Former Clemson star Da'Quan Bowers has struggled with being an every down player and admits he didn't really know what to expect. Bowers also cautioned fans not to read too much into preseason games when talking to the media on Wednesday.
Bucs defensive end Da’Quan Bowers inherited a starting spot last March when 2012 leading sacker Michael Bennett left for the Great Northwest and the Seattle Seahawks. However, keeping the starting spot has been a tough chore for the third-year former Clemson Tiger.
Bowers has seen his left defensive end depth chart spot taken over by Daniel T’eo-Nesheim, and as a result Bowers has been relegated to second team duties in the last two preseason games. Still Bowers isn’t discouraged, and said he needed the extra reps.
“I’m in pretty good shape,” Bowers said. “I played a lot of snaps this preseason. I’m glad I played a lot of snaps this preseason. I needed it. Not only for conditioning, but to get myself in the swing of things. Coming off injury and not being able to really have a camp last year, I think it hurt me this year going into camp. I didn’t quite know what to expect. The preseason has helped me. I was very grateful for the preseason, and still am.”
Bowers has apparently read recent headlines or listened to the sports talk radio callers who are ready to hit the panic button, but advised Bucs fans to be patient.
“We haven’t really shown anything,” Bowers said. “It has just been all about the Bucs so far. I think we had a productive camp on both sides of the ball. (Preseason) games aren’t really games to us. It is kind of like a practice against someone else – like the Patriots. When it counts you can definitely expect the Bucs to be on their P’s and Q’s and ready to attack.
“In those preseason games you see those guys like Dashon (Goldson), Mark (Barron) those guys playing just five or 10 snaps and Gerald (McCoy)…once the whole team and the whole 11 get together it is going to be something special. I think everyone is waiting to see that, everybody is a little upset they haven’t seen it yet. But I have seen it and it looks really, really good.
“I would just tell them to be confident. Let the coaches coach and the players play. We do this for a living and we have a little insight about it. It is going to be a long season and those four games don’t mean anything. When it is really time to go and really time to count we can promise with everything we have, the Buccaneers we will be going. And going hard with everything we have.”
Some of what has Bowers confident in the potential regular season success is the work and effort by his defensive line teammates. Bowers says the difference in this year's team versus last year's is much different.
“Just dedication, guys wanting to learn and guys working together,” Bowers said. “Last year it was a lot of individual efforts. This year I just think everybody has come together collectively and come with a purpose and a dedication to help the group and not their individual selves. Myself and Gerald, Adrian (Clayborn) and Gary(Gibson) and Derek (Landri) – everybody has come together with a plan to help everybody out to help each other out. Not just get Da’Quan sacks, get Gerald sacks, but everybody collectively. And I think that will help everybody out.
“There is a lot of work to be done but we are so many, many miles away from where we were last year at the end of the year. And I can tell a difference and you can see the making of what's going to be there. It’s not quite there yet, but in due time it will be there.”
With the regular season opener coming up a week from Sunday, Bowers eyes lit up when asked about the start of the season.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Bowers said. “I think once the real lights come on in 11 days, two hours, seven minutes and 21 seconds everybody here will be ready to go.”
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