With the sun hidden behind the heavy clouds and the rain falling out the sky, the Tampa Bay Bucs hit the field running…business as usual. Protected by full pads during this practice session, the linebackers were the focus of the day.
Last season Kwon Alexander lead the team in tackles with 145 total. Lavonte David added 87 of his own. This mission this training camp is to build depth and find the third backer in the starting unit to compliment Alexander and David. A handful of names are in the mix. Rookie Kendell Beckwith out of LSU has plenty of playmaking potential and 4th year pro Cameron Lynch has been solid.
“You know, Kendell, that’s really amazing because it’s only been eight months since his ACL [injury] and very few guys come back that fast. The first couple days we were out here in rookie practice before the throng of fans and media was here, Kendell, I was a little nervous, not about his knee, just he looked rusty. After four practices he’s probably our most improved player, as far as a guy where he started and where he is after four practices.” – Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Local product Adarius Glanton from Lakewood high school (Florida Atlantic) has been the most impressive of those competing for that open LB position. Glanton totaled 12 tackles in 2016-2017 season and looks motivated to crack the starting line up. Richie Brown and Jeff Knox Jr. are also in the mix.
Lavonte David is excited about the direction the defense is going in and the defense will follow the voice of the leader and right now that’s Kwon. When asked about making on field calls and adjustments, David had this to say, “Kwon [Alexander] makes them and then everybody echoes Kwon’s call. The Mike is the leader of this defense and whatever he says, goes. So if he’s wrong – everybody is wrong. If he’s right – everybody is right and we are in a good situation.”
All in all, the backers are a unit built with speed. The front four should be solid with Gerald McCoy anchoring. However the linebackers will still be counted on to created pressure and be disruptive in the running game. An improved unit with lots of confidence, they may not be receiving the attentions they deserve. Lavonte David on being an under the radar linebacker group when it comes to national attention, “I don’t really care about that. All we can do right now is just focus on our play. We feel like we [David and Kwon Alexander] the best duo in the league. We talk about it every day. We try to be the best that we can be every time, so it doesn’t really matter what everybody else thinks. As long as we go out there and do our jobs the right way and we put [our stamp] on the game as much as we can.”
The team is off Tuesday and will hit the field again Wednesday for Training Camp practice #5.