Best Defensive Player On The Field

September 12th, 2016



A few days before the Bucs departed for Atlanta, Kwon Alexander admitted he left a lot of plays on the Georgia Dome field last year, vowing he wasn’t going to let that happen again.

Mission accomplished.

Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David did their jobs very well in Sunday’s 31-24 triumph, but let’s not kid ourselves — Alexander was the best defensive player on either team.

By far.

Alexander’s closing speed was startling as he led a stingy rush defense. And while still learning the intricacies of NFL pass defense, Alexander’s athleticism and determination to be great stamps him as a key member of the franchise’s future.

Alexander wrecked Atlanta’s game plan with 15 unassisted tackles, nine more than any other player on the field. He added a sack, two tackles for loss and a team-leading two quarterback hits.

That game ball could just as easily have been placed in his hands instead of Dirk Koetter’s.

“I started last Saturday preparing, putting everything in order,” said Alexander. “Like I said, preparation is a lot. When you’re getting ready for a game, and you know what is going on, you’re going to make a lot of tackles and a lot of plays, so preparation is key.”

kwonfalconsIt also helps to have the kind of instincts you can’t teach.

Simplicity Rules

Alexander just turned 22 and his growth curve has been rather astonishing. When he was stolen in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, he was supposed to back up veteran free agent Bruce Carter at middle linebacker.

Instead, Alexander forced Carter to the bench with his dynamic play in training camp. Carter is gone, picked up by the Jets in the offseason as a backup. In New York’s season opener, only two Jets who suited up failed to get in the game — backup quarterback Geno Smith and Bruce Carter.

Alexander doesn’t try to overthink his position. He likes keeping things simple, offering his Four Basic Steps to Success: “Play hard, play fast, make big plays, have fun … and win.”

Before a hostile crowd, Alexander just went 5-for-5.

“That’s a good front seven, there’s no question about it,” Ryan said after Tampa Bay assumed sole possession of first place in the NFC South. “They’ve got a really good defensive line and one of the premier players in Gerald McCoy, he’s very talented. Their two linebackers to me (Alexander and David) are some of the most underrated players in the NFL.”

In the span of only 13 games, Alexander may have established himself as Tampa Bay’s most valuable defensive presence. McCoy and David have the big contracts, but Alexander owns the big upside and the biggest potential impact.

Redemption Tour

The proof is on the scoreboard, where the Bucs went winless down the stretch last year during Alexander’s four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Alexander let his teammates down, just when the 6-6 Bucs were poised on the fringes of the NFC wild-card chase. He won’t rest until he makes amends.

And if this is his personal redemption tour, it couldn’t have started any better.

“It felt great,” he said after the Bucs silenced the Georgia Dome crowd. “We all came out of the gate hard and had fun out there. When you have fun, you can make great plays.”

Alexander always looks like he’s having fun playing the game. He carries himself with confidence, on and off the field, as evidenced by a personal Twitter account that goes by the name: “Alexander the Great.”

On a thrilling Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, Alexander lived up to that billing.

It’s just a start, but Buc fans are beginning to get a sense that No. 58 is a thrill ride waiting to happen.

26 Responses to “Best Defensive Player On The Field”

  1. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    He came and leveled Matt Ryan on one particular play I cringed in my seat. “Nightmare” was leveling everything movin man.

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    The most exciting part of this year, will be a legitimate argument of who is the best defender on the field!!! An argument of who is the big playmaker each game because several players can be argued for!!!!! And that will be very fun to watch!!! We get to compare multiple great plays during games!!!!!!

    And thank you Coach Smitty for putting players in position to make great impactful plays!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!

  3. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    This dude hits with so much force..

  4. tmaxcon Says:

    Kwon’s speed is ridiculous…. keep it up young man. He’s a joy to watch

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    Alexander the Great! That’s settled.

  6. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Those who remember their 8th grade general science realize that momentum/force is the result of size/mass X speed.

    Think about it. In hockey it’s really exciting because a 180 lb guy can flatten a 220 pound guy if he’s skating and the other guy is just getting up to speed.
    You can make up for size to some degree with the speed involved in skating.

    While the same principle holds true for football it’s hard for a 180lb guy to run so much faster that he can neutralize the much bigger guys.

    Somehow Kwon takes angles and has such anticipation and terrific speed that he plays waaaaay larger than his listed 227 lbs.

    He made a hit yesterday that was frightening…I think it was on Devonta and the entire stadium noticed.

  7. Jbeachbuc Says:

    So… Are we gonna add Kwon to Lovies good list? Or was he Jason’s all the way???

  8. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Love the refresher lesson St. Pete great observation good Sir.

  9. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I like that first line. “Momentum/force and size/mass x speed. Sounds like the scientific break down of Kwon if you ask me. I’ll be using that all season Pete.

  10. K2 Says:

    I hate when writers say, “he let his team down.” He made a dumb mistake and he own it. He was very embarssed by his mistake and made it clear that it won’t happen again. It was a value life lesson. Oh, by the way if someone else made a mistake Kwon would be the first to step up…play better to make up for a missing player.

  11. Dave Says:

    When you play a team sport and do something stupid to get suspended, thus not being able to suit up and play for your team, you let them down.

  12. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    It wasn’t really a mistake. Taking PEDs is a horrible decision that he made. I love the way he plays but that whole energy drink story was BS and any knowledgeable fan that knows how the process works knows this.

  13. Old Time Buc Says:

    Kwon was great, no other way to put it. He deserves all the accolades Nole and others have said. I also liked the way LD played and the way McCoy played big when needed. I guess I should mention that I guess I have to eat my words about Conte, at least for one game, still not completely sold on him.

  14. DB55 Says:

    Watched the game again and Kwons tackles were amaze balls. The kid is a monster, a rockstar, we should call him the red bull.

  15. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Conte saved two TD’s from being committed yesterday..Conte stepped up to the plate indeed.

    And Kwon..lordie lord…this is just the beginning for him..

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    What does Kwon mean he left plays on the field in ATL last year? He had an amazing game. Kwon was the best player on that defense last year, period – and that’s no slight to McCoy or David who were Pro Bowlers, he was just that good. What an amazing 1-2-3 punch we have with those 3 guys, now if we had some NFL caliber safeties the defense might end up being pretty good.

  17. Pickgrin Says:

    Another very nicely written article Ira. You have a way with words. A good way.

    Kwons rise to budding NFL superstar in 13 games has been amazing. The rookie they couldn’t keep off the field from day 1 has become the dude you don’t EVER want to see flying towards you in his 2nd year.

    Kwon is already the undisputed leader of this defense after only one game this year. He may not be a “captain” – but make no mistake – he runs this defense. Kwon is in charge out there. He is the emotional leader and the production leader. And he’s got Mike Smith in his ear the whole game.

    And the beauty of this “astonishing” ascension from 4th round pick to legit top 5 NFL LBer in his 2nd year – is that Jason Licht knew all along that Kwon had the talent to be this good. Licht said in an interview that Kwon Alexander was the 28th best player on the Bucs big board heading into the 2015 draft. A 1st round talent as judged by the Buccaneers scouting/drafting brain trust.

    Point being – how many other teams had Kwon rated that highly? Probably none or he wouldn’t have lasted until the 124th pick. Licht would have likely drafted Kwon much higher if he could have – but there was no way Jason was coming out of day 2 without having picked up a tackle and a guard to help protect the newly acquired franchise QB. Both those Oline players BTW were also rated as 1st rounders on the Bucs board going in to the 2015 draft – so your GM netted the Buccaneers 4 First round talents in 2015 with 4 selections.

    The future is bright for this franchise folks. With Jason Licht identifying and bringing in the talent – Dirk Koetter calling the offensive plays – Jameis Winston leading the offense and Kwon Alexander leading the defense – I’m telling you right now that BIG things are on the horizon for this franchise over the next decade. We might only win 8 or 9 games this year – but the potential for more – even this year – is absolutely there. One or 2 more solid drafts and this team is going to be a juggernaut for years to come.

    And we all get to sit back and enjoy the ride…

  18. Buck in Jax Says:

    Pilgrim, awesome post brother. Thanks.

  19. Joe Says:


    So… Are we gonna add Kwon to Lovies good list? Or was he Jason’s all the way???

    Since Jason was in charge of the draft, clearly, Jason.

  20. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Pickgrin..bea-uti-ful post..8 or 9 wins..and a playoff spot..I’ll be happy..

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    K2 Says
    “I hate when writers say, “he let his team down.”

    Ghengis Kwon himself said it.

  22. rrsrq Says:

    This is not taking up for Lovie, Kwon was a need pick, remember we did not have LB’s on this team other than a couple of cast offs playing beside LVD. (Bruce Carter & Danny Lansanah). Lovie could’ve said this guy is a rookie and we can’t start him, but he did. Lovie is no head coach in the NFL when it comes to scheme or game management, but he collected talent and was probably a good father figure to many of these guys giving them confidence to succeed (except Verner & Banks). He was just stubborn, that was/is his downfall.

  23. orlbucfan Says:

    Lovie’s biggest problem was his ego. He’s not the only coach who has it. Two examples: Glennon and Banks. Lovie didn’t draft them. They weren’t first round picks. He made the horrendous mistake of bringing in McClown instead of starting Glennon. We know how that worked out. Even with the good rookie year Banks had (and the film to prove it), Smith threw him on the bench and ignored him. Lovie did a lot of good—bringing in Koetter, Famous J—but his ego blinded him, and he got the boot. Simple as that. Kwon and LVD are the same caliber LBs that we had on the SB team. Go Mighty Bucs!!

  24. Stpetematt Says:

    Yeah- for those of you who think Kwon was a fluke in drafting remember Ali Marpet?

  25. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    Add me to the guys who enjoyed your post. Spot on!

  26. unbelievable Says:

    @pickgrin, great post and ponta about us having all those guys graded out as first rounders.

    Kwon said that himself. Despite his ridiculous strip of Julio and an interception (plus another that was negated by penalty), he did have a bunch of missed tackles. That’s what he’s referring to when he said he left a lot of plays on the field.