TAMPA — Todd Bowles was bypassed for a head-coaching job last year despite leading an improving defense that beat quarterbacks Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes on the way to winning Super Bowl 55.
The former Jets head coach had interviews with the Eagles and Falcons and turned down another interview for a head-coaching job with the Lions following the 2020 season.
But the Bucs have rewarded Bowles by signing him to a new three-year contract, the Times confirmed.
The Bucs defensive coordinator had one year remaining on his original deal with the Bucs and his new pact runs through the 2023 season.
In Tampa Bay, Bowles has produced the No. 1 defense against the run for two straight seasons. In his first year with the Bucs, outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett led the NFL with 19.5 sacks. Last season, a young but improving secondary led by Sean Murphy-Bunting’s three interceptions in as many playoff games frustrated the league’s best quarterbacks.
“I think it starts with individual teaching,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “He can pick guys out that he knows is going to help him and what their deficiencies are as far as learning or whatever. How do they study film? Bring them in at 5:30 in the morning, or maybe two or three (players), and teach them how to watch film.
“His expertise in defense is outstanding. I mean, he knows everything. He’s done everything. The X’s and O‘s part is probably the easier part for him. It’s fitting all the pieces together on what can this guy do? What can that guy do? Where can I create mismatches? How can I get that guy on the easiest guy to beat on the offensive line? Breaking down protections. Things like that, and he does a fantastic job of it.”
It’s unlikely Bowles will be passed over again if the Bucs defense performs up to expectations. The new contract will allow him to pursue a head coaching job. But just in case, Tampa Bay has made sure he will keep coaching its defense.
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