When training camp started back in July, there were number of questions about Da’Quan Bowers. How would fit in Lovie Smith’s defense? What kind of shape would he be in? Would he even make the team?
The early reviews were good. Bowers came into camp in his best shape as a professional, looked solid in one-on-one drills during the daily practices and was listed as second team when the first depth chart was released the first week of August.
Bowers, who was shifted to the inside to play the three-technique behind Gerald McCoy, also started the preseason off with a bang against the Jaguars. The former Clemson product was credited with three tackles including one for loss and almost intercepted a Blake Bortles pass in Tampa Bay’s 20-7 loss.
But when the team’s next practice rolled around the following Monday, Bowers was seen in the floppy hat, not dressed and just a spectator from the sideline.
On Wednesday Smith addressed the Bowers injury situation and the effect it could have on his future in Tampa Bay.
I think every day you don’t practice you’re hurting your chances,” Smith said. “We’ve seen enough to like Da’Quan a lot, but all the reps that he’s getting, someone else is getting. The best way to beat your competition sometimes is just to stay on the field. You can’t get ‘Wally Pipp’ed.’
“Da’Quan is trying to get back. I think he has a future in the league whether it be as a defensive end outside or more of a third-down rush guy inside.”
Bowers has been a disappointment since entering the league as second-round draft pick in 2011. Part of Bowers’ issues has been injuries but some were self-inflicted, such as admittedly coming into previous training camps not in the best condition.
Upon arriving at training camp back in July, Bowers spoke to the media about his struggles in the NFL.
“No question about it, I owe it to the organization, I owe it to this team. I’ve been here long enough, and I haven’t really been that player that I know I can be,” Bowers said. “I think it’s time I really put forth that extra foot, to be that player that I know I’m capable of being.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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