Bucs HC Looking To Change Culture4 min read
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By: J.C. Allen
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles will get another year with the franchise after an 8-9 2022 season, but the team may look and feel a bit different next season. Bowles has already fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, along with several other assistants. The Bucs also have a staggering 23 free agents this offseason, while sitting $54 million over the cap. There are going to be some difficult decisions coming this offseason, and the players who are coming back will be coming back to a new culture in the building.
“Offseason is voluntary,” Bowles said. “But at the same time, it builds camaraderie, it builds chemistry and it builds culture… But to start the chemistry and the culture and the camaraderie early… I played eight years for the same team and coordinator. I took the same notes every year, every day until it became second nature. You have to treat it like that and when we get to that point – and we need to get to that point – that’s when you become a team again and that’s when you have some success going forward.
“It all starts in the offseason about taking care of their bodies and coming back in the right frame of mind. We know we won’t have everybody, we understand that and with all the draft picks, injuries, free agency and so forth. You can’t afford everybody, so we’ll try to make the right decisions going forward. I thanked everybody for their efforts and when you come back here, we’ll see a different culture, different chemistry and camaraderie.”
The Bucs head coach doubled down on his statement the next day when speaking to team reporter Casey Phillips on Bucs Total Access.
“Those who come back, we gotta create new culture, new chemistry and new camaraderie,” Bowles said. “We’ll have new people coming in, if you’re lucky enough to come back or privileged enough to come back, be ready to work.”
So, What Does Bowles Mean By Changing The Bucs’ Culture?
After all, for the last three years, we’ve heard about how Bruce Arians and then Tom Brady had changed the culture and perception of this Bucs team. It could be that Arians’ laid-back approach and the success the team had in 2020 led to some players not putting as much work in as expected or as much as Bowles thought they should.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Bowles disappointed in how hard the team has worked and bringing up past success as a potential reasoning behind it. After the Bucs’ Week 6 loss to the Steelers, Bowles opined that some of the players on the team might still be living off the Super Bowl.
“We didn’t take them lightly, number one,” Bowles said. “Number two, I think guys that are living off the Super Bowl are living in fantasy land. You’ve got to get your hands dirty and go to work like everybody else. We’ve been working hard, and we have to work harder. Nobody is going to give us anything or feel sorry [for us]. We have to go back as coaches, as players, and the time for talking is over. You’ve either got to put up or shut up.”
Bowles is an old-school, defensive-minded head coach, and he expects his team to “out-work and out-tough” the opponent and may have felt his team wasn’t performing up to his standards with preparation. With the Bucs getting so much national attention after winning the Super Bowl in 2020 and finishing tied for the best record in the NFL last season, many players on the team found themselves at the top of numerous rankings and showered with accolades. Perhaps that’s what Bowles meant by his statements about living in fantasy land.
“I didn’t say we were,” Bowles said about some on his team possibly living in a post-Super Bowl fantasy land. “I’m just saying when you get patted on the back so much, you’ve just got to re-live … every year and every week, you have to go out there and earn your pay and earn your keep. And if you don’t live like that, then there is going to be a result like today.”
Bowles will have a new coaching staff in place for the Bucs’ 2023 season. And there will undoubtedly be plenty of turnover on the roster, which will give the second-year head coach a new roster to instill the culture he’s looking to build.
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Originally posted on Pewter Report