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.

Bucs LB Lavonte David Bucs Mini-Camp
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Zach Beeker

“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

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

6 COMMENTS

  1. When you look at all of the talents we have spread across the Buccaneers’ roster we should all be excited. We should see a lot of tough competition to make the roster for the rest of the offseason. We should be, more than in a long, long time, able to see less of a drop off when guys go down and have to be replaced during this season. We should see more rotation of guys at certain positions during the games so that we can be still fighting down to the wire in every game at the end of the fourth quarter.

    I know that we have a tougher schedule this year overall and I expect it to be a dogfight in our conference all the way until the last game of the season. (The Saints are set to give it their all as Drew Brees has 17 seasons under his belt. This year should well be his last chance to grab another Superbowl win before his playing days are over.)

    If the Bucs should make it to postseason play even as a wildcard entry with a 10 and 6 record, for example, they will be as “playoff ready” as anybody.

    I don’t see how any Buccaneer fan can be expecting anything but a knock-down-and-drag-out brawl for a large percentage of our games this year! This should become the most exciting season in many a year. It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster ride this fall! This is what football is all about! Everything “on paper” adds up to bigtime FUN for all true Buc fans.
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    In addition to all of the new additions from trades and from our draft, I am going to be watching these three other guys closely during training camp and during all of the preseason games.

    RB: Shaun Wilson from Duke University should be competing for a roster spot as a KR or PR man. (Check out a clip of a 96-yard kick return on the Internet.)

    OL: Cole Boozer is a 300-pound athlete from Temple University.

    OT: Cole Gardner is listed at 302 pounds and is in his second year out of Eastern Michigan. (Koetter has mentioned to him twice now in his post-practice comments.)

    Both of these players have converted from TEs to OL positions.
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    Go Bucs!!!!!!

  2. I said Hard Knocks would be a distraction for our Bucs. And it was somewhat. All of the hype and the..Tree Humper himself..Swaggy. This year nobody really expect our Bucs to do much. Experts are picking them last in our Division. Thats good.
    As long as our Defense has improved, we will win more games. Definitely those close ones. I remain cautiously optimistic. In about 3 months, we shall see.