Fantasy Football 2014:

Bowles returns to Philadelphia with tough defense

AP - Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Todd Bowles is going back to Philadelphia in a whole lot better mood than he was when he left the city last season.

Bowles, who took over as the Eagles' defensive coordinator halfway through the final season of coach Andy Reid's time in Philadelphia, moved on to the Arizona Cardinals. He returns to Philadelphia with one of the more dominant defenses in the league.

Bowles makes no excuses for the problems the Eagles had last season, saying only that he and the team ''didn't get it done.''

And he credits Arizona's success to the players. The Cardinals players, though, are full of praise for Bowles.

''Coach Bowles is a genius,'' defensive end Calais Campbell said. ''He always puts us in the best position to make plays, so I'm excited to go make this defense work again.''

The Cardinals enter Sunday's game against the Eagles ranked seventh in overall defense and second against the run.

''I like the people and the talent that I have now,'' Bowles said, ''and we work well together.''

Bowles began last season as the Eagles' defensive backs coach under Reid and was promoted to coordinator when Juan Castillo was fired six games into his second season on the job after a career on the offensive side. Philadelphia went 1-9 with Bowles as coordinator, bringing an end to Reid's long tenure in the city.

''As a whole, the organization was great,'' Bowles said. ''We just didn't get it done. But that didn't stop my belief that I could coach or anything like that. It just happened to steamroll and went downhill.''

From the moment he was hired as head coach of the Cardinals, Bruce Arians had Bowles in mind as defensive coordinator. Their relationship goes way back, in Philadelephia, where Arians was head coach and Bowles a player in the mid-1980s.

''He was extremely talented and he was one of the brightest football players I've ever coached,'' Arians said.

Bowles played eight seasons as a defensive back in the NFL, all but one with Washington. He was a member of the Redskins' 1987 Super Bowl championship team.

After three years as a college assistant coach, Bowles began his pro coaching career as defensive backs coach of the New York Jets. He went on to Cleveland, Dallas and Miami - a protege of Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells. In Miami in 2011, Bowles was interim head coach for the final three games.

The Philadelphia experience was a valuable lesson, Bowles said.

''Anytime you have failure, as a coach or a player, you try to be better than you were the year before,'' he said. ''You're more determined to understand the things that went wrong and what you need to do going forward.''

In Arizona, Bowles replaced the popular and successful Ray Horton. Altering the team's defensive scheme, Bowles made a good defense better.

''I think our abilities fit this scheme better,'' he said. ''Our d-line is more explosive.''

Bowles credits the talent on the field.

''This is a players' game,'' he said. ''I said that a long time ago. I get satisfaction out of game planning and trying to get us to the playoffs and the Super Bowl. That's about it for me.''

What is he looking forward to most about going back to Philadelphia?

''As long as I get a cheesekake from Ishkabibble's,'' he said, ''I'll be good.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

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