In yet another fantastic edition of the Pewter Plank Mailbag, Rob from Facebook asks this:
They always talk about who will have a big year, but who do you think does bad this season?
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The good news is, it took me a while to come up with a candidate to write about when answering this question. The reason for that is that most players on the Buccaneers either have yet to prove themselves over an extended period of time, or they are established players in whom we trust.
The player I decided to go with to answer the question may not actually disappoint, as much as, he likely won’t live up to the lofty expectations many are picking for him. That player is Da’Quan Bowers.
This will be the first season since Bowers’ junior year in college that he’ll enter the season truly healthy (knock on wood). Due to this, and the emergence of Gerald McCoy as a beast along the defensive line, experts everywhere are selecting Bowers to have a breakout season and fill up the stat sheet.
I like Bowers, and I’m thrilled that he’s a Buccaneer, but his lack of experience is what led me to select him as the most likely to disappoint. Bowers has played in only 26 games and was considered a starter in only a fraction of them.
The expectation that Bowers will push the double digit sack plateau is a bit too much to ask for him. He’s still learning and he still needs to adapt to the different blocking styles employed by NFL offensive lines. In college, Bowers was simply faster than most guys trying to block him, and the game came easy to him. Well, that’s not the case in the NFL, which is not really a knock on Bowers.
It takes time to learn how to become a good pass rusher in the league, and only the most elite talents grasp it quickly. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bowers came out and had a monster season riding Gerald McCoy’s gigantic coattails. But, he’s likely to come in well below where many feel as though he may end up, and he’s the most likely candidate to disappoint in 2013.