Todd Bowles

Latest On Buccaneers’ Staff Changes, Free Agency Plans

The Buccaneers are on the lookout for a new offensive coordinator, with Byron Leftwich being the highest-profile coach the team moved on from amid a spree of dismissals and retirements last week. Both Todd Bowles and Tom Brady voiced concerns about Leftwich last season.

Bowles and Brady complained about the offense’s predictability, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud, who adds the team’s lack of commitment to the run game was one of the issues. Bowles believed teams had caught onto Leftwich’s offense, which tumbled off its elite perch of previous years, and Brady problems with the offense emerged back in December.

Tampa Bay finished 25th in scoring, and although it ranked 15th in total offense, a last-place ground attack dragged down the latter number. The Bucs ranked 32nd across the board on the ground, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and totaling just five rushing touchdowns. The Bucs went from 61 TDs in 2021 to 31 this season. Leonard Fournette‘s three-year, $21MM deal produced just 668 rushing yards (3.5 per tote) in 16 games. Much of these woes can be attributed to the changes to Tampa Bay’s interior offensive line, which lost all three of its previous starters — Ryan Jensen (injury), Ali Marpet (retirement), Alex Cappa (free agency) — to lead to lesser replacements creating problems for Brady and the run game. Brady showing signs of decline did not help matters for Leftwich, either.

But Leftwich and other Bruce Arians-hired staffers took the fall. Arians is not pleased with what happened last week, Stroud said during a WDAE Radio interview (via JoeBucsFan.com). The three-year Bucs HC, who gave the keys to Bowles in a surprising move last March, is “disappointed” and “hurt” his successor canned several of his staffers. Those assistants, some of whom having additional years on their contracts, had been told they would be there as long as Bowles was, per Stroud. Of course, NFL teams’ plans change rapidly. And an 8-9 season was not exactly where the Bucs thought they would be given their performances in 2020 and ’21. Bowles figures to enter the 2023 season on the hot seat. Arians spent the season as a senior advisor to Jason Licht, though he admitted late in the season he missed coaching.

As Bowles gathered his staff for a postmortem Thursday morning — prior to informing Leftwich and Co. they were being fired — he mentioned the team would have a difficult time signing free agents, per Stroud. The Bucs are nearly in Saints territory in terms of cap space, ranking ahead of only their restructure-happy rivals around the league. As of Wednesday, Tampa Bay sits $54MM-plus over the projected 2023 cap. The Bucs have been active in free agency over the past two years, mostly via re-signings. But the team had brought back a number of its top free agents — from Jensen to Carlton Davis in 2022 to Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David and Rob Gronkowski in 2021 — during Brady’s stay.

Following that meeting, Bowles called select assistants into his office to inform them of the dismissals. Despite the persistent run-game struggles, Bowles kept Arians hires Harold Goodwin (run-game coordinator) and Joe Gilbert (O-line coach). The team had discussions with Bill O’Brien as a Leftwich contingency plan last year, in the event the latter landed the Jacksonville HC job. O’Brien was Brady’s OC (or de facto OC, as the Patriots sometimes do not do coordinator titles) for three seasons, but he is now back with the Pats.

The Bucs have begun their OC search, with a few candidates surfacing Tuesday. While Leftwich’s ouster may influence Brady in free agency, the early word coming out of Tampa is the 45-year-old superstar will explore other options if he is to play a 24th season.

Buccaneers Expected To Retain HC Todd Bowles

The Buccaneers are preparing for their wild-card matchup on Monday night, but the weekend has already produced a significant (if unsurprising) development for the team. Tampa Bay is expected to retain head coach Todd Bowles in 2023 barring an “unforeseen change of heart,” reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Stroud notes that the outcome of the Bucs’ upcoming contest against the Cowboys will not affect the front office’s view of Bowles, who guided the team to an up-and-down performance throughout the season and was reported in December to be likely to be retained. Tampa ended up with an 8-9 record, which was still good enough to win the NFC South and set the team up with a home playoff game.

The 59-year-old took over as head coach from his defensive coordinator role in the wake of Bruce Arians‘ retirement. However, Bowles retained play-calling duties on that side of the ball during the campaign, assigning the title of co-DCs to Kacy Rodgers and Larry Foote. Stroud notes that it remains Bowles’ intention to remove himself from the role of play-caller down the road, which would likely lead to one of Rodgers or Foote taking on those responsibilities.

Bowles inherited plenty of expectations given the Bucs’ success under Arians and with Tom Brady under center. However, the team never managed a winning streak longer than two games during the season, struggling to find consistency on offense in particular. Set back considerably by injuries up front, Tampa ranked just 25th in the league in scoring with an average of 18.4 points per game. That has fueled speculation regarding Brady’s future with either Tampa Bay or a number of other interested clubs, and led to calls for offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to be replaced.

On defense, Bowles led his unit to a better statistical performance. Tampa Bay surrendered the ninth-fewest yards per game in the league, and tied for 13th in scoring defense (allowing 21.1 points per contest). Still, the Buccaneers found themselves involved in several high-scoring affairs in 2022, along with more than one lopsided defeat, illustrating their inability to consistently produce on both sides of the ball on any given day.

Tampa Bay heads into Monday’s game as slight underdogs, and their hot-and-cold season leaves plenty of room for doubt regarding their ability to pull off the upset. Even if the team’s season comes to an end at that point, however, they will have continuity on the sidelines heading into next year.

Bruce Arians Discusses Coaching Future

Bruce Arians moved from the sideline to the front office this past offseason, with the 70-year-old now serving as the Buccaneers’ senior advisor to general manager Jason Licht. While Arians sounds appreciative of his current gig, he recently made it clear that he’d jump at the opportunity to return to coaching.

“Would I love to be coaching? Yeah,” Arians told Rick Stroud of TampaBay.com. “It’s what you do. It kills me to go upstairs. I’m on the sideline in pregame and it kills me to have to go upstairs and just sit there. It kills me. It’s hard. It’s what I do. I’ve done it my whole life. I’m smart enough to know it’s over.

“It’s not the same. That daily interaction with the players and the coaches, the relationship I’m in. I sat and talked to Mike (Evans) and Vita (Vea) for an hour. The new guys are told, ‘That’s the old coach. You don’t want him cussing you out.’ I just (cussed out) a couple of them for the hell of it.”

Arians’ tenure in Tampa Bay spanned three years, including a 31-18 record and the franchise’s second Super Bowl title. He seemed prepared for a fourth season at the helm but plans changed with the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady‘s future. Working under the impression that his franchise QB was going to hang up his cleats, Arians weighed the possibility of an unproven QB room against his desire to see defensive coordinator Todd Bowles succeed him.

By ultimately stepping aside, Arians allowed the organization to retain both Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, with the now-former head coach continually asserting that he wanted to set up the Buccaneers organization with a solid succession plan. Still, despite Arians willingly giving up his gig, it sounds like he would have stuck around had he had more clarity on Tampa Bay’s outlook for the 2022-23 season.

Bucs HC Todd Bowles Considered Benching LT Donovan Smith

The Buccaneers’ O-line, which has seen a great deal of upheaval since February, almost got another shakeup. Per ESPN’s Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles recently considered benching left tackle Donovan Smith, though for the time being, Smith will retain his starting job (Twitter link).

Smith, who missed two games earlier this season with a hyperextended elbow, has been charged with six penalties in the last three games, and his 11 total penalties this season is the most in the league. That, along with generally underwhelming performance — Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics rank Smith 65th out of 77 qualifying tackles — is what prompted Bowles to consider the demotion.

Longtime left guard Ali Marpet surprisingly announced his retirement in February, and his would-be replacement, Aaron Stinnie, tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in a preseason game and was promptly ruled out for the remainder of the year. Center Ryan Jensen has missed the entire season due to a knee injury of his own, and while trade acquisition Shaq Mason has stayed healthy and has performed well at right guard in place of free agent defection Alex Cappa, right tackle Tristan Wirfs is dealing with a high ankle sprain that has kept him out of the last two contests and could sideline him for longer.

Quarterback Tom Brady‘s quick trigger in 2022 and his poor 6.2 yards-per-attempt rate may be a function of his lack of confidence in his line, which is also having a hard time opening holes for the team’s running backs (Tampa Bay’s RBs are averaging 3.3 yards per carry, the worst rate in the league). PFF actually gives Smith a solid 68.8 score in pass protection but an awful 39.4 grade as a run blocker, the worst mark among his OT peers.

Unfortunately for Bowles, he doesn’t have any options that would be obvious upgrades. Brandon Walton and Josh Wells filled in for Smith during the latter’s early-season absence, but Walton is a 2020 UDFA who finally earned his first regular season snaps this year, and Wells is a swingman who is needed at RT while Wirfs is unable to play.

Smith, 29, has been Tampa Bay’s starting left tackle since entering the league as a second-round draft choice in 2015, and while he has never earned a Pro Bowl nod, his durability and average-to-above-average play at a premium position have allowed him to land multiple contracts with the Bucs. His current deal runs through next year, and his 2023 salary of $15.3MM is a fair one for a left tackle with his level of experience and who is young enough to return to the form he displayed over the past several seasons.

On the other hand, the Bucs will be saddled with a ~$35MM dead cap charge next season if Brady departs, which is the expected outcome. A Smith release would create a cap savings of ~$10MM, and that reality, combined with his performance this year, suggest that his roster spot is not secure.

Buccaneers’ Todd Bowles, Saints’ Dennis Allen Likely To Return In 2023

Most of the one-and-done coaching noise has emerged from the AFC, with Nathaniel Hackett and Lovie Smith potentially up against it to keep their jobs. Prior to last season (Urban Meyer, David Culley), no NFL campaign had seen two one-and-done head coaches since 2007. While Hackett and Smith could make it back-to-back years with multiple NFL one-and-dones, the NFC’s set of first-year HCs appears safe.

Both the Buccaneers and Saints have not lived up to expectations, particularly in Tampa Bay’s case. But neither Todd Bowles nor Dennis Allen are believed to be on unsteady ground regarding a return in 2023, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes.

The circumstances behind Bowles’ promotion were strange at the time, with Bruce Arians well into his offseason routine. Days after Tom Brady agreed to unretire, Arians stepped away. Many connected the dots here and pointed to Brady effectively forcing Arians out, but the Super Bowl-winning HC indicated otherwise. Arians said Brady’s return allowed him to hand the reins to Bowles rather than give his longtime assistant a less stable team. The Bucs have been anything but stable this year, however.

Tampa Bay is 6-7 but needed final-minute drives to win its past two home games. The Bucs have slipped from second in scoring offense to 28th in their initial post-Arians season, and Brady’s QBR figure (51.0) would be the lowest of his career (QBR made its debut in Brady’s seventh season, however). Rumors of friction between Brady and OC Byron Leftwich have surfaced, and the likelihood of the all-time great coming back for a fourth Bucs season appears low right now.

Bowles, 59, failed in his first head-coaching opportunity, going 24-40 with the Jets. He rebuilt his stock during his three-year stay as the Bucs’ DC, and this year’s Bucs defense remains in the top 10 in both points and yards allowed. But his team has failed to gain solid playoff footing despite playing in one of the worst divisions in NFL history. Bowles’ second year — one that could feature major quarterback uncertainty — figures to bring more scrutiny.

The Saints did not make the playoffs last season, going 9-8, but they have also taken a step back under their retread coach. Like Bowles, Allen bombed in his first HC go-round. He went just 8-28 with the Raiders, who fired him during a winless start in 2014. Allen, 50, latched on with the Saints and helped their defense turn around in the late 2010s, leading to four consecutive Saints playoff appearances. Injuries have again limited the Saints this season, and while New Orleans’ statistical decline is not as stark as Tampa Bay’s, the team’s 4-9 record is its worst mark through 13 games since 2005 — its final pre-Sean Payton season.

Staff changes could be in play for both teams, Graziano adds, noting that Brady — should he agree to come back — would stand to have input on how Bowles constructs his staff. Brady being a free agent complicates that process. As for the Saints, they kept longtime OC Pete Carmichael on — after he was initially linked to a lower-profile role in the wake of Payton’s exit — while this is Leftwich’s fourth season calling plays for the Bucs. It will be interesting to gauge the fallout from these two disappointing seasons, even if Allen and Bowles are ticketed to return.

WR Notes: Packers, Brown, Agholor, Bucs

The Packers have had a more eventful offseason than nearly every other team in the league. One of the results of their moves is a decided lack of proven commodities at the receiver position, something which sparked quarterback Aaron Rodgers recent comments about the improvement which needs to be made amongst some of their new pass-catchers.

[RELATED: Packers Claim WR Fulgham]

“The young guys, especially young receivers, we’ve got to be way more consistent,” the reigning MVP said, via PFF’s Doug Kyed“A lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route. We’ve got to get better in that area.”

Per Kyed, Rodgers has stated they he wants Allen Lazard to operate as the “top option,” something which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given his NFL resume. Rodgers’ preference would be for Lazard to be joined as a starter by veterans Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb – a trio which would include, by far, the most experience available. However, rookies Romeo Doubs (who has seen first-team reps) and Christian Watson (whom the Packers traded up to select in the second round) could unseat Watkins and/or Cobb, leaving the team with more upside – but less certainty – at an important position as they look to contend for a Super Bowl.

Here are some more WR notes from around the league:

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked about the possibility of signing Antonio Brown yesterday. The former All-Pro hasn’t generated much interest since his colorful exit from the Buccaneers in the middle of a game last season, but would add experience to a banged-up Dallas receiver room. Instead, Jones replied “we want to give these young guys a real chance to make this team” (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic). A number of inexperienced wideouts are competing for depth spots behind the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, James Washington and Jalen Tolbert, and will be allowed to continue doing so for the remainder of the preseason.
  • Kyed tweets that one of the surprise omissions from the Patriots’ depth chart, according to some, could be Nelson AgholorHowever, he notes that cutting him would not be financially viable (doing so would incur a dead cap charge of $10MM), and adds that teams which could be interested in trading for him are not willing to do so at his current salary of $9MM. More to the point, the team’s new offense could allow the 29-year-old to enjoy a bounceback season from the underwhelming 37-473-3 statline he produced last year.
  • The Buccaneers are set at the top of their depth chart, but also have a number of intriguing wideouts competing for rotational roles. As a result, veterans like Scotty MillerCyril Grayson and Breshad Perriman could find themselves on the roster bubble. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes that a trio of UDFAs – Jerreth SternsDeven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger – have stood out in camp so far, to the point where head coach Todd Bowles said “those guys are making a case” for spots on the 53-man roster. Several noteworthy cuts will be made in Tampa by the end of August, but who will be among them remains very much up in the air.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

The NFL experienced a busy offseason on the coaching front. A whopping 10 teams changed coaches during the 2022 offseason, with the Buccaneers’ late-March switch pushing the number into double digits.

Fourteen of the league’s 32 head coaches were hired in the past two offseasons, illustrating the increased pressure the NFL’s sideline leaders face in today’s game. Two of the coaches replaced this year left on their own. Sean Payton vacated his spot in second on the longest-tenured HCs list by stepping down from his 16-year Saints post in February, while Bruce Arians has repeatedly insisted his Bucs exit was about giving his defensive coordinator a chance with a strong roster and not a Tom Brady post-retirement power play.

While Bill Belichick has been the league’s longest-tenured HC for many years, Payton’s exit moved Mike Tomlin up to No. 2. Mike Zimmer‘s firing after nine seasons moved Frank Reich into the top 10. Reich’s HC opportunity only came about because Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts in 2018, but Indianapolis’ backup plan has led the team to two playoff brackets and has signed an extension. Reich’s seat is hotter in 2022, however, after a January collapse. Linked to numerous HC jobs over the past several offseasons, McDaniels finally took another swing after his Broncos tenure ended quickly.

As 2022’s training camps approach, here are the NFL’s longest-tenured HCs:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2025
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018; extended through 2026
  11. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019; extended through 2027
  12. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  13. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  14. Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team): January 1, 2020
  15. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  16. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  17. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  18. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  19. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  20. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  21. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  22. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  23. Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos): January 27, 2022
  24. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  25. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  26. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  27. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  28. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  29. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  30. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  31. Lovie Smith (Houston Texans): February 7, 2022
  32. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022

Bruce Arians Discusses Coaches, New Role, TE Options

Bruce Arians has made it clear that his decision to step down as Buccaneers head coach wasn’t because of tension with his franchise quarterback. Rather, Arians has continually mentioned his desire for a clear succession plan when it came to the coaching staff, and he saw a golden opportunity to pass on the reigns to Todd Bowles.

“No it really wasn’t hard,” Arians said during a recent appearance on the “Eye Test For Two” podcast (h/t to JoeBucsFan.com). “[Winning a championship is] great, but succession was really, really big for me. It didn’t happen in Arizona. It meant the world to me to make sure 34 families had jobs beyond February. The Super Bowl wasn’t guaranteed, there’s nothing guaranteed, but now our guys have 5-year contracts. Todd’s got a 5-year deal and all the assistant coaches are set for the future.

“I was probably done anyway, so why not do it now? I know a lot of people think the Hall of Fame is the end-all, be-all and if it happens, that would be the most unbelievable thing to be able to wear a gold jacket. But this meant more to me personally.”

When Arians stepped away from his gig, it was assumed that the move was influenced by Tom Brady‘s decision to renege on his retirement and return for the 2022 campaign. Both sides have said that wasn’t the case, and Arians even said he would have reconsidered had he known Brady’s intentions before making his own decision. Passing on the job to Bowles seemed like a natural move, especially with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich still around to direct the offense.

With Arians no longer roaming the sideline, the long-time coach has transitioned into more of an advisory role. When Arians stepped down, his new role was described as “Senior Football Consultant.” The former coach indicated that he’ll still be interacting with both the coaches and the players, and he’ll naturally be able to take on a lesser role when it comes to game day:

“It’s a ‘What do you think?’ job,” Arians said. “Everybody asks me what do I think and they know they’re getting a brutally honest answer, whether it be [owner] Joel Glazer, [general manaher] Jason Licht, Todd Bowles or Byron Leftwich. It’s been fun going to practice, watching and learning some more, watching us change, looking at the new guys. Man, that draft class is going to be a home run. Looking forward to getting to camp.

“That’s the beauty of my job. I get to be in the locker room, get to be around the coaches every day and still have a big hand in the draft. The relationships were always the biggest thing for me. Building a new team, watching the new guys come in. Now, Sundays might be different sitting upstairs. I might be able to still holler loud enough to cuss out the refs from up there.”

Since he’ll no longer be responsible for devising a game plan, Arians will have more of an opportunity to contribute to team building. One of his more pressing issues will be figuring out how to proceed following tight end Rob Gronkowski‘s decision to retire. Fortunately, Arians doesn’t sound too worried about the team’s depth at the position.

“It’s a step back, that’s for sure,” Arians said. “[H]e’s a Hall of Fame player. But I really like the room right now. I love the young kids we’ve got in there and Cam Brate’s a good veteran player that Tom really trusts. Now, he’s not Gronk. That size and what he brings as a blocker and receiver I think is unmatched. You don’t replace that guy, but we also have Codey McElroy … I think it’s time for him to break out as a receiver.”

Bruce Arians’ Retirement Decision Was Long Contemplated, Dependent On Tom Brady

One of the biggest storylines of this offseason’s coaching cycle wasn’t one of the many outside hires made around the league, but the internal succession plan enacted in Tampa Bay. Bruce Arians recently shed more light on the thought process that went in to his retirement decision. 

“It was 90 percent that [this] year would be my last, anyway” he said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Arians will turn 70 midway through the 2022 campaign, meaning that his coaching career was likely nearing an end in the very near future. However, he publicly stated that he wouldn’t retire this offseason in the aftermath of the Bucs’ playoff loss to the Rams.

Arians’ tenure in Tampa Bay spanned three years. It included a 31-18 record, and the franchise’s second Super Bowl title. His remarks pointed to a fourth campaign at the helm, but things began to change as early as March, Stroud notes. Working under the impression that Tom Brady had retired, Arians weighed the possibility of an unproven QB room against his desire to see defensive coordinator Todd Bowles succeed him.

“I was going the other way. I was thinking [Brady] wasn’t going to play,” he said. “Had Tom not come back, I probably would still be coaching. I couldn’t give Todd that situation.” 

Instead, Brady un-retired, leaving Arians free to step aside as HC. Doing so allowed him to keep both Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich – whom Stroud reports Arians “expected ” to each receive outside head coaching jobs – in Tampa Bay, along with Brady. Arians said that the continued presence of that triumvirate made it “the perfect time” for him to retire.

Now, the two-time Coach of the Year is set to work in Tampa Bay under the title of senior advisor to the general manager, which should grant him a similar role to the one he desired, but was denied, in Arizona in 2018. “I’ll be here every day once the season starts,” he said. “But I won’t have to be here every night.”

It remains to be seen what Arians plans to do after the 2022 season, but for at least the immediate future, the transition plan he envisioned is in place.

Latest On Buccaneers’ Defensive Staff

During his first media availability since becoming the new head coach of the Buccaneers, Todd Bowles made a pair of notable, if unsurprising, announcements. Firstly, he will retain play-calling duties on the defensive side of the ball; secondly, defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers and outside linebackers coach Larry Foote will share the role of defensive coordinator (Twitter link via Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network). 

[RELATED: Bowles To Succeed Arians As Bucs’ HC]

Bowles had called Tampa Bay’s defense since his arrival as DC in 2019. The fact that he will carry on in that capacity as the head coach shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though it is rarer for defensive coaches to do so, compared to offensive ones. Seen through both traditional and advanced statistical lenses, the 58-year-old’s units have ranked amongst the best in the league during his tenure in Tampa.

For Rodgers, the promotion to co-DC will leave him in a familiar position with respect to Bowles. During the latter’s time as head coach of the Jets, Rodgers served as defensive coordinator. While their collective tenure there wasn’t nearly as successful as their time with the Buccaneers has been, that familiarity will go a long way to smoothing this transition. Rodgers followed Bowles to Tampa in 2019, having also coached the defensive line in Miami and Dallas.

Foote’s time working with the Buccaneers likewise dates back three years. With the 41-year-old on staff, the likes of Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul have enjoyed plenty of success. The former Steeler, Lion and Cardinal began his coaching career in Arizona in 2015; the co-DC title will be the highest he has held during his time on the sidelines.

While the teams’ defensive staff will take on a new look in 2022, Tampa Bay’s coaching unit is in line to feature a good deal of stability. If all goes according to plan, they should be well suited to continue their level of play on that side of the ball, and in doing so remain a Super Bowl contender.