Buccaneers could be in trouble without Lavonte David

Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers match up very well against the Philadelphia Eagles on paper. However, without the defensive captain, the Buccaneers may be in some trouble.

When Tom Brady came to Tampa Bay, it changed the life for Bucs fans as he became the leader of the team, because well, he’s Tom Brady. However, for about a decade now, the heart and soul of the Buccaneers has been Lavonte David. Brady is Brady, but David is the captain of the ship, especially when it comes to the defense.

When he went down with an injury, the defense has not been the same. The part of the unit that suffered the most was their ability to stop the run. For the majority of the 2021 NFL season, the Buccaneers or the number one ranked rush defense in the entire league. Since his injury, they have fallen to third to finish the season.

That might not seem too drastic, especially since the team has been winning despite all of the injuries and distractions, but there is one thing to consider. What may become problematic in the Buccaneers decline against the run, especially since it looks like David may not be able to go on Sunday, is that the Eagles feature the NFL‘s number one ranked rushing attack, and by a pretty significant margin.

The Eagles finished the season with 2,715 yards rushing, averaging 159.7 rushing yards per game, while the Buccaneers on average give up 92.53 yards per game. On paper, that seems like a plus matchup for the Bucs, at the very least a wash, but remember, the end of the year has not been the same as the majority of it, especially without David.

While there also has been a lot of ballyhoo from Buccaneers fans about running the ball too much, and thinking it’s passé, at the end of the day running games are typically what lasts come January, and if Lavonte David can play, the Buccaneers may not be as heavy your favorites as initially thought.