The Buccaneers spent a lot of time last offseason trying to find the right buttons to push to spur defensive end Da’Quan Bowers to the kind of performance they anticipated when they drafted him in the second round of the 2011 draft.
It didn’t work out. Bowers had a sack and seven tackles in 13 games and his season ended early when he was placed on injured reserve because of a knee problem. It was the third straight disappointing season for Bowers and it is shaping up to be a disappointing offseason as well as Bowers continues to be sidelined as a result of his knee, costing him a chance to make an impact on new coach Lovie Smith.
Smith says Bowers will get another chance when he’s healthy, but he also said that it is time for Bowers to start performing.
“He’s learning the system, and eventually, he’ll get out there,” Smith said, via the Tampa Tribune. “I know rehab is going well. He’s a good football player, but he needs to prove it right now. He’ll get an opportunity. A player like that should be able to excel in a defense like ours.”
The Bucs aren’t using their fifth-year option on defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who has joined Bowers in making it a double whammy of disappointment on the defensive line for Tampa in the 2011 draft. One of them could still earn an ongoing role in Tampa, but history says they’ll fall short of impressing whenever Bowers does wind up returning to the field.