Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander responded to some recent criticism from a former Bucs legend.
The message was plain and simple. As Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander is preparing for his first Pro Bowl, he was asked about some recent criticism from Hall of Fame defensive tackle and Buccaneers legend Warren Sapp.
"“It really does not make sense what they’re doing on a play-in, play-out basis. But, hey, somebody is making a lot more money than me doing it. So I’m gonna hope that they can fix it because what we saw this year was disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful.”"
Once word of this spread to Alexander, he snapped back, explaining his respect for the player Sapp was, not the analyst role he portrayed in the interview;
"“I don’t listen to the outside noise. I don’t care who’s talking about our team. He had his run and we’ve got ours. This is on me, my defense. We’re gonna get to where we need to be. They weren’t perfect when they first got here. We’re gonna get the job done. So he can just stay over there…”"
Bottom line is simply this; they’re both right.
The defense was disgraceful, no matter who tries to spin it otherwise. Any team that finishes dead last in the NFL in sacks, third down defense, and total yards allowed is not good. They blew four different fourth quarter leads – three of which in the final three minutes – and that is the difference between a winning and losing record.
No, the offense isn’t void of blame, but although the offense didn’t live up to expectations it still got enough done in 25% of the games to win and it was the defense that gave it up.
On the other hand, Alexander is asserting himself as a leader. We’ve talked about it, speculated about it, but it’s clear from his comments that Alexander looks at the defensive unit as his responsibility. That’s not a slight against fellow Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy or fellow linebacker Lavonte David, but Alexander is the leader of the defense for the foreseeable future and he’s establishing that role while the other leaders are still here.
Alexander – as well as the rest of the Bucs defense – should tune out all the outside noise and focus on the task at hand. That is to improve this team and reach the levels of success that is expected of them at this stage. They have plenty of talent and after another off-season of free agent signings and draft picks, they will fill the holes we saw in 2017.
I have no problem with Sapp’s comments nor do I take issue with Alexander’s. Neither one is in the wrong nor is either one’s statement wrong. At the end of the day, they want the same thing – to see the Buccaneers be successful once again.