TAMPA — To triumph at the press conference, he first had to admit defeat. In this sense, Todd Bowles has succeeded, with frankness and conciseness.
“I ruined everything,” the new Bucs head coach said Thursday.
Know this about 58-year-old Todd Robert Bowles: While different in many ways from his predecessor Bruce Arians, the two share the blunt gene. It’s a trait generally appreciated by a fanbase, a refreshing alternative to repeated rhetoric.
That’s why the married father of three boys likely earned points on his first day on the job by happily acknowledging the Bucs’ last defensive play of the 2021 season in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Instead of dancing or ducking the question of why he called for a Cover-Zero, an all-out blitz from Matthew Stafford — which earned the Rams quarterback the offensive player of the year award. NFL, Cooper Kupp, isolated on the field for a 44-yard completion – this former NFL safety tackled first with the helmet.
“We were trying to win,” said Bowles, whose strategy saw Matt Gay throw a 30-yard field goal as time expired to lead Los Angeles to a 30-27 triumph.
“I’ll never apologize for trying to win. If I didn’t call the zone and (Stafford) made the play, you’ll say I should have blitzed.” We blitz all the time , how come we don’t have a blitz?” It’s part of football, it’s coaching. You have to learn to make peace and live with it.
In a way, Bowles’ introduction as the franchise’s 13th head coach — and its fourth black head coach — simply perpetuated the most surreal offseason in team history. Less than 24 hours ago, he had remained the convenient scapegoat for one of the most excruciating losses this town had ever seen.
On Thursday, he was still processing the fact that he got a rare second act as NFL head coach, with a five-year contract to boot.
“A lot of people had to agree for this to happen. It’s not a one-man show,” Bowles said of the succession plan for the Arians to pass the torch to the New Jersey native. he’s known since 1983, when the Arians first coached him at Temple.
“I feel very humbled, I feel very honoured, I feel very excited. I’m ready to go and we’ll try to move this thing forward.
If nothing else, Bowles will go his own way.
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Unlike the Arians, who made “Win or lose, we drink” a half-serious mantra on his watch, Bowles doesn’t drink or smoke cigars. And while Arians’ training reprimands were laced with profanity, Bowles is more likely to point out players’ shortcomings with dry sarcasm.
“I think if I tried to put on a kangol hat and came here and grew my goatee (both Arians brands), you’d look at me like I was crazy,” Bowles said. “‘Look at this clown, he’s a mini-Bruce.’ I can’t do this, and I won’t. I’m not going to try.
Likewise, Arians didn’t orchestrate this succession plan — which Bowles didn’t learn about until Monday — to replace himself with a clone. Rather, he knew Bowles’ unique style, combined with his football intuition and the lessons he learned during his first head coaching stint with the Jets from 2015 to 2018 (when he went 24-40 ), gave him every chance of succeeding. .
The Bucs’ offseason developments, namely the non-retirement of Tom Brady and the subsequent re-signing of several key free agents, enhanced those odds.
“He’s probably the smartest guy I’ve ever coached,” Arians said. “And I think him as a player-manager, (offensive coordinator) Byron (Leftwich) as a player-manager, they just had this. You knew they had it.
By all accounts, this “it” factor is endearing.
“He’s a phenomenal person, a great family man, talking about his family all the time,” said general manager Jason Licht.
“He’s a mentor to a lot of people in this building. Not just the players, but the other coaches, the staff members. You often find people in his office just offering advice on how to be a better person.
Because he now has to answer for the Bucs’ offense and watch it in practice, Bowles said defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers and outside linebackers coach Larry Foote will serve as co-coordinators, although which Bowles will always call things Sunday.
And while he won’t disrupt the dynamic encouraged by Leftwich and Tom Brady, he will step in wherever he pleases, thank you very much.
“I’m the head coach,” Bowles said. “I can do whatever I want.”
The blunt gene at work.
“My path is not rocket science. It’s like every other coach: you train hard, you understand the players, you try to put them in the best position to play football,” he added.
“So I’m not trying to change the program, but you’re trying to say you have to be yourself. You’re trying to imitate someone else, it’s not going well.
Contact Joey Knight at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls
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