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A Player's Prespective On Todd Bowles

Sidecar Falcon

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Arizona Cardinals free safety Rashad Johnson figured change was destined after the 2013 season when he heard whispers about defensive coordinator Todd Bowles being a hot head-coaching candidate.

It was only natural for Johnson to assume such chatter would intensify after this past season, considering how Bowles continued to impress the league with his defensive style.

"We messed with him about it a little bit here and there when we had our exit meetings," Johnson said. "We were like, 'Coach, whats up? Youve got your bags packed yet? Did you start moving things out? And he was like, 'Nothings set in stone yet; still a lot of interviewing to do.'

Arizona's Rashad Johnson on defensive coordinator Todd Bowles: "He's really good at putting schemes together to make his guys successful."

"We definitely expect someone to get him."

That someone could be the Atlanta Falcons. Bowles appears to be at the top of owner Arthur Blanks wish list along with Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The Falcons interviewed both candidates, but cant conduct a second interview with Quinn until the Seahawks are knocked out of the playoffs or until after the Super Bowl.

Bowles is available now, although no second interview was scheduled as of Sunday. He reportedly has a second interview coming with the San Francisco 49ers, along with strong interest from the Chicago Bears and New York Jets.

Johnson, who played at Alabama with Falcons receiver Julio Jones, talked about what he would tell his former college teammate if Bowles ends up in Atlanta.

"I would tell him, 'You guys are getting a **** of a coach,'" Johnson said. "I would tell him, 'Youre getting a really, really good guy. You guys are going to like his demeanor.'

'Hes not crazy yelling and this and that. Hes a laid-back guy. Youre going to respect him because, at the end of the day, he wants what everybody wants, and thats to win."

Bowles, a former NFL defensive back for eight seasons with the Washington Redskins and 49ers, has enjoyed success as a coordinator. He has spent the past two seasons in that role for the Cardinals after doing the same for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last season Bowles defense ranked 6th in the NFL in yards allowed per game, and first against the run, while allowing the fewest yards in team history for a 16-game season (1,351). This past season, the Cardinals were 24 th in yards allowed per game and 13 th in rushing yards allowed, but still made a quite an impact on a playoff team. Bowles crew boasted the leagues fifth-best scoring defense (18.7 ppg.) and third-best red-zone percentage (43.9 percent).

Bowles is known for his aggressive approach.

"Oh yeah, Coach Bowles is a very aggressive guy," Johnson said. "He loves the fact that he has guys on the back end that he can trust in certain situations. I think every game we were in this year that was close and we were on the field to win the game, it was a zero blitz. It got to the point that wed be laughing on the field, because the middle linebacker would be waiting on the call and wed be like, 'What you waiting on the call for? We know what its going to be. Just go ahead and make it. Just go ahead and get lined up.'

"Hes very aggressive, but at the same time, he knows how to mix it up because teams have learned that hes a very aggressive guy. Hes just very smart about how he brings his pressures."

Johnson called Bowles a "players' coach" and put a little context behind the label. He recalled getting burned by Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews on a third-and-12 play for 23 yards back in Week 8.

"We were in zero coverage and I let Matthews beat me across my face," Johnson explained. "I came to the sideline and the DBs coach was out of his mind going crazy. Then Coach Bowles comes up to me and says, 'Hey man, I saw him give you the stick for the outside move. If he beat you on the out, thats my fault. I put you in a position to play it from inside-out. Just dont bite on the outside move.' And I was like, 'OK, Coach, I got you.'

"He tells me he made the call and put me in that position. Youve got to respect that."

Thats not to say Bowles goes around absorbing blame for every misstep.

"Its not like hes going to let you slide," Johnson said. "Hes definitely going to let you know when youve done something wrong. I think the one thing we respect most is that he treats everyone the same. Whether youre an All-Pro or a rookie, when we came in and watched film, he didnt hold back in saying something to the All-Pro.

"Hes straight-forward and honest. And he's been able to take the personnel that he has and know how to put them in positions to exercise their strengths. If you cant do something, hes not going to call on you to do it. Hes really good at putting schemes together to make his guys successful. He's definitely a great coach."


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