Todd Bowles is into his second opportunity as a head coach, this time for the Buccaneers. Will Bowles make the most of his second chance in the NFL?
With the start of the 2022 season this past weekend, there are a lot of new faces on this Buccaneers team, as there is every year. Eighteen of the 53 players are new to Tampa Bay, as they did not spend time with Tampa last year.
One of the most important new members of the organization is head coach Todd Bowles. Bowles is not a rookie head coach, as he coached the New York Jets for four seasons from 2015-2018. His best season was 2015 when the Jets went 10-6. From 2016 on, the team seemed to regress every season as Bowles went 5-11 in 2016 and 2017 before bottoming out at 4-11 in 2018. More talent is on this year’s Alabama team than those New York Jet teams. But, unfortunately, you can only do so much with minimal talent.
Bowles also coached the Miami Dolphins in 2011 after the firing of Tony Sparano, going 2-1 in those two games. He has a career record of 26-41 and is now the man in charge of one of the best teams in the NFL. He will also coach one of the greatest players in the game Tom Brady.
Buccaneers Coach, In His Second Chance, Hopes For Better
Bill Belichick had a record of 36-44 as a head for the Cleveland Browns from 1991-1995. If someone had told you that someday he would be recognized as the greatest coach in NFL history, you would have been laughed out of the room. Belichick learned from those years in Cleveland and has since gone 254-99.
This brings us to ask the question, will Todd Bowles be successful as a head coach his second time around? The deck is stacked in his favor, at least for this season, as he was handed one of the best teams and situations a new coach will ever walk into. He got off to a pretty good start as the Buccaneers dismantled the Dallas Cowboys 19-3 in their season opener.
One of the differences for Todd Bowles this time is a lesson he learned well from Bruce Arians over the last two years. Surround yourself with smart people and trust them implicitly. Bowles also added that he worried about everything when he coached the New York Jets. He wanted to be involved in everything. Bowles even went so far as to try to learn some offensive plays from the offensive playbook. Bowles said that this time around, he would leave the offense to coordinator Byron Leftwich.
Leftwich has 100 percent control of the offense regarding personal and running the offense. The Buccaneers will continue to run the same offense that Arians ran the last two years, making it easier for Bowles this second time. The second-time head coach now understands that his job is to manage the team, not necessarily be involved in coaching every aspect of the team.
Bowles will continue to help out on defense. It should make it much easier for Bowles knowing that the majority of the defensive starters will be back. The new starters are Akeim Hicks, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, and possibly Logan Ryan. The 58-year-old has long been a respected coordinator and had the Buccaneers’ defense among the best in the league the last two seasons.
During the last two seasons, the Buccaneers have allowed 21.5 points per game, good for sixth in the league. Also, the defense has allowed just 329 yards per game which is fifth best in the league. Perhaps where Bowles has gained the most credibility is in the postseason. One of his best coaching jobs came in Super Bowl 55 against Kansas City when the Buccaneers shut down the Chiefs high powered offense to win 31-9.
The Buccaneers have played in six postseason games the last two years, and the defense has created 16 turnovers in those contests. All the pieces are in place for Bowles to be successful. If he is successful, and the Buccaneers win the division and make a deep playoff run, everyone will say any coach could have won with that roster. If he struggles, there are injuries, and the Buccaneers go 9-8 or 10-7, everyone will say that it was a mistake to give Bowles the head coaching position. I’m betting on Bowles. I think he learned a lot from his time with the Jets and will make the adjustments needed to be a successful head coach with the Buccaneers.