Well, here we are again.
One year after the Jacksonville Jaguars conducted a search for a new head coach to replace Doug Marrone, the team finds itself in the same situation this winter, now looking for a replacement for their replacement.
Names have been thrown around with vigor as potential candidates to replace Urban Meyer, while several interviews have been officially set up between coaches and the Jaguars' brass.
But who is the best candidate for the Jaguars? What does each of them bring to the table, on and off the field? From Jim Caldwell to Kellen Moore and everyone in between, we examine the pros and cons that come with each coach and their potential impact on the Jaguars.
Next up in our review of this year's candidates: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator and former New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles.
- Green Bay Packers (1995-1996): Player personnel staff
- Morehouse College (1997): Defensive coordinator and secondary coach
- Grambling State (1998–1999): Defensive coordinator and secondary coach
- New York Jets (2000): Secondary coach
- Cleveland Browns (2001–2003): Nickel coach
- Cleveland Browns (2004): Secondary coach
- Dallas Cowboys (2005–2007): Secondary coach
- Miami Dolphins (2008–2011): Assistant head coach & secondary coach
- Miami Dolphins (2011): Interim head coach & secondary coach
- Philadelphia Eagles (2012): Secondary coach
- Philadelphia Eagles (2012): Interim defensive coordinator
- Arizona Cardinals (2013–2014): Defensive coordinator
- New York Jets (2015–2018): Head coach
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019–2021): Defensive coordinator
After spending several years in the NFL as a safety, Todd Bowles retired and spent some time in the Green Bay Packers' front office before moving to the college ranks as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach. After three years in college, Bowles returned to the NFL, this time as an assistant coach instead of as a front office staff member.
Bowles had stops with the Jets, Browns, and Cowboys as a secondary coach before being named the assistant head coach in Miami under head coach Tony Sparano and during Bill Parcells' tenure as executive vice president of football operations. Bowles was promoted to interim head coach in 2011 after the Dolphins got off to a 4-9 start, with Bowles going 2-1 at the helm.
Bowles then spent a year with the Eagles during Andy Reid's final season as head coach. Following the 4-12 season, Bowles became defensive coordinator in Arizona under first-year head coach Bruce Arians. Arizona finished with the No. 7 scoring defense and the No. 2 DVOA defense during a 10-6 season.
In 2014, the Cardinals' defense remained one of the NFL's best during a 11-5 campaign. Bowles' unit finished as the No. 5 scoring defense and the No. 7 DVOA defense, propelling him to getting a look as the New York Jets' head coach the next season.
Bowles' first year was a success, going 10-6 with the No. 9 scoring defense and No. 6 DVOA defense just a year after the Jets fell to 4-12 in Rex Ryan's final season. The Jets fell off in a big way in year two, however, with New York falling to 5-11 and finishing the year No. 28 in points allowed.
2017 (5-11) and 2018 (4-12) weren't any better for the Jets as they finished No. 22 and No. 29 in points allowed and No. 22 in DVOA defense in both years. Bowles was fired after year four, ending his tenure with a 26-40 record.
Bowles quickly found work after his Jets tenure, reuniting with Arians in Tampa Bay. His defense finished No. 29 in points in 2019 but No. 6 in DVOA, with the unit improving to No. 8 in points in 2020 and No. 5 in 2021 and No. 5 and 9 in DVOA.
If we are going to give credit to big-name offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators such as Dan Quinn for having productive units, then the same has to be said even more ferociously for Bowles. Between his time in Arizona and Tampa Bay, Bowles has never had a unit that wasn't top-10 in DVOA and they have been among the best in points allowed in every year but 2019, a year in which Tampa Bay's defense was at the mercy of an offense that turned the ball over at a high rate.
From his versatility in terms of base and pressure looks to the fact that he has produced strong secondaries everywhere he has been, Bowles clearly brings a lot to the table as a defensive mind -- more so at least than the last defensive-minded head coach the Jaguars hired (Gus Bradley in 2013).
For a team like the Jaguars who could benefit from an experienced voice in the room following the Urban Meyer debacle, there is reason to believe a coach like Bowles makes sense because he has already been thrust into a rebuild as a head coach before. While Bowles had just one winning season in New York, he has already been through plenty of experiences as a head coach that first-year candidates can't be able to say they have experienced.
Bowles also has a terrific locker room reputation. Dating back to his days in Arizona, it isn't hard to find Cardinals, Jets, or Buccaneers defenders who weren't willing to run through a wall for Bowles. He is a coach who players gravitate towards and it is clear that the relationship-building aspect of the job is a strength when it comes to Bowles.
Bowles has also coached in big games and shut down some of the league's best offenses. 2020 alone saw him put together two excellent game plans for Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, utilizing an aggressive Buccaneers front with a young and rangy secondary. If a coach can slow down the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he brings a lot to the table.
Recycling coaches is rarely a good idea at the NFL level, and that goes even further when you consider the fact that Bowles is a coach whose first tenure as a head coach wasn't glaringly positive. It isn't all Bowles' fault he didn't work out with the Jets, but rolling the dice on him is hoping that he is much better the second time around.
There is also a question of Bowles' ability to foster a good support system for Trevor Lawrence. Bowles didn't have the best quarterbacks or play-callers with the Jets but it is also fair to point out that Bowles' presence alone wasn't a big plus for a young Sam Darnold. That isn't to take away from Bowles as a coach, but the Jaguars are a team that needs their next hire to help Lawrence. How Bowles would do that exactly is a question.
Finally, there is the fact that Bowles would face the same problem in Jacksonville that he faced in New York. He wouldn't have the most talented defense, especially compared to the unit he has today in Tampa Bay. Just as Byron Leftwich and Kellen Moore work with stacked units on offense, Bowles has much more at his disposal in Tampa Bay than he would in Jacksonville for the foreseeable future.