Could Bowles join the one-and-done club?

by Gary Shelton on October 31, 2022

in general

Bowles team isn't playing well./TIM WIRT

Monday, 4 a.m.

His team is uninspired. They have been knocked out of first place in the woeful NFC South. Almost every player on the roster is less than they were a year ago.

So do you blame coach Todd Bowles?

Better question: Will the Glazers?

The Bucs are falling like a rock in a river. They cannot stop anyone. They rarely score. Fans are angry people, granted, but ask yourself this: Do the Bucs look like a well-coached team to you?

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And if you think they are not, how much time do you give a man to change your mind?

No, I'm not calling for Bowles head, which makes me something of a minority in Tampa Bay, it seems. The team does not tackle. It commits penalties. It looks slow. It runs when the other team's secondary is on crutches. It goes backward on third-and-short.

Again, is this Bowles' fault? (was answer: yes. It's everyone's fault. The head coach doesn't get a pass).

Granted, their history says that the Glazers are not in a rush to change head coaches. Tony Dungy lost eight of his first nine games, and he held on long enough to make the Bucs a playoff team.

Raheem Morris won three games his first season, and he wasn't fired. Greg Schiano was obviously out of his element from the first, and he got two years. Lovie Smith won two games his first season, amd he kept his job.

The difference, of course, is expectations. The Glazers have opened their wallet to free agency. It's a long time since they turned down anyone because of their price tag. In return, the Bucs have 24 regular-season wins in the previous two seasons, including a Super Bowl.

Still, that makes this season even more disappointing. Young players are not ready. Old players are slowing down.

And in the middle of it stands Bowles.

Look, let's not be silly. Bowles is not a stupid man. He knows his stuff. Perhaps he is a victim of the a roster that is mentally fat and injury-prone. Perhaps the Bucs have failed to replace their holes with sufficient players.

Yeah, I know. He's had eight games. For a coach who is building, that isn't a lot of time. But for yesterday's contender who woke up as pretenders, it's an eternity.

If you care, yes, teams change coaches after one season all the time.

Heck, the 49ers did it twice in two seasons, bumping Jim Tomsula 2015 after a 5-11 season, then canning Chip Kelly a year later after 2-14. Back in 1978, the Rams fired George Allen (the Hall of Famer) after two preseason games.

The Jaguars couldn't wait to get rid of Urban Meyer (11 games). Miami got one win from Cam Cameron (and were lucky to get it). The Browns axed Rob Chudzinkski and Freddie Kitchens after one year each.

Heck, Washington once fired Marty Schottenheimer after an 8-8 season. Green Bay fired Ray Rhodes after an 8-8 season.

In all, there have been 18 coaches who lasted a year or less. Some of them (Bobby Petrino, Lou Holtz, Al Groh) resigned on their own.

But NFL owners are a demanding lot. They want to strut. They want reward for their payrolls.

Again, the gut feeling is that the Bucs stick with Bowles, who in turn will stick with Byron Leftwich. Remember, John McKay didn't win any here, and he kept his job. Leeman Bennett won two, and he kept his job. The shortest tenure was Richard Williamson, who coached three games in 199p before taking over as head coach in 19921 for his final season.

Still, the way the Bucs are playing makes you question the future. Does anyone think this team will contend next year?

What if this team finishes with a losing record this year? What if it misses the playoffs? What if it sees another team win the NFC South?

If the disappointment has just begun, who is to say how far it reaches?

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