Other teams’ interest Todd Bowles merited him taking over for Bruce Arians as head coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David says.
“If it wasn’t here, it was going to be somewhere else,” David told the media on Tuesday, April 12, about Bowles. “Definitely a guy who you can definitely go out there and play hard for four quarters of a football game.”
Bowles, who became the head coach on March 30, interviewed with other NFL teams for head coaching jobs this offseason before sticking with the Bucs. He interviewed with the Las Vega Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Jacksonville Jaguars. Arians, in stepping down, said it was time to hand over the reins to Bowles with the Bucs in good shape.
“I love it, I love the move,” David said. “They did a great thing just putting the right guy in front. I think everybody’s going to love him, everybody’s going to get along with him. I talked to him and he said, ‘You defensive guys, y’all know me already.’ You won’t get any bad words from anybody talking about Bowles.”
“Coach Bowles is a great dude,” David added. “He’s a team-first guy, he’s a player-first guy. Just got to get an opportunity for the offense, throughout this process, for guys on the offense to learn and get to know him. I’m sure there’s going to be great things.
David: Rams Loss a ‘Big Motivation’
Similar to Bowles in his introductory press conference, David owned his part in the defensive breakdown at the end against Los Angeles in the playoffs. The Bucs lost 30-27 to the Rams on a last-second field goal after tying the game late, which Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford set up on deep throws to Cooper Kupp.
“There were a lot of moving parts,” David told the media on Tuesday. “I wasn’t expecting them to go no-huddle at that moment. But it was one of those moments where you’re trying to make sure everybody gets the call. Guys are running all over the place and you’re trying to make sure people are getting it.”
“On those type of things you have to make sure everybody is on the same page. There are a lot of communication aspects of that type of defense,” David added. “Them hurrying up to hike the ball caught us off guard. I just kind of got caught standing, looking lost. But it was just an unfortunate situation.”
David and company will see the defending Super Bowl champion Rams again in 2022 at home during the regular season. Both teams are expected to contend for the NFC crown again.
“It’s big motivation. Huge motivation because we kind of got us back in that game,” David said on Tuesday about the Rams loss. “Then for us to end the game like that, that’s not what we want to be remembered as.”
David: ‘Take Another Huge Leap This Year’
David expects big things with many of the players back from the 2020 Bucs team that won Super Bowl LV. Once quarterback Tom Brady came out of retirement, many of the Bucs free agents followed suit in re-signing.
“So, we’re definitely going to have to take another huge leap this year. That taste is definitely going to be in our mouths for a while,” David said on Tuesday about not winning it all. “But we definitely, as a whole throughout the season, we want to improve on what we had last year. We want to be more consistent in certain areas, and we’re just going to try and get better every time.”