Jason Licht appeared on 620 WDAE with Steve Duemig yesterday, answering questions and discussing a variety of topics. Most of it was fairly generic, as these interviews tend to be, but one thing did stand out to me: he called out Da'Quan Bowers.
"The one player that we hope shows up in shape and proves to us that he wants to be a football player is Da'Quan Bowers," Licht said. "We need him to show up. He needs to prove to us that he wants to be on this team. And we hope that he does, and we're rooting for him."
Last year, Bowers was supposed to be the starting left defensive end, but ended up playing just 19% of the defensive snaps over the season. Instead, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and William Gholston received most of the playing time. Bowers was still the most disruptive edge rusher on the team last year, on a per-snap basis, but that says more about the other defensive ends than it does Bowers.
The fourth-year player has certainly been very positive on his Twitter account, regularly posting messages about how he's working hard and going to have a great season. He even agreed with Licht's assessment to the media this morning, per JoeBucsFan.
2 options- make progress or make excuses !!— Da'Quan Bowers (@DaQuanBowers91) July 22, 2014
Let's hope that this is reality, but Bowers' recent history doesn't speak in his favor. To be fair, most of that recent history has been hampered by injuries minor and major, but he hasn't been able to turn his immense talent into production at any point in his career.
But he's still a very talented player, and easily the most physically gifted of the players competing for playing time at left defensive end. He has the size, power and speed to be a disruptive pass rusher -- he just hasn't used those gifts to grab a starting role.