Human beings operate with a lot of biases and fallacies in their daily lives. Familiarity bias, hindsight bias, the gambler’s fallacy; these are all ways that we try to make sense of the random events around us by calling them “patterns” and making decisions based on them.
Recency bias, in particular, is dangerous for our perceptions when we look at the National Football League and fantasy football in specific: if we see the most recent season’s outcomes as what is most likely to happen, we miss the nuance of possibility and risk losing an edge on our opponents.
This is why we need to examine what new Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles – recently fired from an unsuccessful tenure as the head coach of the New York Jets – with fresh eyes. Only look at his failures with Gang Green, and you’ll miss out on some interesting value for your Individual Defensive Player teams; examine his whole body of work and you’ll be rewarded.
How will Bowles alter the course of the Tampa Bay defense from 2019 onward?
The Bucs have run a 4-3 base defense since 1991, one of the longest continuous stretches of a defensive scheme in the league. The last time the Bucs weren’t in a 4-3 base, linebacker Broderick Thomas (who?) was the team’s leading tackler; it’s been a while.
Bowles, however, has tended to run a 3-4 base defensive front (three defensive linemen, four linebackers/edge rushers) when given the choice as a defensive coordinator. The one exception to his uniform scheme track record was the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles, where Bowles was promoted from secondary coach to interim defensive coordinator after Juan Castillo was fired midway through the season; Bowles couldn’t wholesale change the team’s scheme overnight, so he dealt with what he was given there.
With that in mind, here’s a tentative outline of what the Tampa Bay sets could look like under Bowles.
He also likes coffee. You can talk to him about IDP, other dynasty things, and various caffeinated beverages on Twitter at @JayArrNFL.
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