The Battle For Weakside Linebacker

July 19th, 2012

Barring something unforeseen, Joe believes Lavonte David will start this season at weakside linebacker.

Last season the linebacker play for the Bucs was miserable beyond words. It didn’t help that powers that be at One Buc Palace came up with the wild idea of having a rookie play out of position with no offseason to speak of and place him in the starting lineup no less!

If the Bucs didn’t have the worst linebacker play in the NFL last year, Joe is open to suggestions as to what team was worse. Bulls would scoff at calling the second level “matador.”

The drafting of linebacker stud Lavonte David of Nebraska should help. On (intrepid Scott Smith?) breaks down one of the top battles of training camp: weakside linebacker.

Adding to the field of linebacker candidates was obviously important to the Buccaneers this spring, as they traded up to grab David in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. David is clearly seen as a potential starter, given both his draft position and the fact that he spent the team’s final mini-camp running with the first team defense. Schiano has made it clear, however, that he will continue to try different combinations with that three-man group, and David knows nothing will be handed to him.

The former Nebraska star is an intriguing candidate, though. He was a tackling machine for the Cornhuskers and the Buccaneers were deficient in that department in 2011, ranking last in the NFL against the run. David also has outstanding speed, which could help him develop into the kind of sideline-to-sideline playmaker that has driven Buccaneer defenses of the past (think Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson).

Najee Goode and Rennie Curran — who Joe saw practice quite a bit with the starting linebacker unit this spring — were also mentioned as contenders for the void left by Geno Hayes.

In Joe’s mind, it is Lavonte David’s position to lose. The team has a lot invested in him. If, for some reason, David is slow to learn or has an injury, Joe’s money is on Curran starting at weakside linebacker.

11 Responses to “The Battle For Weakside Linebacker”

  1. Dini's Biceps Says:

    I think Rennie Curran is going to be an unsung hero for the LB core this year. Dekoda Watson needs to make a big leap this year. L. David only knows how to play 1 Way (balls out and hair on fire). That CRAZY Quincy Black contract really hurt this team last year and this year too (smh)

  2. SeminoleSam Says:

    Dude, we’re 16 million under the cap. Black’s contract isn’t hurting anyone except the jabrony that gave it to him and us fans having to watch him

  3. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    I agree that Blacks contract is not hurting us this year…so far. With $16m left to work with, I’m happy. It leaves money for emergencies.

    Right now the real battles are about depth and being next in line.

  4. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    It al;do didn’t hurt us last year, Dino.

  5. 941-Bucs Says:

    I would really like to see Najee step and do well. Maybe in a year or so move to starting MLB and move Foster to Strongside, while David is on the weak side.

    Goode is a better run stuffer than Foster is. If Black turns into a ghost on game day again this year i have a feeling he will be benched and possibly cut.

    Watson and Curran are my x-factors in this group. I have a feeling Curran may be the cream of this LB corp. With Watson i see potential to be a dominate pass rushing LB. Only problem is. With Bowers out for most of the year, so will they make him play with his hand in the dirt?

  6. buc the saints Says:

    Watch anything you can find on David and you’ll see he’s a stud. How many off-seasons have we been told “this is the year quincy black will put it all together”. Im tired of waiting on his potential that never shows up. Make a tackle quincy.

  7. Andrewbucsfan Says:

    941-buc, Watson being a dominate pass rusher? Let’s not throw words around… Just because raheem would make Watson try to run around the OT which rarely worked doesn’t mean he’s a great pass rusher. well soon find out what our new coaches, many of who have Lb backgrounds think about this unit

  8. TheRealVince Says:

    As we were talking, Black just missed another tackle.

  9. Garry Says:

    When Black was said to be a good pass rusher that was throwing words around, at least Watson has some skills. (though I do love when Black sacked Matt Moore two years ago.)

  10. Mike J Says:

    In the Bucs’ NG, I predicted that David was the guy Tampa Bay traded up to get, so I am a bit prejudiced.He is instinctive, and recognizes plays rapidly, getting there quickly with the requisite attitude.Jake Gaither would have loved him. I like his ability to cover ground; he can even backpedal, and will give the Bucs some options in blitz packages due to his coverage ability. I just hope Lavonte can hold up against the speed & power of NFL backs.

  11. RustyRhino Says:

    Renne Curran is another tackling machine as is David as is Goode, I like it that we brought in Lb’s who only know how to tackle you hit you run you thru. Let it be known that if you do miss tackles this season the guy behind you will pass you by on the depth char quickly because these LB’s have the film of them doing it. Sure some not at the NFL level, yet.

    I hope we see Watson light a fire under Blacks cleats, with just this type of actions. He can play.

    I bet Coach Schiano won’t follow Coach Morris in I will tollerate you till I can replace you. Mantra BS. You are playing bad go sit down, next player front & center your up.

    I think we are building this type of depth to our lb & team in general.
    I can’t wait to see 45 busting heads.
    GO BUCS!