The Bucs fall to division rivals New Orleans in the Superdome - 11/6/2011
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday October 16.
Ntohing beats a win in on national TV in front of a sold out crowd!
By Tom Krasniqi
The numbers from last year’s defense were ugly for the Buccaneers. Last in the NFL in sacks with 23 and dead last in rush defense. Statistically, the Bucs had the worst defense in franchise history and this is an organization that prides itself on stifling defense. Part of the problem from 2011 was the poor play from the linebackers. Missed tackles and blown assignments were the norm. Head coach Greg Schiano is hoping to change that by installing a more aggressive scheme which places an emphasis on more attacking and less read-and-react.
After four days of camp, Schiano likes what he sees out of LBs. “I think the linebackers are starting to better understand what they’re doing and starting to get a better feel”, says Schiano. After practice on Monday, the coach praised LaVonte David and Quincy Black for having a solid camp so far and says that he’s “pleased” with Mason Foster’s progress.
On paper, the linebacking corps figures to be much improved from a year ago. Foster was thrusted into the role of middle linebacker as a rookie and seemed lost at times. Starting weakside ‘backer Geno Hayes was not re-signed and is now with the Chicago Bears. Strongside LB Quincy Black struggled mightily last season, but seems to be more comfortable in this defense. “It’s more attacking…it’s not as much read. It’s like get up and go and everything else falls in place”, says Black. At one point during Monday’s practice, Black laid a hit on WR Vincent Jackson on a bubble screen. He’s made a couple of eye-opening plays so far in camp.
Then, there’s LaVonte David. The rookie out of Nebraska was the team’s 2nd round pick and is the heavy favorite to start at weakside LB. He’s not the biggest guy (6-1, 233lbs) but he’s fast and explosive. He covers a lot of ground in the passing game and can also blitz. David had 11.5 career sacks in two seasons at Nebraska- “At Nebraska, I blitzed a lot…I was the key blitzer so hopefully it’ll transition over here”. David is hoping to get a chance to get after the quarterback and he may get his chance. There are rumblings that the Bucs defense promises to be very aggressive with tons of blitzing but the linebackers know they’ll play an important role. “We are a defense. Everything works together…if one guys doesn’t do his job, somebody can go for 90 [yards]”, says Black. The LB play figures to improve from last season. It can’t possibly be any worse.
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