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Key Quotes from Todd Bowles at the 2023 NFL League Meeting | Brianna's Blitz 

Head Coach Todd Bowles spoke with the media on Tuesday at the 2023 NFL League Meeting in Arizona, and there are several critical takeaways

Quotes from LM Bowles_

Representatives from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including Head Coach Todd Bowles and General Manager Jason Licht, along with the other 31 NFL clubs arrived in Phoenix, Arizona this week for the NFL Annual League Meeting. The event runs from March 26 to March 29 and brings together NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, league officials, team owners, general managers and head coaches to discuss a variety of topics regarding the league and its continued evolution moving forward. In addition, attendees voted on items for the upcoming 2023 season, including rule changes. Bucs' Head Coach Todd Bowles spoke with the media on Tuesday to elaborate on several subjects, including the quarterback battle, second-year roles and the club's first-round pick in the looming Draft. 

Here are six takeaways from Bowles' offseason address:

Adding to the Quarterback Room With Baker Mayfield:

The Bucs reached an agreement on a one-year contract with former No. 1 pick and Heisman Trophy Winner, Baker Mayfield. He will compete for the starting gig with 2021 second-round draft pick Kyle Trask. Tampa Bay is installing a new-look offense under Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales, who was largely credited for helping revitalize Geno Smith's career in Seattle. Mayfield played on the final season of his rookie contract after the Cleveland Browns picked up his fifth-year option in April 2021. The Browns, who acquired Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Houston Texans last offseason, traded Mayfield to the Panthers in July. He played in seven games in Carolina before he was waived and claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Rams. During his career, Mayfield has completed 61.4% of his passes for 16,288 yards, 102 touchdowns and 64 interceptions. Bowles went to the University of Oklahoma looking for a franchise quarterback in 2018 while coach of the Jets (owned the No. 3 overall pick) and was impressed by what he saw in Mayfield – notably his "moxie" and "leadership skills." The two are now reunited in Tampa Bay. Trask, the former Florida star, has spent the previous two seasons as the Bucs' No. 3 quarterback on the roster and has only appeared in one NFL game at Atlanta in the regular-season finale. Bowles stressed the true quarterback competition that will take place this Spring between the two and silenced the perception that the Bucs will not be relevant this season in a post-Brady world. 

"[Baker] gives us competition and it gives us another warrior. It gives us a guy who has been to the playoffs before. At least, you have a proven guy, someone to compete with Kyle [Trask] that will still make sure we haven't taken dips too low. I think when you lose the greatest quarterback of all time, everybody just assumes you are going to be bad, or at least that is the narrative, but it takes a team to win a Super Bowl and it also takes a team to play ballgames. Tom is great by all accolades. He gets everything he deserves and he should, but to bring in guys that can still challenge and win, you just have to prepare differently as far as what you are trying to do …Tom brought a presence with him as you saw and everyone has to earn their stripes and we are good with that." 

Who will the Bucs select at No. 19?

The Draft nears, begging the question: Which position will the Bucs aim for with the first overall selection? Will Tampa Bay address the trenches on the offensive or defensive side of the ball or target help in the secondary by selecting a safety? Bowles was asked that very question and jokingly vocalized the team's draft approach in taking the best player available. 

"It will be the best player on the board unless you tell me Lawrence Taylor is coming out of retirement, then I will take him at 19. I will take him at 1."

Antoine Winfield Jr.'s New Role in 2023:

Antoine Winfield Jr. developed into a versatile chess piece in 2022, possessing both the awareness and eye discipline to line up over the top and the physicality to play in the slot near the line of scrimmage. Last season, he lined up at centerfield to clean things up in the back of the team's base 3-4 and worked as the Bucs' slot-option in nickel packages. Safety had been Winfield's primary role during his first two seasons in the NFL, but he showcased the ability to line up in the slot, cover, blitz, and to set the edge vs. the run. Winfield finished the 2022 season with 80 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, six quarterback hits, one interception, three passes defensed and one forced fumble. In discussing his vision for Winfield in 2023, Bowles assessed that the playmaker will revert to his position at free safety. Once again, Winfield will utilize his athleticism, ball-tracking and range from the post. 

"Winfield is such a playmaker. He is such a good tackler, and you want him down there [in the box] making tackles, but we talked about it, and I told him I really want him to stay at free safety this year as far as we can help it and I am going to try and keep him there and concentrate on that. He is a ballhawk and we need more turnovers, so I would like to leave him there." 

Expectation for Rachaad White in Year Two:

The Bucs finished last in the league in rushing offense in 2022, averaging 76.9 yards per game on the ground (franchise worst). That forced Tom Brady to attempt a career-high 756 passing attempts at the age of 45. Despite the status of the team's ground game, rookie Rachaad White earned the role of RB1 on the depth chart. White concluded his first year with 481 yards on 129 rushes and an average of 3.7 yards per attempt. In the passing game, White contributed 290 yards on 50 receptions and two touchdowns. White displayed patience as a runner with a stellar second-gear in the open field. He is dangerous dual-threat back in space and created an upside as a pass-catcher. During the duration of the season, he improved in pass protection which allowed him to stay on the field for all three downs. Heading into the 2023 season, the staff will continue his development in all three phases. There is expected to be a greater emphasis on the run game in 2023 for the Bucs and White will be the centerpiece. 

"Get better and we talked about him becoming more of a complete back. I know the ball went on the ground probably a few too many times and we talked about with him holding the football number one, taking care of the football and then with the new offense, I look for him to continue to accelerate and get better in all phases to be a complete three-down back." 

Role of the Quarterback in 2023: 

The Bucs will not have the greatest of all time under center in 2023 but that does not mean the club will be unsuccessful. Bowles described he is "energized" by the upcoming quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. In detailing his evaluation of the quarterback position, Bowles candidly stated, "we are not looking for a guy to come in and be Superman." Rather, the staff is looking for the player who takes command of the huddle and rallies the offense. 

"You don't need to be the guy; you need to rely on the 10 guys around you. You don't need to be the guy. We are not looking for a guy to come in here and be Superman. We have great players, you have Mike Evans, you have Chris Godwin, you have Rachaad [White], you have Tristan [Wirfs], you have Ryan Jensen, you have Cade Otton coming; You have guys that you can play with and pieces, so you do not have to be the guy. You just really need to drive the car." 

Where Will Luke Goedeke Line Up in 2023? 

The Bucs' offensive line underwent significant change in 2022. Tampa Bay's depth was pushed to the limit when fifth-year guard Aaron Stinnie was carted off the field with a left knee injury in the third quarter of the club's preseason game against the Titans. Stinnie suffered ACL and MCL tears in the knee, bringing his 2022 season to an abrupt end. He was one of the competitors in the offseason battle to replace retired Pro Bowler Ali Marpet at left guard, and the most experienced player in group. The subsequent battle then featured second-year player Nick Leverett and rookie Luke Goedeke, a second-round pick in the 2022 draft. Goedeke won the starting gig next to Hainsey. He was a two-year starter in Central Michigan's zone-blocking scheme, lining up exclusively at right tackle. He faced a gauntlet of elite three-techniques during his first-year campaign, personifying the phrase "baptism by fire." Goedeke suffered a foot injury in the Bucs' 21-3 loss to the Panthers, making Nick Leverett the starter. The coaching staff begun using both interchangeably at the left guard position and given Leverett's production in the lineup during Goedeke's absence, he solidified a permanent starting role in the interior of the line. Bowles did not disclose where Goedeke will line up in 2023, but insisted he will "play somewhere on the line" either at guard or tackle. 

"I thought Luke started out learning and I think he is a very physical football player. I think he is going to help us this year. He is going to play somewhere on the line. We are not quite sure where yet. You really like him at guard, then he showed he can really play tackle at the end of the year so depending on the Draft and how the rest of free agency goes, we will find one of the two spots for him, but it is good to have the versatility."

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