Bowles meets with the media
The Lions trotted out Dolphins assistant head coach Todd Bowles, the second finalist for their head-coaching job, to meet the media Tuesday. Bowles said he's scheduled to interview in St. Louis later this week, but quipped of the Lions, This is the only job I want. Other highlights of his 14-minute press conference:
On what he learned working with Bill Parcells: We go back from the Redskins and the Giants playing days so we always had a rivalry. We're both from New Jersey. I was with him with the Jets and again for a few years in Dallas. From the time I got to the Jets he told me I'd be a head coach in this league and he taught me accordingly. He kept me by his side, he taught me step by step the structure of how to put a team in place and keep a team in place and not be a one-hit wonder.
On the dramatic turnarounds he's been a part of in Cleveland and Miami: I know the blueprint of turning a team around. I've taken the long road. I've been on good teams in Dallas, bad teams in Cleveland and a bad team in Miami last year that turned it around. I think I bring insight and a blueprint to turn it around.
On the blueprint the Dolphins followed this year, when they won the AFC East title a year after going 1-15: The first thing you have to do is you have to condition the players mentally to buy into the system. They buy into the system and they believe in the system then you have a blueprint to work on that. The second part is emotionally. You have to make them forget about 1-15 or 0-16. When we were in Miami last year we were 1-15, what we brought to the players was we're trying to win the AFC East. When you're 1-15, mentally you're down. I don't care how you slice it, between the media, you losing every week, your neighbors calling you losers and everything, you're damaged mentally. You have to get past that mental part and you have to just get down to work and you have to give them a goal to shoot for and that's winning the NFC North.
On how big a challenge it is taking over an 0-16 team: It's not that bad. ... You can't gut 53 players on the roster and draft 53 new ones. You have solid, foundation-type football players here. You have to weed out the bad ones, you have to make the other ones buy into the organization. You as a coach have to understand between the personnel part and the team part, you have to bring those two together as far as finding the right player.
Describing his offensive philosophy: You have to run the ball because that keeps the defense off the field, that gets time of possession correct, that makes us wear the other team down and that wins ballgames. Passing game looks nice. Calvin's a great receiver, you have to get him the ball. You have a great complimentary passing game, but at the same time you must be able to run the ball in this league to get by.
On if he'd play a 3-4 or 4-3 defense: Defensively I've come from a 3-4 scheme, I've been in a 4-3 scheme. You want to have the personnel to kind of fit what you do. If you don't, you can have a hybrid version of a 4-3 until you can get a 3-4 scheme in place. But I've coached in a 4-3, too, so if the personnel like Ernie (Sims) or (Cliff) Avril or those guys don't fit in a 3-4 we'll play a 4-3.
What he'd do with the first pick in the draft: We sit down and we try to make a collaborative effort of what's best for our team. There's going to be a great player there obviously being the first pick in the draft, but he has to be great for our team. We have to fill a lot of voids, we have to find out which void we have to fill first, so I'll sit down with Mr. (Tom) Lewand and Mr. (Martin) Mayhew if I'm the coach and we'll discuss what we need to do.