“You’ve Got To See It Like He Sees It”

June 17th, 2024

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Lavonte David is eager to strap on his mentor’s helmet once again and show a young teammate how it’s done.

Devin White looked the part of David’s willing disciple in 2019, when he arrived at One Buc Place at the age of 21. David did his best to show him the NFL ropes, but White ended up in a tug-of-war with the organization.

Lavonte David

Despite all that early flash, including a fantastic postseason for the 2020 Bucs, White failed to emulate David’s professionalism and dedication to the team.

He’s now in Philadelphia, where fans have been known to turn quickly when they sense a player isn’t giving his all.

White groused about his contract status last year and that frustration seeped into his performance. By the end of the season, he lost his starting inside linebacker spot to K.J. Britt, who closed with a 12-tackle performance in the divisional playoff setback at Detroit.

Britt was 21 when the Bucs drafted him in the fifth round out of Auburn in 2021. He’s been around David for three seasons, drawing inspiration during practice sessions and game days.

“Lavonte’s a guy who brings it every day,” Britt says. “You know you’re going to get his best every time. Just watching him, listening to him, what he sees, what he feels. He prepares to be the best every week. The rest of us try to play up to his standard.”

Britt won’t match White’s speed to the football — few linebackers in this league are even close. But he’s earned David’s trust by being in the right position and finishing off the play.
Todd Bowles appreciates the leadership style of Tampa Bay’s longest-tenured player.

“Lavonte’s out front, sometimes, and it’s encouragement,” Bowles says. “He’s talking to the guys on the field, getting them to understand what the job is. When he needs to bark, he barks and everyone listens because he doesn’t bark just to bark. When he needs to yell and get on their ass, he yells and gets on their ass.”

That includes Britt, who is still learning the nuances of the pro game.

“Lavonte is watching me,” says Britt. “He talks about how he sees the game. You’ve got to see it like he sees it.”

White, who has more than enough talent to resurrect his career, saw the game differently. Instead of working on his weaknesses and adopting David’s disciplined approach, White paid a heavy price for being caught out of position and taking errant angles.

Britt probably won’t make as many splash plays, but he is wired to make the RIGHT play more often than his predecessor. He doesn’t want to disappoint his fellow Bucs, especially No. 54.

“Hall of Famer from Day 1,” Britt says. “I can’t wait to see Lavonte in Canton. C’mon man, look at the stats. Look how he plays. From what I’ve been seeing from guys who make it to the Hall of Fame at linebacker, no question.”

There’s no telling how long David will continue to play. He’s 34 and on a year-to-year basis with the Bucs. He entered the league in 2012, a stud draft class that included linebackers Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner.

And while David has the numbers, he doesn’t have the hardware for easy entry into Canton.
Wagner has been voted to 11 Pro Bowls and he’s been a first-team All-Pro nine times. Kuechly played only eight seasons but was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, earning seven Pro Bowl berths and five first-team All-Pro designations.

Although David has been named one of the league’s top 100 players six times in voting by his peers, he has only one Pro Bowl and one first-team All-Pro honor on his resume.

“He just had a helluva season,” says Bowles. “He’s going to take it year-by-year and I’m just going to enjoy him the years that I have him.”

17 Responses to ““You’ve Got To See It Like He Sees It””

  1. Buccos Says:

    I’m definitely getting his jersey this year. This may be his last. Let’s go out on top

  2. CleanHouse Says:

    They should have moved Devin White to outside linebacker where he could just chase and not think. They wasted his talent by trying to turn him into something he wasn’t. Should have managed his strengths and weaknesses better.

  3. FloridaMan Says:

    Imo, too much article time is wasted talking about Devin White. He’s gone, it’s over let’s move it along. Can’t wait to see KJ a full season. Thru the ups and downs I love this defense.

  4. garro Says:

    “White’s speed to the football”

    That is laughable. I watched Brooks speed to the ball and even after he lost a step he was always quick to the ball. No false steps. White not even close…ever! Brooks had bad intent when he got to the ball (see highlight reels). White just grabbed people most of the time if he got there at all with his supposed speed.

    LVD has tried I’m sure to show his teammates the right way to do things Diva was not having it.

    Go Bucs!

  5. Crickett Baker Says:

    Yah, Garro, I’ve been watching films, too. I just rewatched an “In the Current” that really had some great Lavonte content in it. We are so lucky to have him so long and it really is a privilege to watch him play.

  6. Hodad Says:

    Cleanhouse, you just don’t chase, and not think at OLB. You have to also drop in coverage, set the edge, stay disciplined with your reads. JPP, and Shaq were not just chase, and not think OLBs. It’s more complex then you think.

  7. TDTB Says:

    I never understood why the Bucs didn’t try White in a Micah Parsons role. Seemed like both sides would have benefited from that.

  8. stpetebucfan Says:

    Have we all forgotten how Brock Purdy left DW45’s jock in the sand as he waltzed in for six points? Perhaps the most dramatic illustration of White’s speed being useless without any anticipation, or dare I say lack of effort? He better hope it was for lack of effort because he can correct that, if he just got faked out because he has horrible anticipation he has problems.

    It takes physical skill for sure and White has plenty of that to make a great NFL player. But it also takes brains, instinctive anticipation and the DESIRE to work non stop. There are many players on the Bucs who exhibit these traits including LVD as mentioned.

    For me however the all around best defender on the Bucs who has IT ALL, is Winfield. Winfield is the real deal in every area and having a father star in the league also gives him pedigree.

  9. heyjude Says:

    Wow, Lavonte since 2012. Time sure has gone by quick. It seems as though it was just yesterday. Love Lavonte and we are so lucky to have him.

    Devin going to Philly will be interesting. So true that the fans can change quick and the boos can be loud if he doesn’t step up. I hope he finds peace and the move fits him. Although saying that, I hope he doesn’t bring it when we play them here in September. Our last game with the Eagles was a big playoff win for us. We can do it again.

  10. Dude Says:

    #54 is likely going to be retired someday at a Bucs game.

  11. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I dunno how he only has 1 All Pro season. Pro Bowl I get because it’s a dumb popularity contest that should have no bearing on the HOF.

  12. SlyPirate Says:

    If LVD repeats his 2023 stats, he’ll be …
    #4 all time tackles (right behind D Brooks)
    #3 tackles for a loss (right in front of Aaron Donald and behind JJ Watt)

  13. Dave Pear Says:

    Here comes Osqueeltard to make excuses about Diva.

    Good riddance to the Diva. Let’s go KJ Britt.

  14. drdneast Says:

    The only times White was effective as a pass rusher was when he blitzed and Cam in untouched. If the offense was aware he was blitzing he would always get stymied before he got to the QB. Frankly, I got tired of watching him get pushed around in the running game like a tackling dummy.

  15. William Walls Says:

    Yeah, drdneast, a lot of time, his speed just meant he got blocked out of the play sooner.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    And while David has the numbers, he doesn’t have the hardware for easy entry into Canton.
    Wagner has been voted to 11 Pro Bowls and he’s been a first-team All-Pro nine times. Kuechly played only eight seasons but was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, earning seven Pro Bowl berths and five first-team All-Pro designations.

    Well, whose fault is that Ira? Maybe you could educate your fellow media members… since David has as good if not better numbers than both of them, and did that without nearly the same level of supporting cast for most of his career.

  17. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Pro bowl is a joke. That shouldn’t be a deciding factor in a HOF criteria. It’s a popularity contest at best. LVD has bin a great LB on a terrible team thru the lost decade. Not LVDs fault. A lot like ME13 he’s underrated. Get him in IRA