Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Getty Images
Lavonte David doesn’t miss many football games. If his Tampa Bay Bucs teammates are suiting up to take the field, it’s almost a definite that the All-Pro linebacker will be right there with them running out of the tunnel.
Playing in his fifth NFL season after being drafted by the Bucs out of Nebraska in 2012, David’s missed only two of 77 games. Those both came in back-to-back weeks during the 2014 season.
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Keeping David off the field for this weekend’s “Sunday Night Football” road game against the Dallas Cowboys will take a lot, but his health came into question this week after landing on Thursday’s injury report. A tweaked hamstring kept David on Friday’s report as a limited participant, where he was listed as questionable.
Reporters asked Dirk Koetter about David’s availability after practice Friday and the head coach said fans will have to wait until Sunday to see if No. 54 is on the AT&T Stadium turf.
“He’s going to be on the injury report and we’re just have to wait until game time, but he’s going to be questionable, is how it’s going to come out on the injury report,” Koetter said. “Lavonte knows his body well, but the most important thing always is player health. And these guys, especially veteran players, they know if they can go or not, but it doesn’t do us any good to push these guys too hard on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.”
Losing David, or even having him at less than full speed, would have a significant effect on the Bucs’ improving defense. Only two players have played more defensive snaps for Tampa Bay this season that the 827 logged by David – safety Bradley McDougald (832) and rookie cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (830).
Adapting to an altered role in defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s scheme, David is third on the team with 51 tackles, leads all Bucs with 12 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles, has defended four passes, and returned his one interception for a touchdown.
The Bucs typically dress five linebackers on game days. Starters David and Kwon Alexander are joined by primary backup Daryl Smith and lesser-used linebackers Adarius Glanton and Cameron Lynch
Bucs LB Daryl Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Adding a little concern to David’s status is that he’s one of seven Bucs on Friday’s final injury report and one of four defenders. Defensive tackles Gerald McCoy (foot) and Sealver Siliga (calf) were both upgraded to full participants Friday but remained listed as questionable. Safety Chris Conte (chest) also participated in full all week and is questionable after sitting out the past two games.
The Bucs can use all the front-seven help they can get Sunday night against the Cowboys’ second-ranked rushing offense. Along with being frequently cited as having one of the top offensive lines in the NFL, rookie Ezekiel Elliott leads all running backs with 1,392 rushing yards.
Find a way; that’s what this team is about. Go Bucs!
I would consider playing 3 Safety’s if David can’t go; better to be quicker than slower. Go Bucs!
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