Bowles emphasizes communication, chemistry, and continuity as keys to Bucs defensive success in 2020


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles is entering his second season with Tampa Bay.

His first year was highlighted by having the number one rush defense in the league (73.8 yards per game) and having the fifth-most takeaways in the NFL (28). Causing even more turnovers this season is one of their top goals.

“It’s a priority every year,” Bowles said. “The biggest thing you can do is give the ball back to the offense and give them an extra possession. It’s one of the things we work on every week and we’ll continue to do that.”

As good as those numbers were though, they were overshadowed by a league-worst 41 giveaways by their offense, which put their turnover differential at -13. They also had the third-worst pass defense in the league, giving up 270.1 yards per game through the air.

That being said, Bowles knows there’s room for improvement in those areas in particular. Luckily for the Buccaneers, they are returning the majority of their key defensive pieces and that familiarity with each other will only work to their advantage.

“With the kind of year we’re having right now I think it’s very important to have chemistry and continuity,” Bowles said. “Obviously we’ve got to continue to communicate and get back together on the field and not do everything by Zoom or virtually and those type of aspects but to have everybody back from the same defense that ended last year is important from a communication and continuity standpoint.”

In a Zoom call last week, Bucs linebacker Devin White said the toughest thing about being away from the facility during this pandemic has been not hitting the field after learning a new play or scheme.

For White, he said he likes to be able to run-through and install immediately after seeing it in the playbook. Bowles acknowledged this hurdle for all the teams right now and said that is a main reason being able to verbally convey information and get through to his players is even more critical right now.

“This off-season the communication’s got to be there,” Bowles said. “It’s a different way of teaching but it’s a good challenge for coaches. The better you know your players, the more you can take advantage of the situation. We’ve just got to do our due diligence as coaches to make sure we’re not just talking to them but teaching them and making sure they can talk back to us and making sure they have a clear understanding, going over the drills we need to do, techniques we need to play and the defenses we need to run as far as them communicating with each other.”


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