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Da'Quan Bowers: 'Double-digit sacks' or bust for Bucs

Around The League's Chris Wesseling identified Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller as a premier candidate to break out on offense this season.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers plans to do the same on defense, but heading into his third NFL campaign, time is running out.

"I'm looking to be dominant," Bowers said Tuesday, via The Tampa Tribune. "I take the responsibility for that. Anything less than double-digit sacks is a failure for the season. ... I think the way coach (Greg) Schiano has the scheme set up, and my capabilities, and having (defensive tackle) Gerald (McCoy) draw all the attention, it could be a whole lot easier to get double-digits sacks. You just have to work as a unit and not have individual rush planes, just work as a combined unit."

Bowers is part of a stout line that stuffed the run better than any in football in 2012, but too often he's been a ghost.

After starting six games and recording 1.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011, Bowers missed the start of last season with a torn Achilles tendon suffered in May. He returned in October to record three sacks, but was arrested in February for allegedly carrying a handgun into LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, N.Y.

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The Bucs reportedly let Michael Bennett hit free agency because they see Bowers as a "player with more upside," but Schiano said in March there's pressure to break out. "He has to," Schiano said at the time.

This week, Schiano chimed in again, saying: "If he wants to be more than just a situational pass rusher, he's got to grind through it, he's got to go through the pain of being an every-down player. ... I'm sure banking on it. But you've got to do it."

The Bucs have shown plenty of faith and patience in Bowers. On a rebuilt and potentially nasty defense, he's running out of excuses for why they should wait too much longer.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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