Since the last time that Todd Bowles spoke to the media after being hired as the Bucs defensive coordinator, he has a lot of new players to work with. From free agent signings like Shaq Barrett and Deone Bucannon, to the Bucs drafting five defensive players in the 2019 draft, this defense added more speed and versatility to help fit his scheme.

Bowles was up at the podium on Wednesday to answer questions from the media regarding this new Bucs’ defense as offseason training has been under way. Here is a full transcript of his responses.

On after watching tape if he went to Bruce Arians and Jason Licht and said that they can’t compete with the corners they had, which is why they drafted so many DBs
“No, I mean a lot of them were hurt, and we drafted good football players. In my opinion, you can’t have enough corners, you can’t have enough depth, and the players fell right where we had them ranked and we picked them”

On what he likes about Mike Edwards in terms of his leadership and playmaking
“Well he’s versatile, obviously. He’s a very smart player, he’s a ball hawk, he can make tackles, he can blitz, he can do a lot of things. I think he fits in well here with the things we’ll ask him to do.”

Kentucky S Mike Edwards
Kentucky S Mike Edwards – Photo by: Getty Images

On what players is he thinking of for the nickel position
“None right now. We got M.J. Stewart in here, we’ll get the rookies in and see what they can do. Obviously Vernon has played it in the past and we’re still feeling out the other guys. Without being able to do too much in phase two and phase one, so we got to wait to get to OTA’s and summer camp to really see who those guys are.”

On if M.J. Stewart is still moving to safety
“Our safeties can play nickel. We have a lot of versatile guys, so we’ll move him around.”

On his initial impression of Devin White when he got to meet him at the Combine
“It was impressive, obviously. He’s a bright kid, he lights up a room when he walks in. The film speaks for itself, and to have a player like that, we’re happy to get him in and get to work.”

On how much does he rely on linebackers to create pressure
“They’re part of the front, but if we’re getting there with the interior guys, we won’t blitz. If we’re not getting there with the interior guys, we’ll blitz a little bit, so it’s a 3-4 and a 4-3. A lot of the league is played in sub personnel anyway, so, we’ll have four down quite a bit.”

On if the rules have affected his schemes now, where he might want more players in the back because of penalties called for hitting the QB and more passing
“I don’t think it’s the rule changes, I think it’s the offensive schemes of the game. The game’s gotten a lot faster especially out on the perimeter and the edge, you don’t see as much power running, so, there’s a lot of things out on the perimeter where you need a lot of faster guys.

On if it was an emphasis to get faster on defense
“We wanted more speed but it had nothing to do with the film from last year. We just needed more speed.”

On what jumped out to him about Sean Bunting
“Pressability, man coverage, and he’s a ball hawk. Obviously he can only get better, we’ll get him in, get him in the program and mix him in with the other guys, and try to get him better.”

Central Michigan CB Sean Bunting
Central Michigan CB Sean Bunting – Photo courtesy of CMU

On how exciting it is to have so much talent with their first five draft picks this year being on defense
“Anytime you get new toys it’s exciting at Christmas. It’s how you use them and how they fit in with the other guys that will tell the story. You like having the guys that you have.”

If he thinks he has enough pieces for what he wants to do here on defense
“I can tell you in January.”

On why he thinks Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis will take that next step with more aggressive coverage in his defense
“They’re going to do both. They’re going to play off and they’re going to play up, there’s no set way that we’re going to play this defense. Obviously, were going to look and see how we can take people away, but at the same time we’re going to be smart with what we do and how we do it. They can do both and they’re going to do both, it really doesn’t matter as long as they stay healthy, I think they should be fine.”

On how critical is it to him now that he has that quarterback of the defense in Devin White
“It’s important, but you really want a quarterback on every level of the defense. Upfront, in the middle and in the back, and have one in the middle, not that Lavonte wasn’t, because he is and he’s a heck of a player. So we got two in the middle right now, and that makes me comfortable.”

On how much of the improvement this year depends on elevating the current players on the roster
“We got a lot of guys returning, they can play football as well, obviously they can play as well. We’re going to mix in the new guys witht the other guys, we’re going to have more guys returning than we do coming in. They’re good football players, but it’s all about coming together for us on defense and communication. If they can communicate and they understand where each other is, I think they’ll be successful.”

On what he’s seen from the outside linebackers so far
“Not much. Again, it’s phase two, it’s more learning than it is physicality and everything else. They’re into it, they’re heady, and I look forward to working with them.”
On if it’s beneficial to see how the players were used last year and how they move
“Yeah, you always watch the tape. Obviously you watch the tape to see what kind of player they were, you watch the tape from a scheme standpoint. And Football is football, a lot of these guys can play football, and we just look forward to getting them on the field.”

On if Vita Vea is more of a nose tackle in the 3-4, or does he like the fact that he can play in a three-technique, and if he’s better suited for there
“Well he can play across the line. Right now, until we get in pads and I can really see it, that’s yet to be determined.”

Bucs DT Vita Vea
Bucs DT Vita Vea – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

On if how if he can already how a couple of the new free agent additions will fit in
“Well I like all the guys we got. With Bucannon and Barrett, I’m not going to discuss scheme right now because we don’t have all the pieces in place. They’ll lineup and compete, and if they don’t start, we’ll have some packages where they fit in in certain games and try to do certain things with, but you like the guys that we brought in.”

On what’s impressed him about this group so far after working with them
“Just attention to detail. These guys are willing to learn when they come in, they’re putting their egos aside. That’s the first mark of trying to have a good football team, putting your egos aside and learning attention to detail.”

On if he’s talked to Gerald McCoy
“No I haven’t talked to him. Right now he’s on our team and everything else will be decided by Jason and Bruce.”

On if he’s talked to Gerald McCoy since he’s came on this staff
“I’ve talked to him since I came on, but that was a while ago.”

On if Gerald McCoy has a playbook, if Bowles knows if he’s been studying or watching film
“It’s voluntary, for the people that are here, we coach. For the people that aren’t here, we wait until they get here.”

On if he would like to see Gerald McCoy back
“That decision’s above my pay grade.”

On what if he’s seen on tape from undrafted free agent Kahzin Daniels
“He’s a good football player. Obviously he’s aggressive up front, he can rush the passer, and we look forward to getting him in and seeing what he can do.”

On what he makes of his ability to overcome his disability
“That’s a credit to him and how he was brought up and his perseverance and whoever mentored him. It can’t be nothing but a plus to help him in life, in football and in life.”

On when did they find about him being blind in his right eye, because he kept that from a lot of teams and his own teammates at school
“I didn’t find out really until a couple days before the draft. Like you said, he kept it a secret.”

On how much does position play a role for rushing the passer
“It plays a great deal but he’s made it this far so far. So, we’ll see once we get him in here.”

On the talent disparity on this team with the amount the defense struggled last year, and how much is coaching going to be the biggest thing versus personnel
“It goes hand in hand. I tell my rookies, I tell them all that every year some rookies go to the Super Bowl. Only one of these 32 teams, somebody’s going to win the Super Bowl, so that doesn’t matter how old you are, how young you are, it’s a combination of culture and talent. It goes hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other so we’re going to coach these guys the best we can and we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to play tough.”

On if he’s seen any subtle differences from Bruce Arians after coaching with him for years
“No, he’s the same.”

Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians - Photo by: Getty Images
Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

On if it’s unique sports, the relationship between head coach and quarterback
“I think on any team it’s unique because the head coach, who is an offensive coordinator, obviously Byron’s going to call the plays and run the show, but it’s always unique when you have a coach-quarterback combination to see. To have the quarterback see the game the way the head coach sees it is a whole different deal than just running plays. How Byron sees it and how Bruce sees it, I think to get Jameis to do that, I think it will be a whole new light for him and a whole new light for everybody else, so I think that relationship is important for everybody.”

On what he’s seen from Lori Locust since she joined the coaching staff
“She’s tough. She’s a grinder, she works hard, she does everything the right way. The guys respond to her a great deal, she knows what she’s doing and she can’t wait to get started. She’s just itching to get the pads on.”

On how much more hands on he’ll get to be with this unit then he was able to be as head coach with more responsibility
“Obviously I have a lot more time. It’s just defense right now and defense is what I eat, breathe and sleep when I wake up and come in here. So, it’ll be maybe two times as more than I had as I had with head coaching duties.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Very excited to see how the coaching staff can tap into the talent on defense and form them into a cohesive unit that communicates (especially on the back end).

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  2. I like Bowles attitude; straight to the point.
    Now someone tell me why the GM is still here?

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  3. @Horse
    If Licht was a part of the reason BA grabbed the clipboard and whistle for the Bucs, why disturb that when Jason has time left on his current contract? It is quite apparent that everyone in that building truly believes talent was not the issue. Jason gets one more year to show that he is the captain of this ship and can true it’s course. Let it go…. Until next offseason, that is.

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  4. I like the way Bowles answers the questions. A little more reasonable than others who just call everybody “great player” or “Superstar” before first real practice. On the other hand he says, hey I do not know my new players yet, so we just drafted some fast kids because its always cool when you can run fast..
    Well, let’s hope the best

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  5. I like Bowels he doesn’t BS and straight to the point. He eats sleeps defense. That’s great.

    I think when we are talking NFL or any professional sport, when a team is not doing well it can never be just the talent or the coaching. Everyone has exceptional talent or they wouldn’t be there. It’s just a question how much the ratio is. Was it 60/40 70/30 who knows. I think with defense coaching was issue more than talent. Maybe 70/30 coaching over talent.

    On offense it was 50/50 Koetter made mistakes and was predictable but we also had glaring talent issues with o line. RB needed more as well but o line was main issue. Jameis needs to be more consistent as well, but I think he was much better down the stretch last year the last 6 or 7 games.

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  6. Good coach
    Would like to see him with a talented roster

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  7. It’ll be interesting to see this defense in action. That’s a lot of DB’s and LB’s subbing and flying around.

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  8. GreyBalls, if talent wasn’t the problem why did they draft players they claimed with a lot of speed?

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  9. @Horse If you’re asking, specifically, the three DBs chosen successively, Arians, Bowles and Licht have each said, more than once, that the secondary was an area they needed to address. But, my comment was in response to a different subject. You’re question was asking why the GM is still here, I answered that.

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  10. I think some of you guys are missing the point. They were looking for speed because that’s probably what Bowles style of defense is based upon. Not really knowing what they have right now on the roster for his defense, it only makes sense to draft for speed knowing you will at least have some players at key positions with what you need. That’s what it appears to me.

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