Todd Bowles sees chance to "get it right" after feeling "kind of handcuffed" in 2022

Todd Bowles sees chance to "get it right" after feeling "kind of handcuffed" in 2022

Bruce Arians stepped down as the Buccaneers' head coach on March 30 last year, which didn't leave new head coach Todd Bowles with much of a chance to put a different stamp on the team.

In an interview with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Bowles said he felt "kind of handcuffed a little bit" in his first season in the top job because "the hay was in the barn" in terms of the team's schemes, roster, draft plans, and coaching staff by the time he took over the job. The Bucs won the NFC South, but finished with a losing record and lost to the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs.

Arians stuck around last year as a consultant, but is gone along with quarterback Tom Brady, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and several other coaches and players. Bowles said Arians' presence "wasn't a factor," but he sees this year as an opportunity to chart his own course and show that he has the right plans for the team.

“Everybody says, ‘This formula has worked for us. Why are we changing anything?’ So you try to keep it and tweak it as you go," Bowles said. "But as you go, you start to figure out that we had a lot of guys not practicing and just playing on Sundays because we were older. . . . So this year, you get a chance to rebuild the culture and the chemistry and kind of get it right. You understand, even if you’ve been coaching together a long time, sometimes you agree to disagree. And that happened, too."

There are still a good number of players from the Super Bowl LV champs in Tampa, but there's a distinctly different feel to the team this year. Bowles' first chance to show that the new path can be a fruitful one will come in Minnesota on Sunday.