Bowers, who caught the eye in drills early in training camp, had three tackles in the preseason opener Aug. 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars before sitting out last weekend’s game against the Miami Dolphins. He hasn’t practiced in more than a week.
“I think every day you don’t practice you’re hurting your chances [on making the team] and we’ve seen enough to like Da’Quan a lot, but the old reps that he’s not getting, someone else is getting them,” said head coach Lovie Smith. “The best way to beat your competition sometimes it’s just to stay on the field. You can’t get Walley Pipped. Da’Quan is trying to get back and again I think he has a future in the league whether it is as a defensive end outside or a more of a third down rush-guy inside.”
A second-round pick in 2011 out of Clemson, Bowers was ranked among the top players of that year’s draft. He missed the first six games of 2012 while recovering from an injury and missed three games last year with a knee injury. Bowers has just 5.5 sacks in his professional career.
Earlier in training camp, Smith had a different take on Bowers' performance.
“Da’Quan has been criticized around here a little bit, but I’ve been pretty pleased with what he’s done on the football field,” Smith said a few weeks ago. “Every day that I’ve been the head coach here with him he’s done some pretty good things, and he’s especially done some good things as a pass rusher inside and outside on first down.”
Whether or not Smith is attempting to send Bowers a message with his recent comments remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Bowers still has some work to do to impress the coaching staff if he wants to continue his career in Tampa Bay.
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