The outside linebacker, who was taken in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, acknowledged feeling frustrated about being scratched. But he also expressed his faith in the coaching staff’s decisions to shape the game day roster.
“You want to go out there and play,” said Bowser, 23. “You want to go out there with the guys and play hard and make plays. But it is what it is. I’m a player, the coaches coach, and you’ve just got to deal with whatever decisions they have. Whenever your name is called, just be ready.”
After finishing his rookie season with nine tackles, three sacks and one interception, Bowser has made only one tackle on 59 snaps, which represents just 15 percent of the defensive snaps this season. He has slipped behind starters Terrell Suggs (4½ sacks) and Matthew Judon (1½) and reserves Za’Darius Smith (5½) and Tim Williams (2) on the depth chart at outside linebacker.
Coach John Harbaugh characterized Bowser’s deactivation as “more of a numbers thing.”
“We have so many outside linebackers that it’s kind of hard to decide who you’re going to sit out,” he said. “Some of that stuff is going to come down to special teams and who plays a bigger role. Probably in the fine line of special teams, the inside backers probably win out sometimes over the outside backers, and I think that’s the numbers. We got Tyus off the 46-man this week. So he can continue to build on the special teams. He practiced really well last week on special teams, he practiced well on defense. Tyus is a really good player. So it’s a good problem to have. But when you get everybody healthy, it gets pretty competitive as far as who’s out there on Sunday.”
Bowser acknowledged that he has much to learn about navigating the league, and he plans to use Sunday’s experience as another lesson.
“I can only control what I can control and just do whatever I have to do in practice,” he said. “I have to continue to be consistent, continue to put my stuff on film, and just stay patient. I’m a big believer in God, and good things will come to those who are patient.”