Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles looks on before a game against the Dallas Cowboysn at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs shake-up: Todd Bowles replaces Bruce Arians as head coach

Just over a year after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a Super Bowl championship, the team announced a major leadership shake-up on Wednesday.

Bruce Arians retired as head coach to move into a front office job, with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles getting promoted to head coach. Arians’ new title is senior football consultant.

According to the Buccaneers’ website, Arians told the team’s players and coaches of his decision. The 69-year-old then released a statement that read in part, “I love football. I love the relationships, the strategy, the competition–everything. It has been one hell of a ride, but I know this is the right time for me to make this transition.

“So why now?

“The simple answer is that I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed I could during this incredible coaching journey. Winning Super Bowl LV at our home stadium, with my mom and family in attendance, was really the last item I wanted to check off my career bucket list. For me, this is about more than just trying to add more wins to my coaching record.”

Arians added, “I really began thinking about my personal transition plan earlier this offseason. I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed. So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn’t want that for Todd. (Quarterback Tom Brady’s) decision to come back, along with Jason (Licht, the general manager) and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, confirmed for me that it was the right time to pass the torch to Todd.”

Bowles, 58, had a largely unsuccessful four-year stint as the New York Jets’ head coach, never making the playoffs. He led the team to a 10-6 mark in 2015, his first season, then never won more than five games in the following three seasons. Bowles spent the past three years as Arians’ defensive coordinator.

Arians first took charge of an NFL team in 2012, when he guided the Indianapolis Colts to a 9-3 record while filling in for head coach Chuck Pagano, who was battling leukemia. The next year, Arians took over as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, and he led them to a 49-30-1 record and two playoff appearances in five seasons.

In his three seasons as the Buccaneers’ head coach, Arians produced a 31-18 record. Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl after the 2020 season, then was eliminated by the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC divisional playoffs after last season.

Buccaneers owner Joel Glazer said in a statement, in part, “When Bruce arrived in Tampa Bay three years ago, he spoke about establishing a winning culture and adding another Super Bowl championship for our community. He delivered on both of those promises, and our family is deeply appreciative for all that he has accomplished during his time as our head coach.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on the sidelines in the second half against the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jaguars to interview Kellen Moore, Todd Bowles

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to conduct a virtual interview with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore late next week, NFL Network reported Sunday.

Also expected to take part in a virtual interview is Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, per the report.

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson interviewed for the job on Thursday.

Also Sunday, CBS Sports reported that Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is urging owner Shad Khan to bring in Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien for an interview.

The Jaguars are seeking a replacement for Urban Meyer, who was fired on Dec. 16 due to a disappointing season on the field and a series of embarrassing incidents off of it.

Bowles and O’Brien have NFL head-coaching experience.

Bowles, 58, led the New York Jets from 2015-18, ending his tenure with a 24-40 record and no playoff appearances.

O’Brien, 52, was 52-48 in six-plus seasons (2014-20) with the Houston Texans, fired in 2020 after an 0-4 start. The Texans made the playoffs four times under O’Brien, posting a 2-4 record.

Pederson, 53, reached the playoffs three times in five seasons with the Eagles and posted a 42-37-1 overall record before being fired on Jan. 11, 2021. He led the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII championship.

Moore, 33, became the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach in 2018 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019. This season, the Cowboys have the NFL’s top offense, averaging 409.5 yards and 30.5 points per game entering Week 17.

Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Jaguars interim coach Darrell Bevell reportedly also are under consideration.

Jacksonville (2-13) brings a seven-game losing streak into Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots (9-6).

–Field Level Media

Jul 26, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles during training camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers brace for Chiefs’ third-down attack

Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles draws the task of slowing down the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, a mission that starts with Tampa Bay rattling Patrick Mahomes.

The Buccaneers are looking for a better showing than Week 12, when Mahomes lit up Tampa for 462 passing yards and Tyreek Hill posted 269 receiving yards and three touchdown catches.

“They play fast, but they understand football. They’re not just a track team out there,” Bowles said Monday via Zoom teleconference as Super Bowl media availability began. “They can beat you vertically or horizontally. They can keep you off-balance a lot.”

Hill became the third player since 1980 with 200 yards receiving in a single quarter — the first quarter — to set the tone for the Chiefs.

Part of the challenge for Tampa is finding solutions on third downs, where Kansas City seems to be unaffected by what might appear dire to a typical offense. In the playoffs, the Chiefs have converted 55 percent (11 of 20) of third downs to a new set of downs. The Chiefs converted 49 percent (95 of 194) in the regular season on third down.

“Look very comfortable for them, they convert a lot of them,” Bowles said. “Whether Pat does it with his arm or his legs. They’ve got a slew of weapons.”

Bowles said the previous game against Mahomes was a good learning tool for the Buccaneers’ young secondary.

The group opted to meet before sunrise four days a week to focus on self-scouting and erase mistakes before the team gathers together.

The Buccaneers want to know where tight end Travis Kelce is on third down. Of his 105 receptions in the regular season, 79 went for first downs.

Kelce had 13 receptions against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. He ranks second among tight ends in postseason receptions (73), receiving yards (859) and touchdown receptions (nine), behind only Rob Gronkowski (83 receptions for 1,206 yards and 12 touchdowns).

“You know he can run and catch, but he’s such a smart football player,” Bowles said. “He plays with a high motor, understands the game and has a great rapport with the quarterback. … You marvel at watching him play. Somehow he finds a way to get open.”

–Field Level Media