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Bucs’ Players-Only Meetings Held By LB David

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Even at 3-5, the Bucs are still in the thick of the NFC playoff picture and the NFC South division hunt. But three straight losses is not good, and it’s time to sound the alarm bells.

Apparently, the player that has been ringing the bells the most – and the loudest – is veteran linebacker and team captain Lavonte David. Following the Bucs’ 27-22 loss to the Ravens on Thursday Night Football – and in other recent times – David has called players-only meetings to try to rally the troops and turn the Bucs’ ship around.

Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Yeah, we’ve been having a good amount of players-only meetings,” said Bucs rookie running back Rachaad White said. Lavonte has been talking a lot and preaching because he’s been in some dark days here. He understands what route that looks like, so we’ve been having a lot of preaching. At the end of the day, we’ve been talking about a lot and trying to do actions. Actions speak louder than words, really.”

David endured eight straight playoff-less seasons in Tampa Bay at the start of his career before winning Super Bowl LV in 2020. White said that the players-only meetings that David has led have occurred after games and in the big auditorium after coaches leave the team meetings.

“It happens in the big auditorium, after games,” White said. “Captains are big on speaking and understanding. It just happens around the facility, even in practice sometimes. That’s been a big thing.”

The Bucs are desperately trying to save a season that could be on the brink of spiraling out of control if they can’t beat the 3-4 Rams on Sunday.

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman said that David has been echoing the attention to details message that head coach Todd Bowles has been preaching.

“Yeah, just to everybody where their focus should be – all of the detail stuff, like the little things,” Perriman said. “Sometimes we may take it for granted, but that’s a fair assessment.

“I feel like everybody knows what’s at stake and what our ultimate goal is. We’ve got to get on track, keep our heads down, keep working, and the things we need to correct, correct it. Just keep going.”

Bucs LB David’s Message Is To Stick Together And Keep Working

Bucs All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs said David’s message has hit home with the team. David implored the Bucs to keep working and stick together.

“I thought it was received really well,” Wirfs said. “We all know what we gotta do, it’s going to take all of us in here to be successful. That’s pretty much what Lavonte was saying, one guy is not going to be a superhero. There are 11 guys out there at once. It’s just going to be pretty imperative for all of us in here, in this locker room, to have our hand in the pile.”

With some of the Bucs’ elder statesmen from the Super Bowl – defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul – no longer on the team, the message from the 32-year David carries added weight.

Bucs Lb Lavonte David And Co-Dc Larry Foote

Bucs LB Lavonte David and co-DC Larry Foote – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Oh absolutely,” Wirfs said. “He always brings a great message when he talks to the group – and it was under shitty circumstances [following the loss to the Ravens] but all the same.”

Bucs safety Mike Edwards said that it’s important for a player that is held in high regards like David to help the coaches get the message across to the players.

“We’ve been playing not our brand of football,” Edwards said. “Lavonte’s one of those guys who steps in after the game. Coaches don’t even have to know; we’re out there playing the game. Feel like we just got to step in as a group and just come together and play our brand of football because this past four weeks – it hasn’t been up to our standards, obviously. Everybody knows that. I feel like we’ve got to come together, play sound defense. And as a whole team we’ve got to just play together.

“When it comes down to it, it’s just making plays, trusting the defense, swarm to the football. Like I said, we’ve done a lot of things – getting out of gaps, missing tackles, a lot of explosive plays that we gave up. So, once we shut that down and actually [start] playing our basic defense, we’ll be good.”

If that happens, David’s message will have hit home.

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