Larry Foote Establishes Challenge For K.J. Britt

May 1st, 2024

Full-time or part-time?

Inside linebackers coach Larry Foote has a simple request this spring and summer for K.J. Britt.

That request is: Can you demonstrate you can defend the pass?

Britt took over for former inside linebacker Devin White late in December as White’s interests seemed to shift and his focus wandered. Britt proved he’s nasty against the run.

But defending the pass? That’s open for debate. As a result, Foote said yesterday that Britt is not yet a full-time starter. But he has the power to change that.

“Anytime you are a Mike linebacker you are more physical, so you are better moving forward,” Foote said of Britt. “What his job is going to be is to prove to Todd [Bowles], ‘I can be on the field all three downs.’

“The height, weight, measurements and all of that stuff is out the window. Can you do it?”

Though Bowles likes to stress run defense first, Foote admitted that doesn’t mean teams will ditch the pass against the Bucs. So Britt has to step up if he doesn’t want to come off the field.

“If you are a Mike linebacker, you have to prove to the coordinator — and this is a passing league — you have to prove to him you can stay on the field,” Foote said.

If Britt can’t be a full-time starter, it seems SirVocea Dennis might share his job.

While Foote did not anoint Dennis as a designated pass defender at linebacker, he did laud Dennis for his “cerebral” play, his athletic ability and previous solid play against the pass including strong blitzing ability he showed in college at Pitt.

25 Responses to “Larry Foote Establishes Challenge For K.J. Britt”

  1. Scott Says:

    Britt actually grades out pretty good. Our Defense should hit the ground running this year.

  2. Boss Says:

    asking LB’s to play DB is insane….maybe it’s just me. but we get torched all day on this scheme…and they blame the players.

  3. JimBobBuc Says:

    Britt and SVD are one-trick ponies at the moment. Britt is strong against the run and SVD was poor vs the run in the Colts game. In the passing game, it’s the opposite. Early in the season, bring in SVD on passing downs until one of them shows 3 down capabilities.

  4. Jmarkbuc Says:

    If you’re gonna put corners 10-15 yards off the LOS.. stopping the run is gonna be a moot point.

  5. Beeej Says:

    I think most of that had to do with the weak link, Logan Ryan

  6. catcard202 Says:

    Britt’s knock at AUB & with the Bucs since entering the league has always revolved around his pass coverage skills…Can he change that??? Not sure & tend to doubt he can.

    He’s stiff in the hips & hasn’t shown an ability to be that agile in change of direction…Or in being able to stick to TE’s & RB’s in coverage.

    That’s a real liability in a 60/40 pass heavy league. We saw some of that late in the season after White found the doghouse & disappeared from the lineup. (Not that White played up to his potential when he was on the field, last year or in 2022…Because he didn’t!)

    It’s also why I was VERY surprised that the FO didn’t go get NCState ILB Peyton Wilson in the 3rd round w/ either #89 or #92… (taken by PIT @ #98)…He seemed like a real value pick opportunity at a need position, at that point in the draft.

    IMO, we should probably expect to see much more of SVD on passing downs in 2024, as he has shown an astute ability to play the pass both in college & his 2023 preseason exposure before injury.

    I’d also bet hella money today that Licht targets a top ILB early in the 2025 Draft…LVD is almost at the top of the age/performance decline cliff edge for NFL ILB’s & hard to imagine him being signed up for another 1yr deal as this point. 100% feels like this 2024 will be LVD’s swan song as a Buc.

  7. SlyPirate Says:

    Britt is a stopgap. They’ll draft a new MLB next year. 4.75 – 40 is a liability against most of today’s TE.

  8. Beeej Says:

    I’ve heard people talk about his 40 time as well, it made me look at Lavante’s. His 40 time was 4.65

  9. Capt.Tim Says:

    That sounds like the Bucs set a high standard for their Linebackers, when it comes to playing in Pass defense! Way to lay down the Law Coach Foote!

    Until you remember that this team started Devin White for the last few years.
    White was horrible at pass defensen and the Buc are last in the league in Pass defense.

    Relax KJ. That bar is set so low, you can step over it pretty easily.
    Actually, they can probably play Tykee Smith on passing downs. Hes a stocky guy.
    That really might work

  10. unbelievable Says:

    Agree slypirate. He’s simply a stop gap, no matter what coaches say.

    He’s not going to suddenly get faster and more fluid in his mid 20s lol.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    “Voss” Dennis gonna make a little noise this Summer. We’ll see how he comes along – but Britt might just have a fight on his hands for the Mike spot in 2024.

    Dennis is being groomed for the weakside and will replace Lavonte whenever that terrible day comes…

    But while LD54 is still here – Dennis has a chance to compete for the Mike spot – so we’ll see what he does with that opportunity.

    I have unusually high hopes and expectations for Sirvocea ever since we drafted him in the lowly 5th round last year. Hopefully my gut feel that there’s a high likelihood of Voss developing into a solid starting NFL player proves to be prophetic….

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    I wouldn’t mind the Bucs signing a cheap free agent to come in and compete with JJ Russell for a roster spot and provide some quality depth. KJ Britt only played a handful of games and got injured after just one game as a starter (lower back).

    Kwon Alexander, Shaq Leonard, Tyler Manakevich and Zack Cunningham are all still available…

  13. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Not drafting a inside LB says a lot about what they think of hom

  14. BakerFan Says:

    How I remember Britt is on 4th down and goal in Detroit, he shuts the gap on the right side and the runner goes right by him on Britt’s left side. Touchdown Detroit. Nobody seems to ever mention that play. How things would of changed if the defense held there.

  15. Saskbucs Says:

    In 3rd and long, Lavonte should probably be the only LB on the field. If Dennis can take a step and keep picking off camp passes, he will have a shot at getting out there as well. Love Britt in there on short yardage to go though.

  16. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I don’t remember thinking he was a big liability on the eye test.

    Per PFF he played 83 coverage snaps and gave up 5 catches for 40 yards total. Had similar grades to White in pass defense and insanely better grades for run defense.

  17. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Per PFF our LB core with David + Britt lead all the NFL in overall linebacker corps grades from week 14 forward.

    Maybe we are good at ILB.

  18. CleanHouse Says:

    I like Britt a lot.
    Am I the only one who is concerned with the depth of our entire linebackers core?

  19. Fred McNeil Says:

    I thought Britt did ok in coverage. Better than White IMO. I’m sure we’d all like to have a super star back there and White could have been one, but good enough for now is good enough for now. As far as pass coverage SVD is very intriguing. An off season in the training room should fix that weak run defense.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    JBF … ‘Foote said yesterday that Britt is not yet a full-time starter.’

    Since Foote is the Inside Linebackers Coach, that statement kinda says a lot. Might’ve been just motivational, but got a hunch it’s more than that since Foote referenced proving to Bowles that Britt is THE GUY. We’ll play a lot of teams this year that are fairly well run-pass balanced in terms of capability. Trying to switch out MLBs in even an educated guess as to what your opponent will do isn’t exactly optimum.

    I agree with Marine Buc about the possibility of adding a ‘cheap free agent’ in the ILB mix. And especially if during the ‘worthless’ preseason games & practices Bucs determine that neither Britt nor Dennis are truly ‘gittin er done’.

  21. Irishmist Says:

    White was faster- to the wrong spot. The question is can Britt get to the right spot? If so, he’ll be an upgrade.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    We’ve already seen Britt play – and I can answer the question.

    No, he’s too slow.

    That’s why he went so late in the draft. His instincts, all that stuff is great, but he’s too slow for the NFL, and will get exposed.

    BTW, the quote from Foote is more proof this will be nothing but a soft zone garbage defense.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    Irishmist Says:
    May 1st, 2024 at 5:40 pm
    White was faster- to the wrong spot. The question is can Britt get to the right spot? If so, he’ll be an upgrade.


    White was literally an ALL-PRO who the Bucs don’t win the SB without.

    It’s remarkable all the low IQ dummies who have such stupid takes.

    As for White, that falls on Bowles, refusing to use him in a way that played to his strength. White wasn’t an issue when he was attacking – he made plays all the time – his issue was Bowles wanting him to stand around in a zone. Good coaches figure out how to get the most out of their players.

    As for Britt, we’ve seen him for 2 years, if a guy is running straight at him, he can make a play. If a guy is running away from him, he’s too slow to make the play.

  24. TampabayDJ Says:

    @BOSS – You just keep proving that you know nothing about football . All ILBs are are tasked with defending the pass against TE and RBs . You need to know what your talking about before you say something. Go Bucs

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    I was bit surprised by the PFF grades:

    – KJ Britt – 79.3
    – JJ Russell – 79.2
    – LVD – 73.4
    – SirVocea Dennis – 66.3
    – Kwon Alexander – 59.0
    – Devin White – 46.0

    Even though the film on Britt, Russell and Dennis was limited they all played fairly well compared to Devin White… I threw Kwon Alexander in there just as a comp of who is available in FA that the Bucs could afford.