He has heard the expectations.
He has seen the prognostications.
And, frankly, they kind of tick off Tampa Bay Bucs‘ linebacker Lavonte David off a bit. Which is why, on an afternoon in the middle of the off-season, you could find him screaming to his teammates.
” ‘We still have doubters. Nobody believes in us.’” David remembers yelling. “When they come out with the schedule, all of the analysts put out wins and losses and we were one of the teams who had more L’s than W’s. It’s like a slap in the face to the guys we have on this team and everybody had that in the back of their minds.”
David said he is tired of the low expectations for the Bucs.
“Yeah, I’m very tired,” he said. “Yesterday in work outs, I was screaming at the guys. It’s always in the back of my mind but we just have to take care of what we have to take care of and that’s taking it one day at a time and that’s what we’re trying to do. Like you said, we have the pieces, we have the guys that are getting individual accolades, but it’s a team effort. Getting the individual accolades is pretty good, but the big accolade is winning the Super Bowl – it’s the main thing. When you win the Super Bowl everybody gets recognized and that’s what we want.”
The Bucs have added Robert Ayers, Daryl Smith and Brent Grimes to their defense, and they have the draft coming up. They also have a new defensive coordinator in Mike Smith.
“Oh man, Mike is just as excited as the players. Every time we get in the meetings he’s rattling off stuff, just going and going. Sometimes we have to tell him to calm down but he’s like, ‘I’m just so excited, man. I’s going to be fun,’ because he sees it. He sees the talent that we have and we see it also, but it’s our first time in there so we have to tell him, ‘Calm down we’re trying to learn it.’ But like you said, I was telling him earlier – guys like Daryl – and Brent [Grimes] is the same way. He’s played in this defense and they know how it works, so we need a collective effort from everyone. Mike – he’s a great guy and a great coach and he’s eager just like us to get out there.”
The Bucs’ defense will welcome the return of linebacker Kwon Alexander. Last year, the team was 6-6 with Alexander in the lineup and 0-4 without him.
“You can’t even get him to shut up,” David said. “He’s talking all day, all day. We’re always around each other so I have to hear him talk all day and sometimes I tell him, ‘You have to chill. I’m tired of you talking, you talk too much,’ but that’s just how he is, that’s the excitement that we have. I’m sure he’s probably the same way about me, but that’s the excitement we have. The sky is the limit for us this year.”