Could Lavonte David Be Elevating LB Play?

June 17th, 2012

Joe was so disgusted by the play of the Bucs defense last year he doesn’t know where to start. During the grotesque 10-game losing streak to close the season, Joe didn’t know whether to chug Jack Daniels or Mylanta the defense played so horribly.

The key culprit was the play of the linebackers. Sure, Mason Foster racked up tackles (not like he didn’t have any chances to rack up tackles). Foster was playing out of position, had zero offseason and, if that wasn’t enough, he was saddled with the important responsibility of calling defensive plays.

Talk about being thrown into the fire.

Getting little help from either side of Foster, or from up front, Joe cannot think of a worse linebacker corps in the NFL in 2011.

That seems to be changing under the New Schiano Order, which places signifcant emphasis on stopping the run, something the Bucs haven’t done for years. Sure, it’s awfully early, training camp is six weeks away, and for the handful of practices the Bucs have had, they have been in underwear. It’s nearly impossible to gauge how linebackers are playing when contact is disallowed, but by the judgement of Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, rookie linebacker Lavonte David is already shining, as Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times documents.

David is progressing and living up to the high expectations. Billed as a sideline-to-sideline playmaker with elite coverage skills, David has shown some of those traits.

“If you were just playing five-on-five backyard tackle, I’d bet he’d make a ton of tackles, and that’s what we’re counting on him doing out here.” defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said. “He’s got to learn all the intricacies of the defense and coverage, but he’s instinctive. I’ll bet he makes 10 tackles in the first preseason game. Not to put any pressure on him.

“He is a talent and I expect him to be a playmaker. … I anticipate him having an excellent year.”

This gets Joe so fired up he could start downing beers… on a Sunday morning, no less.

Joe is enamoured with David. Joe watched quite a few Nebraska games last year and astute readers will recall Joe waxing about the Bucs acquiring David before the 2011 season was completed.

The Bucs sorely missed a linebacker who pursued from bench to bench.

19 Responses to “Could Lavonte David Be Elevating LB Play?”

  1. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    I don’t really know how to feel at this point. It’s hard to not be excited. But at the same time, it’s hard to hope for extended success as well…simply because we’ve been let down so much.

    Raheem Morris had one good year. The reasons for it are up for debate, but it happened. We all know the result of his reign as it is still fresh in our minds.

    Going back in time, Jon Gruden was certainly a better coach than Raheem Morris, but he also took us on an emotional roller coaster…one year up, the next was down. It wasn’t until his last two years that he finally put together back-to-back winning seasons.

    But throughout Jon Gruden’s years, aside from his first one, we still experienced plenty of disappointment. He was rude, loud mouthed and set a really poor example for how a man should treat others. Don’t get me wrong…I would have given him at least one more year as head coach, maybe even two seeing as how the lockout was looming. We certainly could not have done worse.

    I remember when Dungy was hired. I was a little disappointed. I actually liked Sam. I felt he was great at drafting talent. I thought, given 2 more years, he may have been the one to turn the team around. At least that’s what I thought at the time.

    But Dungy quickly grew on me. He was Christian and it translated as not being preachy, but being moral. I came to really like him. Yes, I was one of the ones that felt he needed to be replaced at the end…simply because he seemed incapable of getting into the big game (it still took him years with one of the top offenses in the league), but I would take him back in a heartbeat.

    Schiano, to me, is a hybrid of Tony Dungy and Bill Belichick. He’s not as “holy” as Dungy, but he’s got the Christian values. And at the same time, he’s not exactly like Belichick, but he’s close in terms of personality and coaching style.

    For me the questions to be answered are:

    a. Will Schiano go to the extreme in regard to having things his way and thereby alienate players and coaches?

    b. Will Schiano stay loyal to Josh Freeman? I think the most important step in developing a quarterback is to make it clear he is your “guy” and will remain your “guy”. I don’t mind a young gun being brought in later to prepare…even if drafted in the first round (like Green Bay did), but Freeman is still very young. In fact, he’s only now at the age some quarterbacks get drafted at. This tells me he still has time to grow and improve…and Josh is a high-moral guy as well. He works hard too.

    c. Will Schiano maintain his moral standards if things get rough? Right now, it’s a honeymoon. Later, if the team has a bad year in say…three years…how will Schiano handle it? We saw how Morris handled it.

    d. And finally, will all this translate to wins? We’re seeing some great-looking players being brought in. We’re hearing some great things. But with the new CBA, we won’t really know if they are good until training camp and beyond. Really, I expect at least two seasons before things get really better here, but I also have this feeling that we may see a repeat of the Gruden affect in Schiano’s first year…not a superbowl, of course, but a possible playoff berth.

  2. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    e. Can Schiano put together a dominant defense? I love the thought of a good offense, but let’s face it…Tampa is a defensive town.

  3. Stevek Says:

    Hope Lavonte lights a fire under Q.Black’s a$$.

  4. OB Says:

    Joe/Pete – I don’t think the Bucs have had a really great coach since John McKay. They were like some of the players, better else where because of ownership or personality issues. Grudin was reckless in my opinion because he only lived for the moment and never thought ahead, even in a game. The SB happened because the players had leadership from within and Grudin was not yet completely in charge like after the SB.

    The key question is Shiano a leader who the team will follow, if he is, then even this year will be a pleasant suprise. A great leader knows when to bend, when to demand, and when to comfort. They have assistants that can extend him. Look at any great coach, military leader, CEO, etc., they all were this. Did they have faults, yes, everyone does, but they didn’t matter.

    Coach Shiano has been strict but he has shown compassion for Price and the new cornerback. So there is hope, if Ronde, Vince, Josh, and Carl Nix buys in, it is all over.

    Happy Father’s day to all

  5. Garv Says:

    These are once again exciting times for Buccaneer fans. There’s a legitimate positive vibe, a feeling of things getting done.
    Having a LB who flies around like Lavonte David apparently does, a guy who can cover and tackle? Sure I like that.

    BTW, I enjoy the Dutcher’s posts. Thoughtful, positive and educated. Guess I’m with those who enjoy life and like to see good things coming. Last season was a nightmare for many reasons but first and foremost was the total lack of effort I saw. Terrible tackling, as if it were a forgotten skill the players could not be bothered with. Players like Winslow making bad decisions and screaming on the sidelines for selfish reasons. awful.

    No more! I like knowing that I’m going to see a TEAM effort, a team EFFORT!

  6. Paul Says:

    “If you were just playing five-on-five backyard tackle”

    Damn, If we had him last year, we would’ve been set. That was Raheem’s Defensive scheme.

  7. Dini's Biceps Says:

    Our front seven is by far the weak link on the team. For him to stand out shows how poorly we need help & lack depth. If our M.A.S.H. Unit D-Line doesn’t perform, the LB’s won’t really matter (just like last year)…..The Glazers are still sitting on $16,000,000.00 Million and still have the most Cap Room (if not, near the top again this year too…smh)

  8. ClayBURN94 Says:

    Way to ruin the vibe Dini. I think one of the most important things that Schiano is bringing to the defense is all eleven guys hustling to the ball. Raheem preached but never coached it(As if he ever coached anything). Schiano is re-teaching the basic fundamentals that any defense needs to succeed and it seems as though the same thing is hapening with the offense with sullivan and all of the position coaches. Other teams around the NFL probably aren’t teaching fundamentals as much but the bucs have the youngest team in the NFL. Like Schiano says and Dungy used to say,”take care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves.” Happy fathersday and GO BUCS!!

  9. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Why complain about the the Bucs having 16,000,000 in cap? That is a great thing. We just picked up two absolute studs in free agency and have money left over to do it again.

  10. Have A Nice Day Says:

    As well as extra money to resign a few guys if they perform well. Bennett and Blount are my bets.

  11. ClayBURN94 Says:

    Oh wow as soon as I type a post about fundamentals check out joes next article!

  12. Rrsrq Says:

    Happy Father’s Day JBFANS. GO BUCS

  13. Miguel Grande Says:

    @Garv “I enjoy the Dutcher’s posts. Thoughtful, positive and educated.
    Guess I’m with those who enjoy life and like to see good things coming.”

    @Pete Dutcher “I actually liked Sam. I felt he was great at drafting talent.”

    Sam (Laughing Stock) Wyche selected Trent Dilfer with the 6th overall pick in the 1994 draft. Dooming Sam’s future as a head coach. Arguably the worst QB in NFL history.

    Prior to 1995, the Bucs were the laughing stock of pro sports. The team suffered through twelve consecutive double-digit seasons and had virtually no draft success during that time frame, despite having very high picks in each of those dozen years.

    That was until newly named general manager Rich McKay made some slick draft-day trades to secure future Hall of Famers Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. NFL Network called the Bucs 1995 draft as the tenth best in league history.

  14. Garv Says:

    Mr. Grande of the Insipid Islands! How nice of you to comment from the fog!
    I remember being disappointed when Sam was fired, thinking he was turning the team around. Obviously hiring Tony Dungy was the right thing to do, though it took some luck with some failed hires.

    Anyway, it’s 2012 now and though time is a different dimension when experienced on drugs it’s time to look at the positives of today’s Buccaneers Mr. Grandee.

    Actually being here and st the games during the awful years makes me all the more grateful for the good years. I choose to believe we are on the way back. You Mr. Grandee, obviously do not. You have made your point, you may nod off now.

  15. Miguel Grande Says:

    I apologize for making fun of Garv, it’s just that he makes it so easy. It’s kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.

    I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors participating in team sports which gives him such great insight and wisdom, which I can never hope to have.

    Are there “team” sports in the Special Olympics?

  16. Garv Says:

    Poor Mr. errr Dr. Grandee. no need to apologize from your den of hemp.
    I do not participate in team sports at this stage of my life but am merely a fan and season ticket holder. I consider myself fortunate to be both, very fortunate.

    As for having more insight and wisdom than Mr. errr Dr. Grandee? LOL Not saying much, is it? So does one of those fish in the barrel Mr. errr Dr. Grandee types of.
    You know, the one floating belly up next to the soggy roach.

    Let me now when you slip by US Customs Mr. errr Dr. Grandee. OK?

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    Props Joe, you called it. I’m cautiously optimistic.

  18. Brain Says:

    His game film is all over youtube. He’s the best player we drafted and will be a perennial Pro Bowler imo. His range, instincts and ability to evade blockers is reminiscent of Derrick Brooks. I haven’t been this excited about a new Buc since Keyshawn Johnson.

  19. Ladyz Says:

    Miguel; you touched a raw nerve in me when you made light of those who participate in the “Special Olympics”. You should be ashamed and be a real man and apologize. And to think you would demean children and child like adults on a day dedicated to fathers who protect and provide for his wife and children no matter what their mental condition. That type of levity directed to and at the expense of those who can not defend themselves is inexcusable and something no man/father would do. To all fathers, ” Happy Fathers Day”.
    Go Bucs!