Arians didn't waste any time getting started in his new gig, as the 66-year-old reportedly hired ex-New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles to be the Bucs' defensive coordinator. Albert Breer of The MMQB provided the news.
Bowles, who coached New York from 2015 to 2018 before he was relieved of his duties at the end of the season, was the Cardinals' defensive coordinator under Arians in 2013-14. In that time, the Cardinals featured the NFL's No. 7 and No. 5 scoring defenses, and Bowles was named the Associated Press' Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014.
Arians, who has a 49-30-1 record as an NFL head coach (plus a 9-3 mark as an interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012), led the Cardinals to the 2015 NFC Championship Game after a 13-3 season. He retired after the 2017 season.
Bowles has a lot of work to do, as Tampa Bay allowed the second-most points in the league and the fourth-most yards per play. The defense also ranked last in defense-adjusted value over average, per Football Outsiders.
Bowles has young talent at his disposal, however, as six players 24 years old or younger started at least five games apiece in 2018.
The status of a few veterans is in question, though. Jenna Laine of ESPN.com provided more insight:
"Bowles typically runs a 3-4 defense, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is due $13 million in 2019, while WILL linebacker Lavonte David is due $9.75 million. Neither have guaranteed money left on their contracts. They also invested significantly in defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul by trading for him last year. Some big decisions will have to be made between now and March."
David led the team with 120 tackles, and the 30-year-old McCoy recorded 28 tackles and six sacks and is a six-time Pro Bowler. Pierre-Paul led the team with 12.5 sacks.
Regardless of what the Bucs decide, the NFC South looks open enough for another team to challenge the New Orleans Saints. The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers each finished a disappointing 7-9, so the Arians-Bowles combination could propel the Bucs past them. A last-place schedule next year could also help.
Despite Bowles' 24-40 tenure in New York, he looks like a sharp hire by Arians. If the two can recreate the magic they had in Arizona, then the Bucs could be a playoff team.