“You just have to move on to the next week,” Bowles, via Kevin Patra. “I think every week is a grind. You don’t carry the game with you from week in and week out. I feel I did that a little bit in New York. Coming here with the people I’ve been around and understanding what I’ve come from and how I’ve been coaching, it kind of changed the way I saw things and the way I coached. I think this will help me the second time around.”
Bowles doesn’t consider himself a “defensive-minded coach” and plans on executing “situational football” alongside OC Byron Leftwich.
“I don’t consider myself a defensive-minded coach when I become a head coach. I am a head coach of the entire team,” Bowles said. “There will be situational football, and me and Byron will talk about third-and-1s, two-minute, end (of) the ball game. You become a head coach, and I think there’s this thing going around that defensive coaches can’t be head coaches, because you don’t see them, and I think it’s quite the contrary. Obviously (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick is an outstanding head coach, and we have a few in this league that are very good head coaches. And if you look back at the Super Bowls … you can go back years and years and see successes of defensive head coaches winning Super Bowls and being very good coaches.”
Bowles feels comfortable stepping into the Buccaneers’ head coaching job given the organization has kept its staff in place.
“It’s been up and down. It’s a new job, but it’s an old job,” Bowles said. “You come into the building and everything’s the same. You don’t have to hire a staff and you know everyone in the building, but at the same time, you’re now the head guy. So it took about a day, 24 hours, to digest, so I’m great now. After talking with the Glazers and talking with (general manager) Jason (Licht) and talking with Bruce (Arians), I feel great.”
As for Tom Brady returning, Bowles said that it’s great to have the veteran quarterback and is looking forward to working with him more closely.
“Oh, it’s always great to have him under center, finally I get to play with him instead of against him,” Bowles said. “Even though he’s not beating my head in, we’ll have some spirited practices. We had some great conversations, I think the world of the guy, I think we’re more alike that you could ever know on the scenes, even though it doesn’t look like it on the surface. He’s probably a little bit more chill that I am, so I’ve got to find a new thing other than that, too, because Bruce took cool, and Tom took chill, but I’ve got to find my niche in this whole thing without being a jerk about it. So, I’m going to look for that and try to find that any way I can find it.”
Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank commented on the team moving on from QB Matt Ryan, adding that next season Atlanta will have the most cap space the franchise has had in the 21 years since he has owned the team.
“It has nothing to do with how much we appreciate or love Matt, which we do both. But you know, there has to be a long-term plan,” Blank said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have to get ready for the next 14-15 years. And that’s what our fans really should expect us to do. It shouldn’t be a fire drill when we have that transition to make. So, we’re trying to prepare for that as best we can. Next year we should be in a position where there’ll be the biggest cap space that we’ve had since I’ve owned the team for over 21 years. It’ll be something north of $100 million to $110 million. So, we’ll have an opportunity to extend our own players and be more active in free agency than we were this year.”
“That morning, after Deshaun said no, Matt and Dan and I were sitting around the cafeteria, and it was an attitude of, ‘OK, what do we want to do? Let’s go get DJ done,‘” Fitterer said, via the team’s official website. “It was like, ‘Let’s go do this today, let’s go kick ass, let’s turn the page.’ And that kind of set the tone. So instead of it being a negative not getting Deshaun, the whole narrative changed. I thought it was important. The good thing was, we went upstairs and called Dave, and Dave very quickly went through the process with us and Samir — what do these guys make, what are their ages, what are their price points, what’s the injury history, how many games have they missed? So when you go through that with DJ, he’s 24 years old, one of the most consistent receivers in the league yards-wise, and he always plays, he’s banged up, but he’s always on the practice field and always shows up. That’s what you want; that’s the type of guy you want to reward.”
Fitterer pointed out the rich tackle draft class this year, but may have also tipped his hand by saying the team may need to force the issue at the quarterback position early.
“This will be interesting because the tackles will be the best players on the board. But we do need a quarterback, and at some point you have to take a shot, especially in the top 10. You hate to force it, because when you force it, you could make a mistake. It’s a unique quarterback class, because there’s not a clear number one, number two, number three. Like, who’s the proven starter who can come in and play for you? That’ll be the conversation we have for the next month — quarterback or left tackle. And we could always go pass-rusher because Brian Burns is coming up. I mean, we’ll do the option, but if that money gets out of hand, it’s better to have somebody ready to go in the hopper.”
Fitterer believes that protecting the quarterback is just as important as finding the right prospect at that position.
“I hear that. But in reverse, how many times have you seen guys like Joey Harrington labeled can’t-miss, and they end up missing? Getting the right person with the right makeup with the right skill set for your offense, and having that blend together is key. So much of it is what’s around them. You’ve got to be able to protect them.”
Fitterer pointed out the defensive back room when asked about what group he believes is the strongest position on the roster at the moment. Fitterer also acknowledged the defensive line as a strong group and likes the development of the offensive line.
“I’d say the DB room right now, with Donte back and Jaycee Horn over there. With Xavier Woods coming in, and Juston Burris back. That whole defensive backfield is really stable. I think the defensive line is really good. With Derrick Brown another year growing in this defense and maturing and Burns coming along. Adding Ioannidis to that group was big. That’s a really stout, good group right there. You have other guys, Frankie Luvu can come down and rush off the other end. So I think that’s good. I like the way our offensive line is coming together, with Taylor Moton and adding Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman; those are all good additions. They’re not at the level of those other groups. So if we go out and get a left tackle, you feel really good about those DBs, the D-line, and your O-line. Then it just comes down to quarterback.”