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Joe Cullen: Da’Quan Bowers’ conditioning needs to improve

Brian Leonard, Da'Quan Bowers, Dekoda Watson, Demar Dotson AP

In many ways, Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers has entered a critical stage of his NFL career.

Just 24 years old, Bowers is in the final year of his rookie contract. Through three seasons, his NFL run has been marked by injuries, conditioning issues and a lack of pass-rush production (5.5 total sacks). However, he is young, and he was a well-regarded prospect at Clemson, so if were he to stay healthy and show improvement in 2014, he could enter the offseason with increased earning power.

However, Bowers’ level of fitness reportedly is once again a concern as the Buccaneers near the end of their offseason workouts.

According to the Tampa Tribune, Buccaneers defensive line coach Joe Cullen has indicated that Bowers is not yet in shape after returning from an undisclosed injury.

“I see a lot of signs that he can be what everybody thought he was going to when he was coming out of college,” Cullen said, according to the Tribune‘s Roy Cummings. “But again, a lot of that will depend on how he gets into shape and what happens in the preseason.”

The key coaching staff and personnel decision-makers in place when Bowers joined Tampa three years ago are gone. If Bowers makes the Buccaneers, it will be because the team believes he can help right now. His 2014 base salary ($900,768, per NFLPA records) is not especially high, which probably doesn’t hurt his cause if the club finds itself left to make a decision on him.

Ideally for Bowers, it never gets to that point, with his play and preparation making him a clear-cut member of the roster. But as Cullen noted to the Tribune, Bowers’ summer progress bears watching.

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14 Responses to “Joe Cullen: Da’Quan Bowers’ conditioning needs to improve”
  1. fundamentals425 says: Jun 6, 2014 1:47 PM

    Really poor technique in that pic, about to have his shoulder pop out. Maybe thats the issue with all the injuries.

  2. swampcannons says: Jun 6, 2014 1:58 PM

    I understand coming in out of shape for the former dunce coach and assistants. Most players were probably on suicide watch. Seriously, hope he gets it together because he might not get another chance with a coaching staff as knowledgeable as this one and it’s time to shine if he’s got it in him.

  3. 6ball says: Jun 6, 2014 2:01 PM

    .

    Put him on the list of players that need a change of scenery.

    .

  4. chalkruz1989 says: Jun 6, 2014 2:07 PM

    Does anybody remember when he was a consensus first overall pick when he was entering his final season at Clemson? A knee injury and degenerative knee issue forced him to plummet down the board.

    I hope this kid can actually get a chance to play 16 games healthy, or at least 90%.

  5. milkmandanimal says: Jun 6, 2014 2:09 PM

    On a team that really has needed any kind of pass rush, he’s been utterly terrible. When they’ve even bothered putting him into a game, that is. Tampa took a flyer on him in the 2nd round, and it’s been an utterly wasted pick.

  6. rickastleydancemoves says: Jun 6, 2014 2:36 PM

    @chalkruz1989

    I was just thinking about that. He needs to realize this could be his last season in the NFL, and get with the program. He should’ve came in as one of the best conditioned athletes on the team.

  7. truthofthefootballbusiness says: Jun 6, 2014 2:39 PM

    You guys remember how Bowers was discussed as the potential #1 overall pick for the Panthers because of his explosive ability to get to the quarterback?

  8. notthetroll says: Jun 6, 2014 3:10 PM

    Going into a contract year out of shape, nice.
    IF it’s pathetic that a player has a career year during a contract season after dogging it in the years before, what does it say about a player who won’t even do the work to put up a fa├žade?

  9. whysomanylosers says: Jun 6, 2014 3:38 PM

    As much as my Bucs need a pass rush, I hope this dude tanks so we can cut him.

    No sense in “seeing something” in him that makes you give him anything more than a 1 year contract, and then have him disappear for the rest of that contract.

  10. bucfanforlife says: Jun 6, 2014 5:50 PM

    Clemson part two first gaines(rip

  11. bucfanforlife says: Jun 6, 2014 5:51 PM

    Clemson part two first gaines(rip) now this guy

  12. dapperdom15 says: Jun 6, 2014 5:56 PM

    I think wat is most frustrating is that we let Micheal Bennett walk because they believed in bowers. He needs to prove it now RIGHT now. Or will have let one our best pass rushers go for nothing.

  13. bassplucker says: Jun 6, 2014 10:26 PM

    Maybe he just doesn’t want to play anymore. Going from a possible #1 overall pick to a 2nd rounder–and still being considered a bust at that–is a tough cup to swallow. Not everyone is able to bounce back from that.

  14. bayoor75 says: Jun 7, 2014 1:28 AM

    Funny – the “experts” actually had him as the number 1 pick in numerous mock drafts and only dropped him because of his knees.

    This is not a knee problem, he just isn’t good enough.

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