“They Need A Veteran”

June 12th, 2024

Lavonte David

A friend of Todd Bowles who used to be a linebackers coach sees a deficiency on the Tampa Bay roster.

Joe is referring to Pat Kirwan, the former Jets defensive coach who became the team’s personnel director. Now he’s the lead Xs and Os analyst and contract guru on SiriusXM NFL Radio. Kirwan dissected the Bucs’ linebackers corps this week and was clear that it’s not good enough.

He was very down on the Bucs’ depth. “They need a veteran,” Kirwan lamented, calling the Bucs linebackers unit “a one-man army.”

While Kirwan likes K.J. Britt and, in fact, talked to him last week, Kirwan said Britt likely will struggle to produce what Devin White did last season.

Joe supposes the good news is that capable veteran inside linebackers can be found before opening day. It happens every year.

Overall, Kirwan’s deep dive on Bucs linebackers yielded an “11” grade on a scale of 1 to 20. And he noted that it was a generous grade mostly because Lavonte David is so damn good.

17 Responses to ““They Need A Veteran””

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Agree with Kirwan. Gut feel is that Bowles will use Britt in a more traditional MLB role, kinda like I think he used Kevin Minter when he had to fill in for White. Both were excellent at playing the run, but both Minter & Britt seem to lack the closing speed that White had. Of course, as we saw with Devin, elite speed can be both a blessing & a curse (over-running plays?).

    KJ will probably do fine, but we still need DEPTH (Kirwan’s point). Tough nowadays for any player to make it through a 17-game regular season PLUS the playoffs (ideally another 3-4 games).

  2. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Bowles had/has strict requirements for every defensive player of his … except DWhite.

    Why couldn’t Diaby get on the field? He didn’t know his assignments yet. Why is Britt starting over Dennis (who has a lot more speed and can cover)? Dennis doesn’t know his assignments yet. Same with Watts. Same with Merriweather when Neal was blowing chunks.

    Everybody needs to know their assignments if they want to play. Well, except for DWhite. He constantly freelanced. Constantly took himself out of plays. And what did Bowles do? He waited until the last 3 games of DWhite’s Bucs career to finally send a message. Bravo. Nice consistency.

  3. Memphis Bucs Says:

    what did devin white produce last season???

  4. Fred McNeil Says:

    Maybe Britt doesn’t have Whites speed. White couldn’t cover either so what’s the diff? Britt does ok. Maybe Dennis matures a little in year two. We probably should kick the tires on a veteran too.

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    ” Kirwan said Britt likely will struggle to produce what Devin White did last season”

    How so Pat? Britt was better than White – visibly.

    The defense was better without White – visibly.

    Britt is a solid and prepared football player – who knows his assignments and knows where he needs to be and why. And he’s a reliable tackler.

    That alone makes him an upgrade over White.

  6. Greg Says:

    @Pickgrin – yup. All of that.

    Could we use depth? Sure. Do we need it because “Britt can’t produce what White did”? Nope, not at all.

  7. JimBobBuc Says:

    Take a look at SVD in the Colts game when he filled in for LVD, not encouraging.

    I like the idea of Izien in the slot and Tykee
    filling in for Britt in passing downs

  8. westernbuc Says:

    Britt shouldn’t have any problem matching Devin White’s year as a lawyer.

  9. Dave Pear Says:

    Definitely agree, Bucs are thin at ILB. If they wait too long to grab a veteran, he won’t have time to digest Todd’s ancient Aramaic playbook in time to do the on field Laplace Transforms. Either Todd would have to dumb it down or bust city expands its population.

  10. Lakeland Steve Says:

    What the heck did Devin White produce last season except problems. I was honestly surprised at K.J. Britt’s play last year. Unlike Devon White, Britt seemed to always be in the right place with his run fits. He doesn’t have the speed of White so may struggle in pass coverage. I think Bowles can scheme some stuff though and maybe take Britt out in obvious passing downs.

  11. Stanglassman Says:

    I like our ILB depth with SirVocea Dennis. JJ Russel and Kalen DeLoach. I get that national media types don’t know what the Bucs have for depth but local media and fans should know better.

  12. Tony Says:


  13. Let ‘em bake Says:

    Missing assignments. Apparently, linebacker is a more cerebral undertaking than I imagined. Pre snap reads at that position must make or break a player at that position.

  14. garro Says:

    I find it very hard to disagree with Kirwan on anything he says about football.

    We got nobody behind LVD with enough experience at ILB. Britt did well but was platooned with Diva. Soo, we really don’t know for sure yet. Dennis? No experience. Russell? No experience and Todd refused to play the guy. DeLoach? Really? He is a rookie FA.

    I would love to disagree with Kirwan but I can’t. Hope Jason finds us a guy on the waiver wire.

    Go Bucs!

  15. teacherman1983 Says:

    Kwon Alexander is 29 and available.

  16. Badbucs Says:

    There will be plenty of FA available at the cut down. Some vets will be cut loose. Todd’s system complexity probably overstated. See ball – get ball. They’ll get it figured out soon enough.

  17. Canabuc Says:

    I think Sirvocea Denis has potential
    Also think DeLoach makes the team and might even be featured as an LB in dime packages given his speed.