45 Days: McDonald Believes Bucs D is Close

As we countdown the days until the Bucs' 1st preseason game, we discuss a different Bucs player at length.

During our countdown, we have gotten to dive into the stories of well known players and the lesser known players. As we enter July, we focus on one of the most solid players on the Bucs roster.

For the other stories we've done during this countdown, we have dug deep on players' backgrounds and stories. As we turn our attention to Clinton McDonald, I'm not sure there's much of a story to tell. I mean, McDonald is extremely solid and plays the unselfish position of nose tackle in the Tampa 2 defense.

In Tampa, we've seen some of the most likable players in recent memory play the nose tackle spot. Brad Culpepper was loved on the field, and now is on every other commercial on the TV and radio. Booger McFarland was also a Buccaneer fan favorite, and now has made his name on the SEC Network and the debunked 98.7 The Fan in Tampa. (I had the privilege to work with Booger and am proud to call him a friend.)

Clinton McDonald is a likable player who plays hard and understands his role on the Bucs defense. McDonald also played on one of the most dominant defenses in recent memory when he played on the Seahawks defensive line. When McDonald says that he sees the Bucs' improvement in the 2nd half of the 2014 season as a sign of things to come, I tend to listen.

"We’ve felt it as players on the field," McDonald said of the Bucs' improvement on defense in the 2nd half of last season. "We knew what it was about, we knew what the style of coaching and the style of defense that coach Lovie Smith wanted to represent, along with coach Leslie Frazier, and we didn’t want to let those guys down. We didn’t want to disappoint anybody on our half. We’re a defense so we worry about resolve. We worry about getting the job done and stopping the quarterback, stopping the run, eliminating the pass – things like that. So, we had to get focused on what we had to do the second part of the season after the bye week, and we still (have) a long ways to go and a lot of improving to do, but at the same time we’re kind of narrowing our focus and make it simple for us to go out there and do our jobs the best way we can.”

The talent seems to be in place by the players returning and the players that were added during the off-season. One aspect of this Bucs' defense that doesn't mesh with dominant defenses around the NFL is the confidence and swagger. McDonald tends to agree.

“The camaraderie comes first," McDonald said. "You get a lot of ex-players, retired guys, and the main thing they speak about is the camaraderie. You know, how the guys made them feel inside – because you’ve got to think about this: those guys in there right now, all of us together, we’re a small group of guys that are coming together for one common goal – we’re playing for the Bucs."

Coming together and playing as one defensive unit will lead to that confidence and swagger I talked about. Many of the same pieces do return in 2015, so hopefully that camaraderie has already begun.

46 Days: Questions on the Blindside

47 Days: Bruce Carter Is the Defense's Glue

48 Days: Tandy's Versatility Keeps Him Around

49 Days: Gholston's Year to Reach Potential

50 Days: Conte Brings Experience to Bucs Defense

51 Days: Mike James in Short Yardage

52 Days: Mike Jenkins' Return from Injury

53 Days: Logan Mankins' Impact

54 Days: Lavonte David

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