Todd Bowles is thought around the league by many to be a top defensive mind. Formerly a defensive coordinator leading some of the NFL’s best defenses during his time in Arizona with head coach Bruce Arians, Bowles is now running a Bucs’ unit that is allowing 293.5 passing yards and 31.5 points per game. Both those numbers are just shy of the league’s worst marks.

Despite a top-ranked run defense, a young secondary has once again been an Achilles’ Heel for Tampa Bay.

“I think they have a great attitude,” Bowles said about his young defensive backs. “It’s just the experience of the game and learning how to play it mentally. The faster that catches up the better they’ll be.”

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett and Bucs CB Jamel Dean – Photo by: Getty Images

Along with a rookie at middle linebacker in Devin White, Tampa Bay is overrun with youth in a defensive backfield that includes second-year cornerback Carlton Davis and three rookies, Mike Edwards, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting, who have been thrust into prominent roles during their debut seasons.

“Obviously inconsistent,” Bowles said about the biggest problem facing the secondary. “We can play well for spurts of the game then there will be a spurt where we go haywire and then they make plays on us in the game. We’ve got to be more experienced in that regard and we’ve got to play the last quarter like we play the first three quarters”

Going off of that lack of experience, Dean was given the starting nod in Week 9 shortly before kickoff against the Seahawks as Davis suffered a pregame hip injury. It was a forgettable performance for Dean, allowing three touchdowns in coverage on the day, but Bowles believes that the experience taken from being put in that situation will last the rookie a lifetime.

“I think it’ll benefit him a lot mentally,” Bowles said. “Because when he did the right thing he did it well and as the game went on, and they got faster in the fourth quarter, he has some things that he’d like to have back that he can learn from, from an experience standpoint, that we’ve been working with him on. So I think that game will carry him for the rest of his career and probably fuel his career.”

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles
Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles – Photo by: PewterReport.com

As a coach with so much success leading formidably defensive units, you would think that Tampa Bay’s defensive production, or lack thereof, en route to a 2-6 start must be frustrating. But for Bowles, as the rest of the staff has echoed since walking through the doors at One Buc Place, the frustration begins and ends with the game’s final result.

“We’ve got to win no matter what,” Bowles said. “It’s frustrating losing, not so much being a top defensive coach, it’s about getting these guys experience and getting them to play together more than anything. For me, as far as losing, if we’re winning these ball games it’s not a factor but we’ve got to make sure we cut down on the mental mistakes that are beating us. Getting beat physically is one thing, but getting beat mentally and beating ourselves, that’s what we’ve got to stop.”

Bowles continued.

“We’ve got to keep the score down to one [point] lower than our offense scores, whether that’s 10-9 or 31-30. You want to play great defense, you don’t want them to get into the end zone but when they’re in the red zone we’ve got to [force our opponents to] convert more field goals to touchdowns and that’s where we’ve got to get better.”

Previous articleBucs’ Leftwich: “These Guys Love To Fight”
Next articleBucs vs. Cardinals Injury Report: 11/7

17 COMMENTS

  1. Winston the Turnover King is responsible for the overwhelming majority of the problems. Winston has cost himself millions of dollars. Next year he will lucky to get starting job on the worst team in the league. Maybe Jameis is even too radioactive for any serious backup job. He will get a backup job for somebody. Coaches will not want him because his hit/miss ability will get them in trouble. He may win a big game then go on a losing streak.

    +6
    -24
    Rating: -18. From 30 votes.
    Please wait...
    • It doesn’t matter if Winston plays like shit or plays well the bucs still lose…

      +9
      -2
      Rating: +7. From 11 votes.
      Please wait...
      • All the more reason to invest in a Kick-A** Defensive front 4 like we had in the old days. Remember, we won a superbowl with a great defense….not offense.

        +6
        -1
        Rating: +5. From 7 votes.
        Please wait...
    • Erik
      What the posters on this site and the Management of this team have no clue about is that
      Jameis brings with him to the Bucs a Orr that is based in very bad Karma.
      Karma is a great thing for some people however bad karma is a down right bitch!
      For the first half of my life I knew nothing about Karma once learned life became a whole lot better.
      You can not bring into the locker room a leader with all that bad baggage and expect wonderful things to happen! It just does not ever happen………
      Smart people understand this.

      +3
      -21
      Rating: -18. From 24 votes.
      Please wait...
    • Winston doesn’t play defense.

      +14
      -2
      Rating: +12. From 16 votes.
      Please wait...
  2. I like Bowles and his attack style of defense. Just looks like we are resigned to waiting for these guys to develop. Not sure where VHIII fits into that equation as he’s a veteran now and should be able to pick this up more quickly. The first and second year guys get a little more leeway.

    +15
    0
    Rating: +15. From 15 votes.
    Please wait...
  3. Trust me, with this staff still intact, Jameis will either be franchised and become a very rich man or they will try to sign him to a multi year deal for a little less annually. Mark it down, the Bucs will resign Jameis! It’s not something I necessarily agree with but this is the Buc way. I’m just saying…

    +14
    -4
    Rating: +10. From 18 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Lol winston could be off this team and people will still blame him. Anyways Inexperience and mental mistakes on Defense is true maybe switching from 3-4 4-3 3-4 4-3 and little zone would make you inexperienced and mental. I mean make mental mistakes

      +4
      -2
      Rating: +2. From 6 votes.
      Please wait...
  4. Can everyone please stop talking about our defensive players like they just stumbled across the game of football two weeks ago…they don’t understand how to play?…worst excuse I’ve ever heard!

    +6
    -8
    Rating: -2. From 14 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Last I checked:
      a) man-to-man defense was taught at Auburn
      b) WRs in the NFL run the same route tree as they do in the SEC
      c) rookies from ‘ole Miss have the same amount of time to learn as rookies from Auburn

      Maybe it has nothing to do with “being too young”….

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  5. If you guys want to bash Winston, by all means have at it. But this article was solely about the defense. Didn’t mention Jameis Winston once. Not sure how you got sidetracked but….

    This defense is young, and fast, and inexperienced. Big mistakes are bound to happen. If they continue to make the same mistakes, well then it’s probably safe to assume we didn’t draft very well. I like them all so far. I think the word that was over used in pre-season to describe the new guys was “Cerebral”. I began to really dislike that word this year.

    At 2-6 I think it’s probably a good idea to baptize by fire. Just keep starting the young guys to give them experience so that hopefully, at the end of the season, we’ll know for sure if we need to draft new DBs, or if we can finally concentrate on the trenches.

    +15
    0
    Rating: +15. From 15 votes.
    Please wait...
  6. Bowlws Defense better be ready come Sunday. They need this one. And the Rookie Murray is no slouch. This kid can barely see across the line of scrimmage yet, he’s firing accurate passes and will pull it down a run for positive gains most of the time. This game will be won or lost by our Defense. If we are not ready, The Cardinals are gonna have a field day.

    +2
    0
    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
    • I am very tired of the OC and DC coming up with platitudes, bromides, and shibboleths. I heard my first one during the 3rd game of the 1982 season (I think against the Redskins); how about just a win.

      +9
      0
      Rating: +9. From 9 votes.
      Please wait...
      • Here’s the reason we are losing. Ready? …. (Drum roll please.) The OTHER TEAMS ARE SCORING MORE POINTS THEN WE ARE!!! GOT IT!?

        +8
        0
        Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
        Please wait...
  7. On sports radio in Tampa today an ESPN Analyst that analyzes all the NFL Teams was asked about the Buc’s Defensive problems and his comment was that whenever 4-3 teams convert to 3-4 Defense it always takes a year to train the players how to play it successfully. And that is what is hurting the team this year and not Jameis. He said if the Bucs don’t keep Jameis there will be 10 NFL Teams that will all want him. He said our Offense is playing well with Jameis and all they need to focus on to win is their defense. (There have been only two high turnover games that our Offense had this year he said). And that Defense is why BA is not getting his usual big turnaround in the first year like he usually does, but he is preparing the Bucs for that turnaround next year. The Bucs have a higher number of young players than most NFL teams. I happen to believe the ESPN Analyst is right on the money!

    +9
    -2
    Rating: +7. From 11 votes.
    Please wait...
  8. Funny because nobody complains about rookies when they can play. 49ers Nick Bosa no complaints, Kyler Murray no complaints, Raiders Josh Jacobs Nope, Jaguars J Allen not a peep….
    Our supposed experienced coaching staff comes in every week after a lose and complain about the youth on the roster. Every team in the league is forced to start rookies and young players. The Steelers aren’t complaining about starting D Bush, Minka Fitzpatrick & that young backup QB, They’re finding ways to win. How about Lamar Jackson a QB who was drafted as a project but some how their coaches are smart enough to design an offense that fit his skill set, Crickets…. It goes without saying rookies make mistakes, but what about a veteran RT continuous holding calls, Center ill timed snaps, Wideouts running wrong routes, Head Coaches calling two TO in a row. To me this Team is just not smart from top to bottom period. So please spare us us all with the obvious “Rookie Mistake” spill and just man Up and say “You Know We Just Need To Do Better”

    +3
    0
    Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
    Please wait...
  9. I guess I missed that breaking news, “Starting at safety, # 3 Jameis Winston.”

    +4
    -1
    Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...