Da'Quan Bowers has been silent

TAMPA, Fla. -- Back in the preseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were making it sound like defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was ready for a breakout season.

I took the bait and included Bowers in my list of the top 25 players in the NFC South. As it has turned out, Bowers isn’t even in the top 100. Only partly due to injury, Bowers got a season-low six snaps in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta.

Bowers has been stuck in a backup role and has only three tackles (and no sacks) on the season.

“I actually think Da’Quan has gotten better and better,’’ coach Greg Schiano said Tuesday. “I know that [from the] outside looking in [and asking], 'Why isn’t he playing more?’ I think he’s improving. Not as fast as everyone would like, but he’s improving and he has natural ability. He’s going to play more and more as the year goes on, as long as he keeps improving.’’

But the fact is Bowers has yet to beat out Daniel Te'o-Nesheim for the starting job. Bowers is in his third season and it’s fair to start wondering if he’ll ever break out.