With their 2nd round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Lavonte David, a linebacker from Nebraska, and ever since, he has been the silent leader on a defense that has seen as many changes as any team in the NFL.
Entering his 8th season as a Buccaneer, Lavonte David is on his 4th Head Coach and 6th different Defensive Coordinator, but despite the revolving door that has been the coaching staff, he hasn’t allowed it to throw him off his game or interfere with what he knows has to be done.
While often being the quiet assassin behind more boisterous players such as former Buccaneer Kwon Alexander, David has simply allowed his actions on the field to speak for him, even if those at the NFL Headquarters in New York aren’t paying attention, which many will argue has cost him trips to the Pro Bowl, but don’t expect him to change his style no matter who is wearing the headset or who is taking notice.
“I don’t think nobody expects more from me,” David said. “Everybody expects me to be the same guy that I’ve been. Being the leader I am, the quiet leader I am. Everybody leans on me for a lot of things. We keep that between ourselves. So guys know what I’m capable of, they also know what I bring and they know the energy I bring, the motivational factor I can bring to each guy. Sometimes when guys like JPP go down or stuff like that, my role may have to get a little bigger. But they just need me to be the same leader I’ve been since I’ve been here.”
In his time as a Buccaneer, David has managed to record 21.5 sacks, 10 interceptions, and 641 solo tackles to go along with 18 forced fumbles and 45 hits on opposing quarterbacks. To put his numbers into perspective, Head Coach Bruce Arians when talking about Lavonte David’s resume responded with:
“He’s got a resume, a really, really good one. Almost a Hall of Fame one. He’s a very quiet leader, you like those kind of guys because people just follow him. You don’t have to hear them, you just follow them.”
Many Buc fans would love for David to be more outspoken and step onto the field with a chip on his shoulder, but at the end of the day, as long as he keeps putting out the same numbers he has been, they are more than willing to join the team in recognizing that this is now his defense, and that it will very likely fall on him to help guide his remaining teammates to an outstanding year defensively, that along with an improved offense, will put the Buccaneers back in the playoffs, which is where they should have been all along.