Bowles’ name came up for the Chicago Bears’ potential opening during Heavy’s I’m Just Saying podcast on Nov. 24. Rumors of the Bears planning to fire head coach Matt Nagy surfaced before the team’s Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit, though later debunked by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Nagy’s future in Chicago still looks cloudy though as the Bears sit at 4-7.
Hiring Bowles for next season could take the Bears in a new direction with a defensive-minded coach, Heavy’s Lorenzo Reyna noted. Reyna sees it as an ideal move for the Bears.
“I’m thinking Todd Bowles deserves another chance,” Reyna said.
Bowles revitalized his coaching career in Tampa Bay, starting in 2019, as an assistant after posting a 26-41 record as a head coach. The Bucs finished as the top run defense in the NFL the past two seasons under Bowles, and this season’s Bucs lead the league in run defense again.
Tampa Bay’s defense dominated in the Super Bowl run last season, and rumors of Bowles coaching elsewhere in 2021 surfaced during the playoff run. Bowles had an interview with the Atlanta Falcons according to JoeBucsFan.com. The Detroit Lions had an interview schedule with him before hiring Dan Campbell according to Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith.
It didn’t lead to a job, and Bowles signed a three-year extension with the Bucs before the season. That extension made Bowles the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the league according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“I love it here. We’ve got a great group of coaches that Bruce (Arians) has put together,” Bowles said on Aug. 5. “We have good players. They’re great to work with. Love the area and the camaraderie. It’s not about being a head coach, it’s about being the best coach with a chance to succeed and be happy, and I’m happy here.”
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Bowles Could Succeed Bruce Arians
Bowles’ extension may mean more than just coaching the Bucs defense long term.
Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper speculated that Bowles, 58, could succeed head coach Bruce Arians, 69, when he retires. CBS Sports Insider Jason La Canofra floated the idea before Super Bowl LV.
Arians has a four-year contract that runs through the 2023 season, the same year Bowles’ current deal will expire. Arians also hasn’t given an exact time frame on how much longer he will coach the Bucs.
“I don’t have any plans on retiring,” Arians said during the Pewter Report podcast in May. “It’s just, when do I not want to go back to work? When I’m not excited about going back to work then I’m cheating somebody. I’m cheating the Glazer family, I’m cheating my players.”
Bucs Defense Coming Around
Challenges abounded for the Bucs defense thus far this season with a myriad of injuries and pass-happy opponents attacking the secondary.
Bowles sees that changing.
“I think we’ve shown flashes,” Bowles said on Nov. 25. “I think we’re getting better each week, but coming down the stretch run you’ve got to put it all together consistently and we’re working on that every day.”
The Bucs defense backed that up, forcing four of the Indianapolis Colts’ five turnovers in a 38-31 win on Sunday, Nov. 28.