The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added just one linebacker this off-season by drafting Jack Cichy from Wisconsin in the 2018 NFL Draft. Their additions to the defensive line could make the linebacker group look like a whole new group though.
Now, after selecting Vita Vea in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the only returning starter from 2017 on the defensive front will likely be Gerald McCoy.
Consistency is something every NFL team looks for, but attacking weaknesses is also a desired strategy.
When addressing the front-seven of their defense, the Bucs ensured continuity in their linebacker corps and aggressively sought to cure the ailments hindering their defensive line.
"“I think it’s really big. With our division, you have a lot of teams that run that zone running scheme. So when you have a guy who can get up field and disrupt or a big guy who takes up two guys, it’s really smooth for linebackers to flow and get downfield to make more TFLs. So we’re looking forward to that. It’s all talk right now so we just have to put it together first.”"
Flow was a theme of the conversation and it was a word used multiple times by David during his conversation with the media members asking questions.
Another theme was putting it all together. Like he said in the quote above, it’s all talk right now.
Later on, he echoed the same sentiment talking about putting everything together. It’s not going to be an easy process.
With five new additions to the defensive line all expected to play major roles, there is plenty of work to be done.
Those new faces aren’t coming without losses of course. Robert Ayers, Clinton McDonald, Ryan Russell and Chris Baker are all no longer with the team. Those four guys combined to play nearly 2,000 snaps for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense last season.
It’s no small feat to literally replace half of your defensive front and get better at the same time. It took a lot of maneuvering and calculated dealing on the part of Jason Licht to get to this point.
While players like David are happy with the changes, they’re also keeping their eye on the grind if they’re following their captain’s example.
What do you think of the new additions to the Bucs’ defensive front? How do you think it’ll impact the linebackers and secondary?
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