Coming off a disappointing 5-11 season with a plethora of new guys on the roster better mean that some things are different around One Buc Place.
Fans, media and even the coaches are probably looking for players to say there’s more focus or that there’s a better sense of urgency to get the most out of this team right from Week 1 starting this season. But, there weren’t many who thought that the phrase “having more fun” would be what the biggest takeaway has been since starting OTAs a month ago
For veteran and All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David, that’s what he’s notice the most about this new Bucs group.
“Just trying to build a bond with the guys, old and new,” David said. “It’s been great so far talking to the guys and just knowing where their mindset is at… We’re competing with each other and were out here having fun, it’s crazy, I don’t think we’ve had this much fun in a while when we’re out here. We’re making plays and just trying to make each other better. When we first got here Dirk said: it’s competing, but at the same time have fun. So we’re trying to make each other better.”
David said the team is having fun, but also putting in good work.
“From the young guys to the old guys, guys caught on real fast,” David said. “Those guys stepped up right away and are not making many mistakes or mental errors, guys are coming taking this serious. I think the big thing that helped out was the coach smith demanding everyone to know their job and putting people on the spot for their. That’s why you see a lot of guys out there making plays right now.”
The influx of new talent has created even more competition, which in turn creates fun and spirited practices.
“When you’re out here competing it brings the guys across the board to bring their level up too,” David said. “There’s a lot of trash talking going on out there, a lot of yapping, you know guys are having fun. The competitiveness is picking up. You see rookie Carlton Davis going against Mike Evans and battling. He may not be talking right now, but we’re talking to him. That brings out guys competitive nature, and you see that across the board on both the offensive side and the defensive side. You got Jameis trash talking, everybody is trash talking, it’s not just doing it for fun, we’re doing it because we want to get each other better to build up that self-esteem and build up that confidence so when we’re out there we’re gonna give our all.”
Who is the biggest trash talker on the team?
“Obviously Kwon, you all know that already,” David said. “He’s one of the biggest trash talkers out there, but it’s fun, I love it. ”
Some have coined the NFL the “No Fun League” but David said that certainly isn’t the case at Bucs practices so far this offseason.
“When you’re having fun it means you’re doing what you’re doing,” David said. “Guys out there, we’re having fun, everybody is doing their job right, and it’s fun. That’s the main thing, coach smith did a great job of demanding guys to make sure they know what they’re doing, making guys speak up, things like that. Holding everyone accountable is the main thing and we’re doing that as a unit. Don’t be afraid to take constructive criticism, so when guys are out there learning and making plays, it becomes fun”
– Trevor Sikkema contributed to this report