Owning The Middle

June 10th, 2020

Bill Currie Ford general manager Sean Sullivan personally will guide you and give you a special Ira/JoeBucsFan discount. Click through to start shopping!


This is a story about the Old Man and the C.

In this case, the old man is veteran Lavonte David, a cornerstone of Tampa Bay’s defense since 2012. The C is fellow linebacker Devin White, who is destined to be the commander-in-chief of this unit before long.

White’s leadership skills, along with his elite speed, convinced the Bucs to select him with the fifth pick in the 2019 draft, bypassing several intriguing edge rushers.

Clean game, explains Ira Kaufman.

He’ll be wearing the C before you know it.

Slowed by an early-season injury, White flashed enough skills as a rookie to generate excitement about his potential. Although he wasn’t particularly effective as an inside blitzer, his coverage skills improved steadily and White certainly doesn’t lack confidence.

David, 30, has a real opportunity to burst into national prominence this fall.

Luke Kuechly’s retirement opens up an NFC Pro Bowl spot at inside linebacker, but Bobby Wagner is still making plays and Deion Jones represents serious competition within the division.

Should the Bucs fulfill expectations and end this debilitating 12-year playoff drought, David’s chances of earning his first Pro Bowl nod since 2015 would be enhanced significantly. Those five prime-time games won’t hurt his profile, either.

“One of my best friends is Lavonte David,” says Gerald McCoy. “I believe he deserves all the TV time he’s going to get. I believe he’s very, very underrated.”

David’s pro career has been marked by durability, production and resiliency. Despite missing only seven starts in eight years, he’s still pining for his first postseason appearance. David has been whistled for only seven penalties during his career — but his first one was a whopper.

In the 2013 season opener at the Meadowlands, David’s late shove of Geno Smith, who had just reached the New York sidelines after a desperate scramble, led directly to the game-winning FG by the Jets.

“Senseless play by Lavonte David,” said John Lynch, who worked the game as a FOX analyst.

It was a rare lapse of poise by David, who sat forlornly at his locker that afternoon as teammates wandered by, trying to lift his spirits.

“I don’t know what to say,” David offered. “They called a flag, I guess I hit him out of bounds.”

Middle Management

When Bruce Arians arrived, he implored David to become a more vocal leader. David obliged and now the Bucs face the prospect of losing David to free agency in 2021 unless the two sides work out an extension.

White’s contract isn’t an issue at this point and it’s hard to imagine the Bucs allowing David to test the market.

Last call or lifetime Buc? (Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

“I honestly believe they can be the best linebacker duo in the league this year,” Carlton Davis says. “There’s just so much potential in Devin White. He showed it last year and I’m expecting him to take another step this year.

“Lavonte David speaks for himself — he’s a beast. He’s all over the film, making plays from sideline to sideline. He’s our vocal leader. There’s not enough praise for him in my opinion. Those guys are going to get their recognition this year.”

Tom Brady’s presence could have a major impact on Tampa Bay’s defense in general and David in particular. You won’t see a league-leading 41 giveaways and 7 pick-6s this fall. You’ll see better ball security from the offense and better field position when the defense is called upon.

At this stage, David serves as a wise role model for White, whose day is coming.

Working together, they can own the middle of the field and keep this franchise in the middle of the national conversation.

Bill Currie Ford
5815 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
Tampa, FL 33614

Ira Kaufman’s column is presented by Bill Currie Ford, where stunning offers and 0% interest rates await you. Click on Ira to visit BillCurrieFord.com. GM Sean Sullivan will help you personally in every way he can.

11 Responses to “Owning The Middle”

  1. Pryda...sec147 Says:

    Loved the article thanks Sage!

  2. BucEmUp Says:

    This defense could be insanely good this year. Hopefully they can avoid injury and everyone is getting in shape well ahead of training camp

  3. Cainishere Says:

    David is a pure Buccaneer. Like Brooks, no way he goes to another team.

  4. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Yup Ira, “better ball security.” I don’t think Brady could throw 30 interceptions in a season if he tried. Of course with the change of scenery, Jay Miss will have zero interceptions in an NFL regular season game because he’ll probably be inactive most of the year. It’s great to hear he thinks he’s one of the greats – he may be one of the great 3rd stringers though. I can’t think of a better 3rd stringer right now than Jay Miss.

  5. mark2001 Says:

    The secret is out… Ira isn’t just a sage…he is also a scholar. Old man and the C…classic Ira…classic.

  6. Cainishere Says:

    The pure breeds I call them. The ones who were great players and only were a Buccaneer. Let’s try and list them shall we?
    1. Derrick Brooks (one of the best LB of all time)
    2. Mike Alstott (one of the best FB of all time)
    3. Ronde Barber (one of the best DB of all time)
    4. Paul Gruber (one of the best LT of all time)
    5. Lee Roy Selmon (one of the best RDE of all time)
    These are the most notable players we have had that only played for the Buccaneers. If I missed anyone? let me know. Anyways David will be joining that illustrious group. GO BUCS!!!!

  7. Destinjohnny Says:

    David is so, so good

  8. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    Thanks Uncle Ira! As usual a solid article.

  9. Buczilla Says:

    Great article Ira. David is every bit as good as Kuechly was and he’s certainly better than Bobby freaking Wagner. The majority of the morons up North that vote for the pro bowl, hof, etc. should have their credentials taken away. They are an embarrassment to the sport and David deserves better. 😛

  10. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    The key phrase in the whole article is:

    “You won’t see a league-leading 41 giveaways and 7 pick-6s this fall. You’ll see better ball security from the offense and better field position when the defense is called upon.”

    Thank you Ira!

  11. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    The middle of our D is setup for success for many years to come. Vea, White, and Winfield give us talent up the middle that we havent seen since our Superbowl days. Add in all the other guys and we are looking great!