Young Buccaneer Defenders Look To Etch Place In Team History
By Christopher Scali
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have always been known for their fierce defense and intimidating blood-red uniforms - well, once they ditched those creamsicle monstrosities. For as long as I can remember, the Buccaneers defense always played with aggression, pride and defended Tampa to the best of their ability. When Bucs fans think of defense, they automatically think back to the notable defensive players who have helped pave the way like Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Simeon Rice. These men were defensive gods and helped lead Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory in 2002. Presently, the Buccaneers once again have a solid group of developing defenders and here are two that made my personal 2013 Defensive MVP list.
The Buccaneers defense would be like a drunken pirate trying to hoist the sails without DT Gerald McCoy. McCoy has been with the Buccaneers since 2010 and he has shown improvement each year. 2013 was by far his best season, as he finished with 50 combined tackles, nine sacks and one forced fumble. McCoy is the X-Factor of the Tampa Bay defense and with Leslie Frazier as the new defensive coordinator, the Bucs defense will be one of the top ranked in the NFL. McCoy can drive offensive lines and quarterbacks crazy. He can break through double coverages and is quick off the line, which allows him to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks very quickly.
In addition, we can’t forget about LB Lavonte David. Despite David’s game-ending penalty in Week 1 against the New York Jets, he earns the second spot on my 2013 Defensive MVP list. This is David’s second year with the Buccaneers and he has been a great player to have. This season, David had 144 combined tackles, six sacks and five interceptions. Although he still has plenty of learning to do, David has proven to be a productive player and I hope he continues to improve. He has the ability to be one of the best linebackers in the league.
Tampa Bay has a whole new crew to steer this ship out of the Bermuda Triangle and back on course for Treasure Island. So far, the Buccaneers organization has hired head coach Lovie Smith, offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. With this coaching staff, the Bucs will keep developing their young players and get this team turned around.
The 2014 season will mark a new era in Buccaneers football, with McCoy and David etching their names in history right next to Sapp and Brooks.