Hindsight doesn’t change criticized Buccaneers decision

Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers deciding to hire Todd Bowles to be their head coach is drawing some criticism today, but that doesn’t mean it was wrong in the moment.

During a time when Todd Bowles is rightfully drawing a lot of criticism as the head coach of a disappointing Buccaneers team, a failed thread among some arguments is that this was a bad decision for the Bucs from the start.

While the general premise that hiring Bowles overall proved to be a bad head coach is true, the idea that Bowles didn’t deserve the job in the first place is wrong.

One bad season as the head of a team that has failed in such dramatic ways has made a lot of people forget just how much Bowles did for the Bucs from his arrival.

The change from 2018 before Bowles arrived to the team that he helped build is dramatic.

2018 Defense (Pre Todd Bowles): 72.5 completion%, 7.8 yards per passing attempt, 4,151 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions, 4.6 yards per rushing attempt, 1,983 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns

2019 Defense (Year 1): 61.4 completion%, 6.5 yards per passing attempt, 4,322 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 3.3 yards per carry, 1,181 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns

2020 Defense (Year 2): 69 completion%, 6.4 yards per passing attempt, 3,945 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 3.6 yards per carry, 1,289 rushing yards, ten rushing touchdowns

2021 Defense (Year 3): 65.4 completion%, 6 yards per passing attempt, 4,062 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 4.3 yards per carry, 1,573 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns

This might look like a lot of numbers, but there is a pervasive theme: this defense became outstanding under Todd Bowles.

From one of the best rushing defenses in the league to a passing offense that was able to create turnovers at an impressive rate, there is plenty on this resume to see why Bowles was applauded as a coordinator and made sense as a head coach. The growth is clear across the board.

Bruce Arians retiring when he did was unprecedented. Any team in that situation would scramble to find a successor to keep the franchise in a position to compete and look in-house first. Todd Bowles fit the bill in every way. A failed stint with the Jets wasn’t enough to end his head coaching career. Tampa had one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL on their staff and a major hole to fill.

The decision made too much sense, even if it might not seem like the best decision now. The numbers speak for themselves. Todd Bowles is a great defensive coordinator. How he is as a head coach is still up for debate.

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