Todd Bowles isn’t going to take just any NFL head-coaching job

Todd Bowles doesn’t sound in much of a hurry to take another shot at being an NFL head coach. After losing his job with the Jets, he’s spent the last two years as the Buccaneers defensive coordinator and has keyed their turnaround this season.

And while teams may inquire about his interest, it has to make sense for him. Not any head-coaching job will do.

“I think the situation has to be right and you go from there. If the situation’s not right … if it’s not a match, I won’t take it to take it,” Bowles told CBS Sports. “First time around, probably, because you really want to be a head coach and do good and save the world. But after going through it with experience and you know situations have to be right for you to succeed anywhere, and obviously, you have to bring a lot to the table. But they have to bring something to the table, too. And if it’s not a match then it’s just not a match.”

Bowles started well with the Jets, winning 10 games his first season, though a loss to close out the year to the Bills cost Gang Green a playoff spot. From there, the team fell apart, losing 34 of 44 games and he was let go after his fourth season.

Todd Bowles NFL head coaching jobs
Todd Bowles as Jets head coach in 2018.
Bill Kostroun

“You learn as you go, especially as a first-time head coach, about the structure of how you want to do things and how you want to get things done. And get an opportunity again if everything’s right I know I’ll do some things differently,” he said. “There’s so much more to it than running a football team on and off the field. And you have some ideas and some things you would tweak that you probably wouldn’t know otherwise, and you could only get that from experience. I can’t really put a finger on everything. But there are things you learn as a coach that would flow a lot easier going into next time around.”

Bowles had his issues, of course. Clock management was a challenge. Fans didn’t like his emotion-less press conferences and sideline demeanor. He’s shown more character as the Bucs defensive coordinator, though the role is obviously a lot different. He talks to the media once a week. Bowles insists he hasn’t changed, that he was trying not to create headlines and blamed the media in New York for asking “negative-type questions.

“It’s not meant to be a comedy show,” he said. “But the way that media is constructed and how they’re going to take everything and run, you try not to give them any bulletin board material.

“And then as you grow older as a coach you really don’t care. You try to be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. But it wasn’t intentional. The questions weren’t constructed that way.”

Bowles could emerge as a head-coaching candidate after the job he’s done defensively in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers defense is third in DVOA and is allowing just 3.3 yards per carry, the lowest number in the league. They have 14 interceptions. It’s what got him the job with the Jets in the first place, his ability to lead a defense. But this time, he plans to pick more selectively.

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