“Then I Had A Long Talk With The GM”

September 22nd, 2023

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What do you do with a 33-year-old linebacker approaching free agency? You keep him.

That was the determination made by Jason Licht back in March and it’s looking like one heck of a wise decision. David may not have had a lot of suitors, but the Bucs could have chosen to let him walk, pairing Devin White with a younger partner on the inside.

That’s what you do if you’re thinking ahead to the 2024 draft. Instead, Licht was thinking about the NFC South standings and a third consecutive division title.

The Bucs are off to a 2-0 start behind a mistake-free attack and a defense that has regained its reputation as a fortress against the run. And while Vita Vea, White, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Christian Izien are playing well, David is usually in the middle of the fray, making secure tackles while exceling in coverage.

It’s uncetain whether the Bucs would have beaten the Vikings or the Bears without David’s leadership and ability to diagnose plays before the snap. He’s the eyes and ears on the field for Todd Bowles, who strongly encouraged Licht to bring David back for a 12th season at One Buc Place.

“Lavonte is one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of this franchise, so it is extremely  gratifying that he will remain a Buccaneer,” Licht said in March after David agreed to a one-year deal. “It’s rare for a player to perform at such a high level for so many years in one place.”

Bringing David back at age 33 reinforced Licht’s contention that Tampa Bay had too many good players to undergo a total rebuilding job.

He called it a reset, and the Eagles are about to discover Monday evening that the Bucs are relevant even without Tom Brady under center.

David is a big part of Tampa Bay’s impressive getaway. As the longest-tenured Buccaneer, he sets the standard for younger teammates in terms of how to approach the job. When the 2022 season ended with that humiliating home playoff loss to Dallas, David thought his Buc career might have run its course.

“Then I had a long talk with the GM,” David recalls. “He told me a lot of people are saying rebuild, but if it was a rebuild, a lot of the guys would have been gone. He (Licht) said,  ‘I feel we still have the pieces to make noise in our division.’ “

Make no mistake, David remains a key factor, even after 168 games as a pro. He has quietly built a career that should earn him consideration for Canton. In the meantime, he is playing a critical role for the league’s No. 2 rush defense behind Philadelphia.

“I just want us to get back to our run-stopping defense,” David said this summer. “That takes care of everything else. Last year, we dropped off significantly and that’s not like us. We have to get back to the mentality of stopping the run, getting everybody flying to the football and being the aggressive defense we know how to be.”

After the offensive challenged Bears marched 90 yards to pull within a FG midway through the fourth quarter last week, it was David who gathered the defensive players and implored: “We’re better than that.”

We know what happened the rest of the way as Shaq Barrett heeded the call with a clinching pick-6 against Justin Fields.

Doing It All

Bucs GM Jason Licht

At the moment, Licht’s decision to bring David back for at least one more season looks like a glorious winner. The Bucs will be no worse than .500 at the bye week, with a decent opportunity to be at least 3-1.

David has averaged 8 tackles per game during his NFL career and the Eagles just ran for 259 yards against Minnesota.

While Philadelphia’s offensive line has few peers, the Bucs counter with a front 7 anchored by No. 54.

“Lavonte’s got instincts,” says Bucs inside linebackers coach Larry Foote. “I tell everybody all the time, people always asking about him, he’s good at every phase of linebacker play — covering, playing the run, blitzing. He’s unique. That’s why he’s been playing at a high level in this league for so long.”

16 Responses to ““Then I Had A Long Talk With The GM””

  1. Statistically Insignificant Reader Says:

    STOP HATING ON DAN. As a counselor, Dan is a pretty easy read. First he is a bed wetter. No friends because he is a bed wetter. Low self esteem because he is a bed wetter. His standard pessimistic m.o is because he is a bed wetter. Sees no optimism in life because he is bed wetter. Needs to crow look at me because he is a bed wetter.
    Don’t bash Dan, Please feel sorry for him. He is a bed wetter.

  2. Irishmist Says:

    If Luke Kuechly gets into the HOF, then Lavonte definitely deserves to get in. He’s been doing it just as well for longer, and he’s got a ring.

  3. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Looking forward to seeing how the the team develops this year with all the youth mixed with vet leadership. I’m getting concerned about health though as Devin White apparently hurt his groin and Cody Mauch had more back spasms.

    Maybe the early bye week will be good this year.

  4. Lt. Dan Says:

    Agree with the Sage – David should be considered for Canton. His Pro Bowl and all Pro snubs (which have been ridiculous) will probably submarine his induction. D@mn shame if that happens in this Dan’s opinion.

  5. EternalSon Says:

    David is Bucs royalty, imo.

    One of my favs and can’t imagine letting him play anywhere else.

  6. 1#bucsfan Says:

    LVD is DB55.

  7. Bojim Says:


  8. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Dan – don’t say 54 sucks. You don’t want that heat.

  9. Dave Pear Says:

    Dan would have trouble constructing a sentence with his wet hands. Why are they wet? He is a known bed wetter, this is fact. He’ll never meet anyone in the parking lot unless he’s wearing The Diaper.

  10. Bucswin Says:

    4-0 Called it. Go BUCS!!!

  11. Fred McNeil Says:

    Looks like Dan the glan got run off.

  12. garro Says:

    Well said Sir!

    Ira, I am so glad we have you in Canton to make the case for our guys.

    Go Bucs!

  13. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    54 is the definition of a Professional Football Player.

  14. orlbucfan Says:

    LVD is as good as DB55 was. I’ve been a fan ever since his rookie year. He and ME13 stuck it out here, and now have much-deserved SB rings. They were a yuge part of that win. Next stop: Canton. I sure hope they retire as Bucs. If anyone can pull that off, it’s Licht.

  15. JBBUCS_06 Says:

    In the words of Coach Herman Boone….”LVD54, you’re a hall of famer in my book”

  16. August 1976 Buc Says:

    When Schiano was coach, LVD had a better start than Derrick Brooks. But when Lovie Smith came 2014-15, LVD dissapeared. After Lovie it took time for LVD to get rollin again. He has played at a high level most of his career, but for a few years it was like what happened to Lavonte. Lovie obviously was not using different players talent the right way, not just LVD but others also.