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August 29, 2011 @ 2:57 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/3 Votes

Bowers Showing Carter-like Ability

Written by Eric
Eric Horchy


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Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris gushed Monday afternoon about the play of DE Da'Quan Bowers and the rookie's solid performance against Miami on Saturday night.

After being shut out of the stat sheet for the first two weeks of preseason, rookie defensive end Da’Quan Bowers made his presence felt Saturday night against Miami by recording his first two professional tackles and one sack.

Head coach Raheem Morris took notice and didn’t waste time praising the 6-foot-4, 277-pounder out of Clemson on Monday afternoon at One Buccaneer Place.

“He played strong, played physical, played fast,” Morris said of Bowers performance at Miami. “I don’t know whether he’s getting healthier or he’s just starting to pick up the scheme things they’re doing a little bit faster right now, but his technique was sharp.”

The third-year head coach admitted that it wasn’t until watching film that he truly recognized how well Bowers played.

“I actually didn’t see it right away on game day,” he said, noting that other Bucs may have overshadowed Bowers on the surface Saturday. “You felt [Frank] Okam. You felt [Michael] Bennett. You felt Dekoda [Watson]. You felt Adrian [Clayborn]. And then when I went to watch the tape I was like, ‘Man!’ I was really fired up about Bowers, he played strong and physical.”

Morris specifically pointed out the first-and-goal sequence Tampa Bay faced late in the first half. Bowers made his first pro tackle on third down when he got into the backfield and caught Miami quarterback Chad Henne trying to escape the collapsed pocket for only a 1-yard gain. The play – which nearly gave Bowers two sacks – helped limit the drive’s damage to a 21-yard Dan Carpenter field goal.

“On the play before that he absolutely destroyed the 5-technique,” Morris added. “Split him in half, split him open.”

Bowers official sack came with 8:29 left in the third quarter when he dropped Henne for a 7-yard loss on first-and-25.

When asked if the impressive night has affected the depth chart, Morris said nothing has changed in that regard. Third-year pro Michael Bennett has started all three preseason games, and, as of Monday, will remain in that position for Thursday night’s final tune up at Washington.

While Bowers (second round) and fellow defensive end Adrian Clayborn (first round) are the Bucs’ high-profile draftees this year to bolster a struggling pass rush, Bennett has been making any final decision on who’s starting at left end a difficult one for the Tampa Bay coaching staff. Bennett had a monster night Saturday, totaling three tackles (all for a loss) and a sack. Through three games, has made five tackles (four solo and one assist) and recorded 1.5 sacks.

In 13 games and two starts with Tampa Bay last season, Bennett totaled 15 tackles, one sack and a pass defensed. The Texas A&M product has made 20 tackles and recorded two sacks during his time as a Buccaneer since being claimed off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 12, 2009.

“It’s always hard to talk about exactly what his role will be,” Morris said of Bowers. “Right now Michael Bennett is the starter. Bowers went out there and played well for us last week. He certainly gives us that great depth at the left end spot. Obviously when you have that rotation up front – those seven or eight guys all playing and being productive – it usually works out best for the team.”

“[Bowers] certainly raised expectations this weekend,” Morris continued. “With how well he played, how physical he played, how strong he looked – it reminded me of Kevin Carter in his heyday. [It] reminded me of a Michael Strahan-type of player. I’m not saying he is [one of] those guys yet. He looks different than anybody we had besides Kevin Carter.”

Though it’s not a reflection on what Bucs will be lined up on the defensive front come Week 1 against Detroit, Bowers could see his first start as soon as Thursday night in Washington. According to Morris on Monday, defensive starters will not be seeing the field against the Redskins. That leaves left end duties up to Bowers, Kyle Moore and Alex Magee, who dressed but did not play Saturday against Miami.

With Clayborn sitting with the rest of the first team, the duties on right end will be handled by Tim Crowder and George Johnson.

Last modified on Monday, 29 August 2011 15:37

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  • avatar

    I love the way the defense is stepping up. I am a little concerned about our pass coverage but the first game against Detroit will let us know how good we are there. I'm really concerned about our O-line. It's not that they don't have the ability. This is the same group that did a great job last year but they have not shown me much in the pre-season. I would love to see the same position battles going on there that we have on the defense. If we had someone breathing down Penn's and Faines neck pushing for a starting job I think we'd see more intensity. Trueblood and Lee battling is like 'dumb and dumber' right now. Next draft I expect they will go heavy on O-line and it wouldn't surprise me if Dominick brings in some FA's just to let the O-line know that it's on notice.
  • avatar

    Bennett, Okam, and Clayborne have been awesome! Johnson has been going against 3rd string so tough to judge. McCoy has been MUCH better than people on here giving him credit for. He has been very disruptive and was the best D-Line player against NE. Have not seen Price & Miller much and have not noticed how Crowder is doing.
  • avatar

    I think what the Bucs are trying to create is a defense that they can platoon at most all positions, first so they can go full bore constantly and second to put in players situationally to leverage their strengths. I like it a lot. 6 DE's and 6 DT's would not be a bad thing at all, as it all starts up front. If the DLinemen can all be extremely active on every play, with no one EVER taking a play off, good things will happen.
  • avatar

    I realize this is the Bowers show...but...If they dont start Dakota Watson day one (at LB) then something is wrong!! Name a LB in this squad of greenhorns that has had more plays than Watson.
  • avatar

    Itwas just nice to finally see some pressure from our front four! (or eight). Wason is truly a beast too and very fun to watch! Cant wait for week one!! Go Bucs!!
  • avatar

    I love the fact that Bowers is picking it up, him and Bennett will make a strong rotation on that side of the line. Clayborn is nothing less than a monster, I did not know he was as physical and ruthless as he is. Teams are already double teaming him and he is already our best run defender along with Okam. GMC really needs to pick it up come 13/14 days. He needs to be the leader and right now he's just mediocre
  • avatar

    I've become a believer in Clayborn. Didn't like the pick at first, but he's been incredibly fun to watch. Always working, and he's a force. And Frank the Tank is also a blast to see in there. Love the way Bowers, Johnson, Crowder, and especially Bennett, even Watson, have been playing DE. D-line was top priority, and the draft choices and coaching selections are paying off. Outstanding! And, yes, GMC has been disruptive. I like the front. Just need Roy and Brian to get healthy and the Bucs will be a load up front.
  • avatar

    Bowers has gotten stronger each game. George Johnson surprised me Sat - very strong performance. Clayborn is pushing the pile into the QB and from what I've heard, does not like people in general - nice. McCoy is very disappointing. Still doesn't have the strength to compete at this level.
  • avatar

    I think you may be correct abount GMC's strength level currently. With the biceps tear he was set back, but hopefully that will get better over the course of the season and then he can really get strong for next year.
  • avatar

    Well guys I think Tampa got the steal of the draft in Bowers. I really believe it. I think if Tampa don't keep 6 dDE's and 6 DT's something wrong. I think that Tampa Bay Defensive line willcreat havoic vs Det and Minn. I donot think Det and the rest of the league don't think Tampa is that fast. But I could be wrong. Let the Bucs show up and real a couple of wins let say the first 8 games, and all these so call good teams will start taking notice. I really like the challenge. Look at this schedule 1-DET 2-@Minn 3-ATL 4-IND(mon) 5@sf 6-SAINTS(HOME)7-in London vs BEARS Bye weekin game 8 and Game 9-the challenge @ Saints. I say why not winn all8. If not let split 4&4.Go Bucs.
  • avatar

    So agree with Coach. Notice no mention of McCoy? I did not see any special double teaming on GMC other than the norm depending on the offensive play that's called if it's to his side. I still do not understand why he lost weight instead of keeping the weight and getting stronger.
  • avatar

    Maybe they didn't double team him so much because they had to deal with Okam? I think that is the perfect situation for the DLine to be in, then GMC may really have a chance to produce.
  • avatar

    I don't agree with Rah on not playing this Thursday, Clayborn, Foster, and Talib need to be out there IMO. Especially Talib to get his legs under him and Foster for working on his pass coverage up the middle.
  • avatar

    I like what Bennett has done, which is great, make Bowers fight for playing time. The other guy that I think is starting to develop is George Johnson, I hope he gets to play a lot next game.
  • avatar

    Like I've said before I am more excited about Bowers than anyone else we drafted this year. Barring any further serious injury this guy is going to make a Pro Bowl in the very near future!
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