Bucs have big hopes for Da'Quan Bowers

Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano has made it clear he believes Da'Quan Bowers can be an every-down defensive end. Schiano also has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t think Bowers is there yet.

While you can take what Schiano has had to say publicly about Bowers as a mind game to motivate the player, the coach said that’s not what he’s attempting to do.

“Just an honest assessment," Schiano told the media Wednesday. “He and I have a great relationship, and I’ve talked to him a great deal. He knows how much I believe in him and how much our coaching staff believes in him. This wouldn’t be the first guy that we’ve taken from potential to performance. That’s what our goal is."

Bowers has been mostly a situational player in his first two seasons. But the Bucs went out on a limb by letting Michael Bennett depart via free agency and assuming Bowers is ready for a bigger role.

The Bucs have drawn a lot of criticism for pinning such big hopes on Bowers. But the fact is Bowers, who has had injury problems in the past, is healthy. He also has tremendous potential. Bowers was a second-round draft pick in 2011. But there was a time before he was drafted when Bowers was talked about as potentially being the No. 1 overall pick. His stock fell because of knee problems.

But the Bucs obviously think it’s time for Bowers to start hitting his upside.

“I think the ceiling is unknown," Schiano said. “I think he can really be a fantastic player. Consistency is the big thing right now. But I do think he’s making strides. I think he’s improved in this training camp."