No one was flying around the field quite like Lavonte David was during Thursday’s second OTA practice. The fourth-year pro looked poised to deliver some big hits during one-on-one drills as well as seven-on-sevens, before pulling up during the non-contact session.
Although he wasn’t at liberty to follow through with the tackle – nor would he want to hurt a teammate – it’s clear that David is ready to get back into the action.
“It feels way better than just sitting around and watching film and all of that,” David said. “It’s fun to get out there and actually go over what we’ve been putting on the board. Today went pretty well. We have a long way to go to get where we want to go, but today was a good start.”
The makeup of the Buccaneer’s linebacking corps has changed from last season, starting with the signing of Bruce Carter in early March. Carter has experience playing in a similar system in Dallas, which David sees as experience the rest of the group can learn from.
“Bruce is a very active person,” David said. “Even if he’s not participating, he’s always involved. We have a lot of questions to be asked (of him), and he’s (also) trying to take care of the mental part first before he gets ready to get out on the field. Right now me, him and Danny (Lansanah) sit in the same area (in the film room), so we’re always going back and forth asking questions of each other.”
Tampa Bay also drafted a linebacker in Kwon Alexander, adding more depth to a unit that saw some shuffling due to injuries in 2014. And while a lot has been made about Alexander himself, and what he brings to the defense, David suggested that just having another presence will allow other linebackers, like Lansanah, to focus and improve on one position.
“I think it’s going to help (Lansanah) a lot, when he just keys in on one spot,” David said. “Hopefully (the rest) can all stay healthy and he can make even better plays than he did last year. He’s a smart guy; he’s had to learn all three positions. When you have a guy like that around, it’s a really good compliment on the field.”
For David, who remains the unquestioned leader of the group, the fourth-year pro is due for a contract extension. Yet despite being in the final year of his rookie deal, David claims that the looming contract negotiations won’t have any affect on his offseason preparation. And judging by what head coach Lovie Smith had to say about the star linebacker after practice, it doesn’t seem like David should be worried that a deal won’t eventually get done.
“To be honest, it doesn’t at all,” David said. “I’m just out here to play football, be around my teammates and improve from a 2-14 season. We’re trying to have a big turnaround from last year and that’s my goal right now.”
“You know how important he is,” Smith said. “Everything that’s come out of my mouth about Lavonte David is the same: great player, we need him, he’s one of the foundational guys that we have and he shows up every day the same way. I’m anxious to see him take another step. It’s his second year in the system in probably one of the marquee positions on our defense.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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