We've focused on the Bucs improved defense over the 2nd half of the 2014 season. As a whole, it seemed as if there was a group understanding of the Bucs new style of "Tampa 2" defense and the roles everyone needed to play. In particular, the strength of that defense might lie within their linebacker corps.
We all know about Lavonte David and the improvement the Bucs made at middle linebacker with the addition of Bruce Carter, but strongside linebacker Danny Lansanah continues to fly under the radar. Lansanah was a big part of the Bucs success in run defense and added three interceptions in 2014, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Lansanah's play in 2014 earned him the title of "Secret Superstar" by Pro Football Focus, a stats driven website.
"Lansanah wasn’t a starter in Week 1, but he was by Week 4. His 27 stops in run defense as a 4-3 outside linebacker helped him to a 10.1 Run Stop Percentage, second on the team among linebackers, and 12th in the league at the position. His 14.5 Tackling Efficiency in the passing game was 11th-best among 4-3 linebackers. Three interceptions (two pick-sixes) and two pass deflections helped Lansanah hold opposing QBs to a 84.4 passer rating, and a +1.5 coverage grade."
Lansanah's success did not end with the 2014 season. He has impressed his teammates during this off-season as well, including Bruce Carter.
"Danny's been our interception master all OTAs," Carter said back in June. "I think he had one today that he dropped. He's a great player, a guy that has a lot of experience on our team and a lot of leadership. I'm excited to play alongside him."
Lansanah will have a leg up on newcomer Kwon Alexander for the battle of strongside linebacker during training camp. While Lansanah has been solid for the Bucs, Alexander bring much more athleticism and speed to the position. Alexander's adjustment time to the NFL will tell us how long it takes him to truly compete for playing time.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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