But the new coaching staff sees some hope for Bowers. Defensive line coach Joe Cullen said Wednesday that he sees potential in Bowers.
“Some guys blossom early and some blossom late, and I studied Da'Quan really hard when he was coming out of college, and so I’m really excited to work with him and see what we can do there," Cullen said.
Through three seasons, Bowers’ career has been disappointing. A second-round pick in 2011, Bowers has been held back by injuries and inconsistency. The previous regime made a huge mistake by letting Michael Bennett leave as a free agent last year, because the belief was that Bowers was ready to be a full-time player.
That never came close to happening.
“I can’t comment on what he’s done prior to me getting here, but I think he has the qualities to be a dominant defensive lineman," Cullen said. “He’s big, he’s powerful, he’s strong, and those are all great qualities.
“He really does have all the qualities you look for, but he’s been injured, missed some time, and like I said, some guys come in right away and have a major impact. Other guys, it takes time."
Here’s the reality: Maybe there is some hope for Bowers. Maybe this coaching staff can get something out of him. But the Bucs can’t afford to assume that Bowers is going to have a breakout season. If he does, it’s icing on the cake.
But Bowers has disappointed before, and it’s possible he’ll do it again. The Bucs need to look for an alternative in free agency or the draft.