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FAB 1. David Becoming Bucs’ Master Thief

When Lavonte David hangs up his cleats he’ll go down as one of the best Buccaneers of all time – not just as a linebacker, but also as a thief.

I don’t mean thief in a bad way.

David is a good guy, a pillar in the community and certainly no criminal.

No, all of David’s thieving is done for Tampa Bay’s benefit at Raymond James Stadium and at other NFL fields. Not only is stealing allowed on defense in the NFL – it’s actually encouraged.

On the gridiron, David is a master thief, and if he continues to play for several more years at his current level in having a hand in nearly six takeaways per season he could wind up as Tampa Bay’s top turnover producer of all-time.

Right now, David ranks third on the Buccaneers’ all-time takeaway list with a combined 41 takeaways, trailing only legendary cornerback Ronde Barber, who had 74 takeaways in his 16 stellar seasons in Tampa Bay, and Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, who had 53 takeaways in his 14 glorious seasons with the Bucs.

David could surpass Brooks in the next two or three years depending on how many fumbles he forces and recovers and how many passes he intercepts.

Here is a list of some of Tampa Bay’s greatest defenders of all-time and top takeaway artists in the regular season. David ranks third on the list, which is quite impressive for a player with just seven seasons under his Bucs’ belt.

CB Ronde Barber: 47 INTs, 15 FF 12 FRs, 12 TDs = 74 takeaways
LB Derrick Brooks: 24 FF, 4 FR 25 INTs 7 TDs = 53 takeaways
LB Lavonte David: 18 FF, 13 FRs 10 INTs 3 TDs, 1 safety = 41 takeaways
CB Donnie Abraham: 31 INTs, 2 FF, 6 FR, 2 TDs = 39 takeaways
DE Lee Roy Selmon: 28.5 FF, 10 FR = 38.5 takeaways
SS John Lynch: 23 INTs, 7 FFs, 8 FRs = 38 takeaways
CB Cedric Brown: 29 INTs, 4.5 FFs, 4 FRs, 3 TDs = 37.5 takeaways
CB Mike Washington: 28 INTs 6 FFs, 2 FRs, 3 TDs = 36 takeaways
LB Hardy Nickerson: 7 INTs, 13 FFs, 9 FR = 29 takeaways
DT Warren Sapp: 3 INTs, 15 FFs, 9 FR, 1 TD = 27 takeaways
DE Simeon Rice: 4 INTs, 19 FFs 1 FR = 25 takeaways
DT Gerald McCoy: 6 FFs 4 FR = 10 takeaways

The 29-year old David has already surpassed the likes of Selmon and Sapp, two Hall of Famers, in addition to some of the team’s best defensive backs like Lynch and Abraham, who ranks second behind Barber on Tampa Bay’s all-time interception list.

LavonteDavidCardinals
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Getty Images

Brooks retired in 2008 at age 35 after averaging 3.7 interceptions/forced fumbles/fumble recoveries throughout his career. Barber averaged 4.6 takeaways per year during his career, while David averages a higher rate at 5.8 per season. If David averages five takeaways per year for the next seven years through age 36, he’ll compile 35 more takeaways and produce a total of 76, which would be enough to pass Barber’s 74.

Although David didn’t record a sack or an interception in 2017, he did force five fumbles and recover five – both career highs – that season, including one for a touchdown. Last year, David managed to get 3.5 sacks, but didn’t record an interception although he did recover two fumbles and force one.

David is expected to do more blitzing in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defensive scheme and that could result in the opportunity to force more fumbles as he’s a good blitzer. David is supposed to be featured in this defense like he was in Greg Schiano’s defense in 2013 when he was a first-team All-Pro, recording a career-high seven sacks, a career-high five interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Bucs LB Lavonte David
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Getty Images

David had a hand in eight takeaways that year, which was the most he’s produced in any season. If those types of results can be duplicated in Tampa Bay during the 2019 campaign in Bowles’ defense, it will not only help the Buccaneers win some more games, but also put him closer to surpassing Brooks and Barber as the franchise’s takeaway king.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

18 COMMENTS

  1. You only see it if viewing this website on a wide screen monitor, but it is probably time to take McCoy’s picture off of the top left!

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  2. I really love Lavonte. It’s a shame he’s been on so many bad defenses and hasn’t received the national recognition he deserves. He’s been my favorite player and arguably the Bucs best player since they drafted him. Hoping he can recapture some of that magic he had under Schiano’s scheme when he was playing out of his mind. Seems like he’ll get the chance under Bowles after years of toiling under Lovie and Mike Smith.

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  3. Scheme,coaching do matter. They must match specific talents of the players. Instead of changing player to fit scheme. Builds chemistry. Make week to week changes within your scheme & your depth to attack other teams weaknesses. Then you doing special things like the N.E. coach. It works on both sides of the ball too. You must as coaches know your opponents very well. This is what urks me about Glazers they do not demand cohesion.

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  4. Fab 4
    I think we are getting Arians mental heavy and Arians physical light.

    When Lovie Smith came I had hoped his time away from coaching meant that he would bring a better version of his previous performances as an NFL HC. I saw what he actually did as self aggrandizement and milking the situation to enhance his net worth. I don’t want to judge the individual so I hope I have merely exaggerated the true situation in my mind. Not that it matters to anyone else. (Just to show you what is in the back of my mind.)

    Here also I was envisioning a better but not a dramatically different version of Arians. The delegation part is new and introduces uncertainty for our preseason assessments. Obviously, the differences are the new part of the improvements in his mind at least.

    At this time I am still in “In BA we must trust” mode.
    __________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  5. Well, of course it’s Arians-light. The guy was retired….for health reasons….related to the stress of being an NFL Head Coach. He has said since Day 1 that he sees Leftwich and Bowles in charge. He has been talking those two up like they’re the next coming of Bill Parcells, and has said he’s done that in part because of the personal relationships he has with them, dating back many years. He wants one of those guys to get his shot (or in Bowles case, another shot) to be a Head Coach.

    My hope was that he was going to use 2019 to ease one of them ahead, and then take over Jason Licht’s job next year, sending him out to pasture. Sadly, his relationship there seems like that won’t be the plan.

    But to answer your question Scott – no the Glazers didn’t hire Arians…they hired one of Bowles or Leftwich to be Head Coach, and hired Arians to run their interview process for a year.

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  6. After seeing Koetter focus only on the offensive side of the ball, and leave his defense totally in the inept hands of M. Smith, I’m glad B.A. isn’t locked in a room with Winston wearing blinders to what’s going on with the rest of the team. I don’t see the GOAT Belichick calling plays on defense, or offense. He has an eye for coaches, and let’s them do their thing. Of course he’s making calls on both sides of the ball, and I’m sure Arains will too. This is not a problem Scott, don’t make it one. Good to see Arians cut Wilson, showing no patients for his inability to stay healthy. To much in the past we’ve hung on to guys who spend more time in the tub then with the club. So we’ve had more players miss time do to injury then most teams. I hope the new training hires help, but I think some of the problem was our guys weren’t mentally tough enough to play through some minor injuries.

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    Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
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  7. OMG! Can we PLEASE stop talking about GMC. He plays for the hated Panthers! Forget him already!!

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    Rating: +11. From 11 votes.
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  8. Best part of this article is how it points out how low McCoy’s takeaway total is. Hahahahaha!!!

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  9. I love all of this, but the strength and conditioning coaches get me the most excited. Wow, what a concept, having different positions doing different drills. These types of things can only help this team. It seemed like every game a starter was going out. Love the insight for this time of year guys! Keep up the good work

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  10. Injuries and misdiagnosing drafted players and free agents have plagued this franchise for over a decade. About time the team moves forward with sports science and embracing such analytics.

    Lavonte David has been quietly grinding and he is putting up a resume that will probably go the distance. I am proud of him and even when people doubted him I was in his corner. The guy plays with so much heart and it shows.

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  11. Abnormal high injuries last few years have cost this team as many wins as anything really. It’s been nuts. I always wondered if it was bad luck, bad conditioning coaches, or both.

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  12. So Arizona didn’t have a quarterback coach?

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  13. SR on vacay?? Where does a FL boy go on vacation? As Sapp said to Meshawn, “We got it all right here man.” Enjoy yourself sir, have a safe and wonderful time. As to BA light, I agree his successor is very likely already coaching on this team. Certainly Winston’s success is the team’s best case scenario. But I honestly believe that BA’s #1 job is to change the culture on the entire team. He has to get these guys to play a whole game. All 3 phases for all 4 quarters. To not play up to the competition but to play up to each other. Even in the 10 wins we’ve watched over the last 2 years, I don’t think we have seen that.

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  14. Derrick Brooks played from 95-08 or for 14 seasons.
    Lavonte David has played for 7 seasons so far.

    I really hope I get to watch Lavonte for 7 more seasons in pewter and red. He’s been my favorite Buc for 7 years.

    He may go down as the most unsung superstar in team history. With all the stats in the world to make the case that he was consisitently one of the best linebackers in the entire league, he was snubbed year after year for the meaningless pro bowl. When comparing his first 3/5/7 years in the league to Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, he compares favorably in every category except playoffs and wins.

    I can’t wait to see the dependable ‘Husker in this new defense.

    Some Lavonte Highlights:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C8SBKJHwSg

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  15. Great article once again Scott! You will be missed while you are on vacation, but enjoy your time away. David has been my favorite player on defense also and I know he will shine as an ILB and will be in plenty of Pro Bowls before he retires. BA has already turned around this culture! I love all his innovations he has brought to do so. His keeping the rookies here to learn will pay off this year and I expect four of them or more to be starters and play like veterans based on all the superior development BA has brought. His strength program will also make all his players stronger and less likely to be injured and putting heat monitors on players in practice is genius given his practices in high temperatures this year.

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  16. I don’t think BA needs to bring in another RB unless it turns out Jones can’t cut it this year. I am glad to hear that BA likes Anderson too. I think he will bring a lot of flexibility. If he uses Ogunbowale to return kicks he needs to keep five RBs. Ogunbowale also could be the best sub backing up Barber in case he goes down. Anderson could be a good third down back, Jones a good change of pace back who can go all the way, and Ellington is great for attacking the perimeter and comfortable as a pass receiver too. We can use them all.

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  17. Ariana wasn’t just brought her to mentor Winston, if that was the case, he would’ve been the oc, not the hc. For far too long I’ve made myself excited and emotionally invested in players/coaches that I knew deep down weren’t the answer. We’ve had plenty of teases along the way. Hell raheem Morris still have us the best season we’ve had this far this decade. We’ve been through a lot as buc fans. But I do believe in arians. The drafting of Devin white out any of my doubt to rest. We will be healthier and not burnt out simply because of our new indoor practice facility. Our guys will get more reps because because we’re having multiple groups going with first stringers with first stringers, second stringers with second. So on and so forth. Arians while being looked at to help Winston put it all together, is changing the way we do things around here for the better. Scott do you honestly think Asians isn’t doing anything to help Winston? Do you really think Winston hasn’t had Asians in his ear? Just because Arians isn’t physically showing you what your were looking for doesn’t mean he’s not getting through to Winston in other ways. I’m pretty sure Asians is helping out leftwich where he sees he needs help, but let’s not forget that leftwich was an NFL qb for years and was a pretty damn good backup in Pittsburgh. Bowels I’m not worried about at all and he might be the one that replaces Arians once he decides he’s done done. I know we’ve been burned, believe me, WE ALL KNOW THAT lol. But this isn’t the same thing. Players are being held accountable, the tough but correct roster moves are being made, and our draft picks from Devin white to sc try Miller are turning heads, making plays, and showing leadership. Enjoy your vacation and don’t worry about getting arians “light”. BA is here and will be getting us more wins than losses. He’s in control, trust me.

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  18. Sorry for all the typos /errors. Please do your best to read through it!

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