Long-time Bucs linebacker Lavonte David joined the local media for a virtual press conference on Tuesday, shortly after Tampa Bay officially released the organization’s new uniforms. David spoke about his first impressions of the new uniforms, which he donned in the Bucs’ announcement video, as well as the reaction of fans and teammates to the team’s new look, in addition to the acquisition of legendary quarterback Tom Brady, and what the defense will look like in a second year under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
“When I first saw them, basically it kind of reminded of back in the old times when I first got here, my rookie and second year,” David said. “They were similar and then they came out with the different ones, the color rush uniforms, and I was blown away by those. I thought those were fantastic. I’m pretty sure everyone likes them, I see we’re getting a lot of responses to them. I feel like everybody is pleased with them.”
David said it was tough to keep his lips sealed after seeing the new uniforms. He claimed to repeatedly tell friends and family to just wait until April 7 when asked about the new look, but now believes that everyone really likes the Bucs’ new look.
“[Teammates] have just been commenting with the fire emojis and the mean face emojis,” David said. “Everybody thinks they look really good. Guys are posting them and things like that”
When asked about what it will mean to see his new quarterback in one of Tampa Bay’s new uniforms, David said he believes that’s when the reality of Brady joining the Bucs will hit.
“I feel like it’s going to hit,” David said. “Reality is going to set in that we have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, one of the great dudes, one of the greatest guys to play the position, and he’s going to bring that winning mentality to our program. I know for a fact that guys are going to have his back and he’s going to have our back. It’s going to be a team thing. It ain’t going to just be about him. It’s going to be about everybody out there in those uniforms. Getting out there and putting in the work to get to that level.”
David marveled at Brady’s accomplishments, his leadership and his football I.Q.
“He’s going to have a lot of knowledge – a lot of knowledge for me, helping be a better leader, be a better teammate, find all the little things to put us over the hump, put us over the edge,” David said. “What he brings is that winning mentality, that attitude. He knows what it takes to get there and he knows what it takes to win it all, and that’s what all the guys in the locker room want and he’s the perfect guy for it.”
But while a lot of offseason talk has been about the Bucs offense that features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and now Brady, David spoke about what Tampa Bay’s defense will look like in a second year with Bowles.
“I think it’s going to be incredible,” David said. “Bringing some of our key guys back is going to be a big part of it, depending on going off the sets we have with those guys and the sets we had towards the end of the year last year. Going into the second year in Todd Bowles’ defense you get a better understanding of what he wants, you get a better understanding of what type of defense he likes to call in certain situations, so everybody all round gets a better understanding of what coach Bowles wants and also how to play with each other.”
Last offseason the Bucs were able to secure a new head coach in Bruce Arians, a new coaching staff and began learning new system on both sides of the ball. This offseason Tampa Bay secured a new quarterback and new uniforms. David believes this is the perfect opportunity for the Bucs to return to their winning ways, the way the team played when they first unveiled their strikingly similar uniforms in 1997 – a season that ended with a 10-6 record and a wild card playoff berth.
“It was kind of a different feeling when we put those uniforms on,” David said. “It reminds you of the times when everything in Tampa was going on the up and up and now we’re trying to get back to that way. New uniforms, new team, new look and we all have to just put it on the field now.”