Lavonte David ‘Dots’ The Buccaneer Defense
Buccaneer coach Greg Schiano refers to linebacker Lavonte David as “the dot.”
David has the green dot on his helmet. It’s the helmet with the mic from the coaching staff, calling the defensive sets. The rookie linebacker from Nebraska then calls the defensive sets. He “dots” the defense.
Why a rookie? It’s simple, David is the only linebacker in the game in every defensive formation. He’s a true three-down ‘backer, something the Bucs didn’t have last year, it’s something huge that David brings to the defense.
David was the team’s leading tackler last Sunday against Carolina with four solos, six total.
In the Bucs’ base 4-3 set, David is the WILL or weakside linebacker, the position held by Derrick Brooks during the defensive glory years. When the team goes to its “nickel” defense on passing downs, strong side linebacker Quincy Black comes out and a fifth defensive back is added. Against Carolina it was Brandon McDonald.
In today’s pass-happy NFL, when offenses bring in a swarm of receivers, the Bucs will go to their “dime” package. In that set, middle linebacker Mason Foster comes out and another defensive back will come in, typically safety Ahmad Black. David’s still in there, he moves to the middle.
His versatility is what the defense was missing in 2011. He’s a nice run stopper, but has the speed and mobility to cover effectively in the passing game. The Bucs needed an every-down linebacker and that’s what David is.
One game doesn’t make a season but when you look at David’s body of work in training camp, the preseason, then the opener against Carolina, he’s earned “the dot.”