Before the season started many thought the Bucs defense would be the strength of this team. After all, Lovie Smith had a tremendous reputation as a defensive minded coach. Now, I still think that's the case but you wouldn't know it after watching this team through eight games. NFL Films Greg Cosell, who joined Fan Interference Thursday morning, says this defense has many deficiencies. "This team does not have pass rushers. I think that this defense requires better safety play and I don't think they have the safeties right now that fit exactly what Lovie Smith wants," Cosell said. "And obviously you need that middle whole defender and I think that they would feel that they need a better player at that position."
Cosell watches a ton of film. His input on players and schemes is second to none. That's why when the question about Lavonte David's play came up on Thursday, I was intrigued. David is an All-Pro type player. Next to Gerald McCoy, David is someone this defense can and should build around. But when your team is 1-8, everyone is fair game when it comes to criticism. For David, it was lack of splash plays this season. When you have 0 sacks and 0 interceptions that's understandable. Smith wants turnovers from his defense. He's not getting any. David isn't forcing any. Cosell thinks David is playing at a high level nonetheless. "I notice David on film," Cosell said. "I still notice the great movement, the lateral quickness and speed. He makes tackles. I don't think there is anything wrong with Lavonte David."
The worry is when a team is struggling, players try and do too much. Smith was asked if that's the case with David. “In being a linebacker in our system, it’s about discipline and doing your job. It’s as simple as that and he’s bought into that,"Smith said. "No, I don’t think that will be the case at all and eventually we’re going to – right now he’s getting a lot tackles, he hasn’t had an opportunity to get his hands on a lot of balls and that will come in time also.”
David is a very good player on a bad defense. I'm sure a better pass rush would make his job easier. Unfortunately for the Bucs, that won't be changing anytime soon.
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