His stock swelling in value, Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles reportedly is set to interview with two NFC Central teams later this week regarding their head coaching vacancies.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday morning that Bowles, whose unit shut out the Eagles for three quarters Sunday, will interview with the Vikings on Friday and the Bears the following day. The Bears last week also were said to be interested in Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
Bowles, 58, who went 24-40 in four seasons as Jets head coach (2014-2018), had a virtual interview for the Jaguars vacancy earlier this month. Garafolo also reported the Raiders may have interest in Bowles as well, though Rich Bisaccia technically remains the team’s interim coach.
Coach Bruce Arians, who has openly welcomed the head-coaching opportunities afforded both Bowles and Leftwich, recently said he doesn’t believe the interviews will hinder their game preparation. Tampa Bay hosts the Rams in an NFC division playoff game Sunday at 3 p.m.
“Those guys are pros and they both took different times during the day where there is down time for them,” Arians said of the pair’s recent separate interviews with Jacksonville. “I have all the confidence that it’s not a distraction whatsoever and I’m pulling for both of them.”
Bowles’ unit, gradually returning to full strength, held the Eagles to 95 rushing yards — more than 60 below their NFL-best regular-season average — in Sunday’s 31-15 romp. The Bucs ended the regular season ranked third in rushing defense (92.5 yards per game) and tied for fifth in scoring (20.8 ppg). Their 47 sacks were seventh-most in the league.
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