

December 26th, 2023

Todd Bowles

Joe has a problem with Todd Bowles’ recent statements about resting players.

They don’t add up.

Bowles spoke after the thrilling win against the Jaguars about how he doesn’t want to rest players to prevent injuries — even in huge blowouts like Sunday — because he has so many young players. Bowles also said resting players in Week 18 last season messed up the Bucs in the playoffs.

First, quarterbacking in 2022 was a guy very familiar with taking time off before a playoff game. How many times were the Patriots watching and resting on Wild Card weekend when Tom Brady was quarterback? A lot. Did it seem to hurt the Belicheats? No.

Time off for half a game or a full game is no excuse for rust for veteran players.

For decades prior to the new playoff format instituted in 2020, the top two seeds in each conferene got a postseason bye week, and most of the time they came out and spanked their opponents. Many coaches even talked about how much they liked the advantages of a week off.

Bucs fans will remember how Donovan Smith got a COVID close-contact day off late in the 2020 season and Devin White missed COVID games in last December, too. Those guys were explosive after resting their legs.

Second, Bowles has said many times this season that he would prefer Baker Mayfield not take hits or deliver hits, and that he’s in favor of Baker giving up on a couple plays sooner to stay healthy and live to fight on the next play.

So if that’s how Bowles feels/felt, then why subject Mayfield to taking shots from the Jaguars defense with a huge lead late in the game? No penalty was called, but Mayfield nearly had his necked ripped off by a pass rusher and needed treatment on the sidelines. And he still went back in the game — all with the game out of reach.

Third, regarding Bowles talking about young players needing work, that’s great. Then leave the young players in the game.

That group doesn’t include Mayfield, Devin White, Antoine Winfield, among other Super Bowl veterans.

If you don’t trust Kyle Trask to throw checkdowns and hand off, then that’s another issue.

Bowles has found the magic formula for his team. It’s been a stunning turnaround. But Joe doesn’t think Bowles should throw common sense into the wind when it comes to keeping players healthy for big games.

Sorry, but Joe doesn’t need to see Lavonte David and many others against the Panthers in Week 18 if the game is meaningless.

29 Responses to “Don’t Blame Rest”

  1. Mike Johnson Says:

    All I know is, A few weeks ago, You, me, and everybody else was ready to throw Todd under the Bus. On his heels, he stood his ground. We are winning right now and on a roll. Something I did not think could happen. Bowles just might win out and keep his job. My hats are off to the man.

  2. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Joe

    I believe what Bowles was trying to say is – last year we had a more veteran team who was pretty banged up and this year we have a much more youth filled squad who needs to continue getting as many reps as possible so they continue to develop…

    At least that is what I took from his comments.

  3. DeRobbins Says:

    Its not that the old players need the reps, the young players need the reps WITH the old players, to build that familiarity of how and when those players will perform, so that communication and expectations are built.

    Its not as simple as young players need more game time, its also young players need more time to build familiarity with their team mates.

    catching passes from trask is not going to improve how our young WR’s perform as much as catching passes from Baker.

    Oline getting protection calls from trask is not going to help, as much as getting protection calls from baker.

  4. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ Mike

    “All I Know is”………..

    If Todd Bowles amd Baker Mayfield is retained and are here next season and the Bucs are playing poorly again…….EVERYONE will be screaming bloody murder about how crappy the HC and the QB are…………and how stupid the Bucs Organization is.

    Winning cures all ills and people suddenly have “short memories” of all the bad too.

  5. Dreambig Says:

    Getting a little ahead of ourselves aren’t we? Bucs still need to win one more. Bowles should be talking about the Saints, not worrying about if he should rest players.

  6. TheBucsAnthem Says:


    Let’s not get carried away with a “week off for rest” for a meaningless game because remember, the Bucs haven’t exactly been stellar all year long either.

    If I were the HC……I wouldn’t wanna mess up that on-going chemistry the Bucs have been rolling with the last few weeks as a time.

    If you have players that need to rest because of injury, then of course you sit them………..but I wouldn’t rest the non-injured starters…..let them continue with that game winning chemistry as a team.
    However, every player would tell you they are injured to some degree by December. –Joe

  7. Matt Says:

    We lost 4 straight after our bye this year. If we have the division locked up going into week 18, I would keep the starters in. Stay hot and don’t let the foot off the gas. Riding the momentum was the main factor in our 2020 Super Bowl run.

  8. zzbucs Says:


    I agree with yoor point of view, but I do not belong to that group, Neother Bowles is the coach of the year as many say today nor he sucked as most were saying some weeks ago, same apllies to BM…..

    In order of me saying what the Bucs should do for 2024, I preferr waiting to more games, if they make de Playoffs, I am all in for both to come back, on Mayflied at the right price, I don´t think he is a 35mm QB unless que makes de SB.

    Just take a look on Kansas, Chargers, Dallas etc etc..They spent a hugh chunk of the cap on one singleplayer, and then you don´t have money for WR or OL or defensive players……

  9. zzbucs Says:

    Sorry for the spelling, without glasses I am Stevie Wonder

  10. Arians4President Says:

    @DeRobbins – You took the words out of my mouth. Think about preseason games and how unhelpful it is to put a handful of young starters onto the field surrounded by mostly third stringers.

    Additionally… The teams we beat during this 4-game stretch weren’t exactly playing their best ball. The last thing we need is for these young players to lose that underdog mindset, think they are big spit, and then get blown out in the playoffs as a result.

    Having a team willing to fight is a very fragile thing that can break at any moment. Think about us vs KC in SBLV! People can argue who was the more talented team, but you don’t get a 31-9 result unless one team WANTED/FAUGHT FOR it much more than the other team.

    Think how far the “fight” in the 2017 Eagles took them, and they for sure weren’t the most talented NFL team. What mattered was their determination.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Total BS…..teams work their a$$ off to get a first round bye….not to have to play.or risk losing….but also rest.
    I saw Vea in the game at the very end…..that is coaching malpractice.

  12. Davenport Says:

    Before everyone polls Todd’s performance as “very confident”, understand that the last 4 wins have been over struggling/bad teams. The Bucs are far from a solid, well coached team.

    This team is overachieving vs
    expectations but will crash quickly if a couple of key players are out.

    Beat the Saints and then sit as many vets as possible. There is nothing to gain and a ton at risk — don’t be stupid.

  13. BucsFaninTN Says:

    Bowles seems to have a tendency to run into a problem and automatically conclude to fix the problem he has to do the opposite of what he did last time. Like when his defense was gassed a little under Arians he assumed I have to run it all of the time to fix the problem and he blew up something that wasn’t broken. It isn’t always an either/or proposition. He needs to learn to find alternative ways to tweak things rather swinging from one extreme to the other.

  14. ChiBuc Says:

    The blind squirrel does not question how he found a nut, he simply continues his illogical pattern of digging.

    It took 14 weeks to make an offensive adjustment and we are still about halfway through turning this barge of a prevent defense away from constantly playing a soft zone, Bowles just does not seem comfortable changing his line of thinking–facts be damned.

  15. First Name Greatest Says:

    Keep up the momentum and keep playing hard.

    Bucs are not good enough to take any team lightly, need the reps for the rookie offensive coordinator, need the reps for a QB in his first year here and need the reps for the 31st ranked pass defense.

    Bucs, can’t sleep on anyone

  16. Dave Pear Says:

    Let’s understand, it’s Todd. He’s not really a head coach and is in totally over his head at this position. But, at least he seems to be trying to learn from past mistakes, like shotcanning the totally turtle offense that makes his defense even more tired than no riskit. He can say that the moon is made of green cheese and he’d eat it, if it keeps the wins coming.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I see the Joe that ranted and raved about:

    The Bucs not keeping Succop
    Moving Wirfs to Left Tackle
    “Zero Development” a few years back

    Is onto his latest “rest everybody!!!!!” rant. Is this the same guy that said that if Bowles is afraid (Cleveland game last year) he needs to get out of the building?
    Why not just forfeit the Carolina game, since someone could get hurt getting off the team plane? None of these guys should practice, because people get hurt in practice.

    I could see, if the Bucs are up by 20 going into the 4th Quarter, giving the backups a chance. Otherwise, giving up a game like they did to Atlanta is BS.

  18. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I appreciate the Joes and Ira, I’m wrong about a lot of stuff, I just don’t want a hot Bucs team to cool off.

  19. bill Says:

    Joe…. the best players play….if the season goes 20 you play the best player 20 games…resting fine tuned atheletes ia asinine.

  20. lanshark Says:

    Its fairly clear that they DON’T really trust Trask to hand off and kneel down. Not much, anyway

  21. WillieG Says:

    Joe, you’re talking about a team that has, in the past, let one big play crush their spirits. I say, keep playing. Play everyone. Can’t risk emotional fragility rearing its ugly head again. If they’re playing and playing well, keep them playing and keep their spirits soaring.

  22. Bucs'n'Bucks Says:

    Sew it up then let them rest! Professional athletes appreciate a pat on the back as much as anyone. A lot of lingering bruises can feel great after a week off.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I 100 percent disagree with Joe on this one.

    I hate resting players, and it really has never helped this team before the playoffs.

    Keep the players fresh by playing them. Resting causes its own issues.

  24. Captain Vic Says:

    I agree with Joe on this point. This is completely non-debate, a no-brainer. The Bucs were cooking on both sides of the ball with Baker being the main chef and Lavonte running the show on defense. That game was basically over at halftime certainly by the end of the third quarter, a magnificent performance on both sides of the ball.. and that follows the Masterpiece against the Packers . There’s absolutely no reason for Mayfield to be in the game with 2 minutes left or 5 minutes, or 10 minutes. The game was won, out Of reach. That’s not “resting” players, that’s protecting players! I’m not in favor of the starters sitting out the entire Carolina game if we take care of business against the Saints; players need their normal game day routine / rhythm. By the same token, there was absolutely no reason to risk a fluke injury, like Bayfield getting his neck wrenched, in garbage time. Put the backups in and let them get valuable experience; that would go a long ways just in case you actually need them down the road. Every great head coach, every Hall of Famer protects his valuable assets (key players). Bowls got lucky there wasn’t some freak injury in garbage time.

  25. Captain Vic Says:

    Also, props to Devin White, to his credit brought the fire looked just like he did in the championship game and Super Bowl. He’s the one veteran I would have left in with the young players on D.. just to stabilize things and get his rhythm back. Final point: if you’re trying to run the clock out, stop cramming Rashad White straight up the Middle with 900 lb of beef waiting for him. That’s a good way to get a valuable running back / receiver injured unnecessarily. How about some sweeps, some flare passes, some end arounds.. unless we’re saving that to fool people with later.

  26. FortMyersDave Says:

    It seems like the few times which the Bucs have rested players on the final week of the season (Dungy vs. the Eagles and last year), it did not turn out too well. I think Bowles is saying that the team is still learning how to put things together to have a complete performance so they really need to get all the in game first teams reps that they can get. Also, even as the Bucs have been playing better over the past 2 or 3 weeks, there are still things which can be improved such as the lackluster zone coverage and the run game.

    Bowles may think that even if the Bucs clinch the division next Sunday, the team could use the reps against Carolina who will certainly be playing to win as they would probably love to make sure that the Bears do not get the #1 overall pick due to their trade to acquire their “franchise” qb last year.

    Of course if the Bucs do go up 30 zip in Carolina we could see Trask do some mop up work but then again many of the starters may want to play all 4 quarters, particularly those who may be close to achieving some performance bonuses.

    But first things first, beat the Saints! Last thing Bowels needs is the Saints to roll the Bucs and then have to win in Carolina to win the division, the Panthers seem to be playing better down the stretch, beating the ATL and giving the Pack all they could handle.

  27. Larrd Says:

    Bowles’s statement shows his ability to learn from past mistakes.

    He is right. Joe is wrong.

    Full throttle! Momentum time!

  28. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Of course teams that get the #1 seed and the bye usually come out strong. They have a week to get their banged up players treatments, a week of practice on fundamentals and tightening things up then a week to work on the game plan once they know who their opponent is.

    It’s not like they’re on vacation “resting”. An extra week to heal, work out problems then practice a game plan the next week. They stay sharp and engaged.

    Resting players in the final game (luckily for us the travel is short to Carolina for our last one) is good to let nicked up guys heal, keep snap counts down to avoid possible injuries, buy they have to play some if not most of the game, especially since it appears that our offensive game plan is starting to click and we don’t want to lose any momentum in that department.

    It has to be a player by player determination. Who has a tweak or something that could get worse if he plays and might keep him out of the wild card game? Who needs more work at their position? Who needs to stay sharp (usually QB and WRs)? Etc.

    I’m with Bowles for the most part and I don’t think we’ll see everyone play a full game, but most will or will be rotated in and out a lot to get a little bit of rest while still being engaged in the action.

  29. garro Says:

    Bowles speak.

    My excuse for the playoff loss last year.

    It wasn’t my fault. The team looked was rusty.

    The year before it was “the defense looked tired”

    So which is it Todd?

    Go Bucs!