Bowie, a seventh-round selection in April’s NFL Draft, will start his fourth game on Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals in a nationally televised matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium. While it hasn’t all been smooth sailing to this point, nothing that has transpired against the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans has been able to take the wind of his sails.
And that is saying something, because Bowie’s first assignment was blocking the best defensive lineman on the planet: J.J. Watt, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the Texans.
Bowie is surrounded by people who are willing to help him – from line coach and zone-blocking guru Tom Cable; to right guard
“J.R. has been real helpful,” Bowie said. “If we come out of the huddle, he’s helping me with the calls.”
The biggest thing Bowie has learned is the same thing that caused Sweezy the most problems last season, when he was making the transition from college defensive lineman to NFL guard.
“Just keying my guys on pass protection,” Bowie said. “I think I’m picking up guys better, knowing my assignments.”
Another improvement for Bowie, who began his college career at Oklahoma State but finished it last season at Division II Northeastern State in Oklahoma, has been in his preparation.
“That’s one thing I got better at after I got into the league, I got better at my preparation,” he said. “Say we play Sunday, I come up here Monday and get the next game’s lesson plan and I go over that and I do it that night. Then I come up Tuesday morning, it’s just a lot of prep.”
Then there’s always Cable to lean on when Bowie isn’t quite sure what to make of a certain situation.
“He’s helped me a lot, just understanding the game of football better,” Bowie said. “There are not too many coaches like him that know the assignments, the technique, how to get it done. He’s been a big help to me.”
For example? “When I first came in, I was struggling with my feet as far as technique,” Bowie said. “That’s one of the big things he’s been pounding on me about, and I feel like I’m getting better at that.”