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Linebacker Lavonte David thinks the Bucs’ defense will be legendary

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He expects them to be better than the Steel Curtain. He expects them to be better than the Doomsday Defense. He expects them to be better than the Monsters of the Midway.

He expects them to be better than the Purple People Eaters. He expects them to be better than the Fearsome Foursome. Better than the Killer Bs.

Lavonte David expects this season’s Tampa Bay Bucs’ defense to be better than the one in 2002 with Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Ronde Barber. He expects it to be better than the Ravens’ defense. Better than all the Patriot defenses.

David, in fact, expects this to be the best defense in NFL history.

And how is that for grand expectations?

Oh, the Bucs have addressed their defense, certainly. They have brought in a new coordinator in Mike Smith, new defensive ends in Robert Ayers (free agency) and Noah Spence (the draft). They have new corners in Brett Grimes (free agency) and Vernon Hargreaves (the draft).

But are they ready to have a breakthrough where they are compared with the all-time defenses?

“I think we can be the best defense ever, to be honest,” David said. “I’m going to go out there and say it.”

Mind you, we are talking about the Bucs, who gave up 30 points or more in seven games last year. The Bucs were 10th in the NFL, but they struggled to rush the passer and play defense. Their 26 points allowed per game was 26th in the NFL.

“Yeah, I’m going to say it. Put it on me. I’m going to say it,” he said. “NFL history, Bucs history, anything. That’s just the type of attitude we have.”

Write it off to enthusiasm. Granted, Spence and Ayers should help the pass rush. Grimes and Hargreaves should help the coverage.

But best ever? Can you imagine that quote getting repeated by Sapp and Brooks and Barber and Lynch? I would imagine they would think it was a precious little quote.

Then they’d say this.

Show them.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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