Todd Bowles is looking to do what no other Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator has done since Monte Kiffin, make the defense respectable. What does his resume say about him?
Bowles played for eight seasons in the NFL for the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. After playing his last game in 1993, he developed an interest in coaching, starting in Morehouse College and becoming their DC and secondary coach. The following year he took the same position at Grambling State.
Bowles made his return to the NFL as secondary coach for the New York Jets in 2000 for head coach Al Groh. The following year, he joined Butch Davis from the Cleveland Browns, coaching their secondary for four seasons. Bowles reunited with HC Bill Parcells in 2005 for the same position, previously having been acquainted in New York when Parcells was general manager.
Bowles took the same position and became assistant head coach under Tony Sparano in 2008 for the Miami Dolphins. He took over for Sparano in 2011 following his firing and had a 2-1 record with his first taste of being head coach. In 2012, Bowles was brought in by Andy Reid to coach the secondary for the Philadelphia Eagles. The same year, he became their interim defensive coordinator after Juan Castillo was fired.
Bruce Arians recruited Bowles to be his DC for the Arizona Cardinals in 2013, and it was here he achieved his greatest success as a coordinator, finishing 6th in yards surrendered overall and 7th in points surrendered. Much of it is due to his stout run defense, giving up the least amount of yards and surrendering the third fewest points on the ground. Despite giving up far more yards the following year, Bowles still finished in the top five in least points given up.
Bowles’ biggest opportunity, which he credits to Arians’ help, emerged in 2015 when he accepted the position of Jets’ HC. He finished in the top 10 in total yards yielded and points given up. Unfortunately, he was never able to recreate the success of his previous three season as 10-6 turned to two 5-11 finishes and one 4-12, costing him his job.
Some may argue Bowles is a better coordinator than head coach as was the case with Arians’ predecessor, Dirk Koetter. Bucs fans can finally see the stability they’ve yearned for since the days of the classic Tampa 2. How quickly the existing defense and the team’s acquisitions will acclimate to Bowles’ aggressive defense, whether it’s the 4-3 or 3-4, is another story since we’re far removed from the days Bowles had to face the likes of Colin Kaepernick and Kellen Clemens. Sure, Russell Wilson is still a force to be reckoned with, but there are tougher challenges ahead for him in facing Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees twice a year.
Can Bowles succeed where others since 2009 have failed?