Lavonte David is brimming with confidence, and believes the Buccaneers’ defense could be the best ever this upcoming season.
Lavonte David has been more than solid over his first four years with the Buccaneers. In three of those years, he has posted over 100 tackles. David has added nine interceptions to date, a strong number from the linebacker position. He has 30 passes defended, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and 13 sacks. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2015.
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And he is brimming with confidence. A ton of it, actually.
Lavonte believes that the 2016 defense will be legendary. Look what he told Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times:
"“I think we can be the best defense ever, to be honest. I’m going to go out there and say it,” David said. “Yeah, I’m going to say it. Put it on me. I’m going to say it,” he said. “NFL history, Bucs history, anything. That’s just the type of attitude we have.”"
Not only does Lavonte believe in his own abilities, he puts a lot of faith in his teammates:
"“With Gerald (McCoy), you’ve got Kwon (Alexander), you’ve got Bradley McDougald, you’ve got Alterraun (Verner), Brent (Grimes), Robert Ayers, Clint (McDonald), that’s the attitude we want to have,” he said. “We’re trying to challenge ourselves.”"
It’s great to have confidence. That’s the thing about the preseason; all teams are equal. Everyone is 0-0 and have the same Vince Lombardi trophy dreams. This time of year is all about ambition. You want your players to sound just like David does here.
But, if we are being honest, being the best defense ever is going to be a bit tough, and would take a huge improvement upon last season. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I am just saying it is ambitious.
The Bucs allowed 26.1 points per game in 2015, good for 26th in the league. To achieve that elite status, they would have to bring it down to around ten points per game, which would put them in the company of the 2000 Ravens, who allowed 10.3 per game that year. Again, it’s not impossible, but shaving off an average of more than two touchdowns per game is a very tall order for any team.
The pass defense left a lot to be desired, as we all saw last year. The Bucs were 16th in the league, allowing 240 yards per game, which went along with a 70% completion percentage. The group of cornerbacks is likely going to be better, with Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves added to the mix. But will it be a dominant group? We can hope, but it still remains to be seen.
It’s great to have confidence, but Lavonte might want to “slow his roll” just a bit with the public comments. Ambitious statements like those can come back to bite you, just ask Rex Ryan.