Bruce Arians is moving fast on his way to Tampa Bay. And Cardinals fans will recognize much of the Buccaneers’ new coaching staff.
Todd Bowles will join Arians in Tampa and serve as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Byron Leftwich and Harold Goodwin have pledged to follow Arians to south Florida as well.
Leftwich will serve as Tampa Bay’s passing-game coordinator, and Goodwin will come aboard as the run-game overseer, Breer notes. Like Bowles, both worked under Arians in Arizona. Leftwich received his full-time coaching start under Arians and moved up to Cardinals OC under Steve Wilks. The Cardinals, following a season that ended with No. 32 rankings in points and yards, fired him at season’s end, however, paving a path to Tampa.
Bowles met with Washington about an unspecified role Tuesday, but he will rejoin Arians. The former NFL defensive back-turned-Jets HC made his best case for that New York job by leading the Cardinals’ defense in 2013-14. They were a top-seven unit in each season, helping the Cards to back-to-back 10-win campaigns. Matters did not go too well for Bowles in New York (with a less talented roster), but he will be tasked with repairing a Bucs defense that has been among the league’s worst in recent years.
Tampa Bay has ranked in the bottom fourth of the NFL in total defense in each of the past four years, its low point coming with a last-place finish in 2017. It will be interesting to see if Bowles implements the 3-4 scheme he used in Arizona and New York. The Bucs have used a 4-3 base set for years. Though, these changes are less significant than they were in years past, with teams in sub sets more often than base looks.
Goodwin did not coach in 2018. He served as the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator during Arians’ five-year tenure, though Arians was the point man running that attack. The Cards in that time coaxed an All-Pro emergence from Division I-FCS-produced third-rounder David Johnson. He will take over a Bucs rushing attack that lagged behind its explosive pass offense in 2018.
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