Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Next step for Bucs LBs David, Alexander: ‘Quicker decision-makers’

TAMPA — Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander are at the very center of the Bucs defense, and since they've established their quickness and playmaking ability, their next step should be a mental one this upcoming season.

"Improving their awareness, so they continue to see the bigger picture, and by seeing the bigger picture, being quicker decision-makers," Bucs linebackers coach Mark Duffner said Wednesday, asked what their next step would be. "The quicker they can make decisions, the more active and productive they can be. We're looking for them … to stay consistent in terms of making the opponent's offense feel them."

David and Alexander combined for eight sacks in 2016, but had none last season, and the Bucs' upgraded defensive line should help give them clear paths to opposing quarterbacks when they choose to blitz.

"We've got to get better at our technique," Duffner said. "Some of that's timing, some of that's footwork, some of that's awareness. Regardless … it's our responsibility at linebacker, as blitzers, to make the quarterback feel us."

David and Alexander finished 1-2 in tackles last season, despite missing a combined seven games with injuries. They had their share of splash plays, with David forcing five fumbles and Alexander tying for the team lead with three interceptions.

UNSUNG: Bucs special-teams coordinator Nate Kaczor raved about WR Chris Godwin, whose rookie season included a game against the Lions where he had five catches for 68 yards, but also had two solo tackles on kick coverage, including one for a negative-yardage return.

"That game right there just speaks to how rare of a player he was as a rookie, and it's because he works so hard," Kaczor said. "He's got the height, weight, speed and preparedness and toughness. He doesn't have a lot of holes in his game … the guy is a darn good player."

THIS AND THAT: LBs coach Mark Duffner said Kendell Beckwith is "on schedule" and "doing well" in recovering from a fractured ankle in a car accident in Louisiana last month. The team is hopeful he can back healthy for the start of training camp. … DBs coach Jon Hoke was impressed by undrafted rookie S Godwin Igwebuike, as well as CB Mark Myers, who earned a contract after going to rookie minicamp as a tryout player: "He's not very big, but he is very quick, he's explosive and he's fast," Hoke said. "It's interesting." … Rookie RB Ronald Jones has switched from No. 22, which he wore during rookie minicamp, and will wear No. 27 for the Bucs.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

On a day when the Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taking place across the pond, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston proposed marriage to his long-time girlfriend Breion Allen Saturday in New York City.She said yes.The proposal to...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

At no position is the Bucs' ability to find talent outside the NFL draft more clear than at tight end, where three of the four returning players from last season joined the Bucs as undrafted rookie free agents.Cameron Brate did so in 2014, Alan Cross...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Saints, Eagles, Steelers.Three games against three playoff teams to open the NFL season.Who in the league scheduling office did the Buccaneers tick off?What an injustice!Or not.Maybe the league did the Bucs a favor.Would you rather face the Saints, E...
Published: 05/21/18
O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

Add another to the long list of Bucs players and coaches excited about first-round pick Vita Vea: offensive line coach George Warhop.Warhop said the 347-pound defensive tackle from Washington kept showing up as he looked at tape on Pac-12 offensive l...
Published: 05/19/18
Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

TAMPA — At least he stopped short of calling them soft. That's not a word you ever want to use when describing an NFL player, much less the entire offensive line. That would be a tough pillow to swallow.But it's clear George Warhop didn't like ...
Published: 05/19/18
Pop Warner to honor Bucs’ Gerald McCoy as ‘Inspiration to Youth’

Pop Warner to honor Bucs’ Gerald McCoy as ‘Inspiration to Youth’

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be honored at Pop Warner's annual "All-American Scholars Banquet" in Orlando with the national sports organization's "Inspiration to Youth" award.McCoy, who has been to six straight Pro Bowls, is the first-ever...
Published: 05/18/18
Land O’Lakes grad Shaheed Salmon gets contract with Bucs

Land O’Lakes grad Shaheed Salmon gets contract with Bucs

Most appropriately named player on the Bucs roster? Undrafted rookie Shaheed Salmon, a linebacker from Land O'Lakes who has quickly shown the ability to fight against the current and get to where he wants to go.Salmon, 22, wasn't drafted and didn't h...
Published: 05/18/18
Mike Evans, Jameis Winston among top 25 players under 25, Pro Football Focus says

Mike Evans, Jameis Winston among top 25 players under 25, Pro Football Focus says

Mike Evans and Jameis Winston are two of the 25 best young players in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.In the website's Top 25 Under 25 list, Evans ranks 11th and Winston ranks 20th. Evans is the highest-ranked receiver, and Winston is the hi...
Published: 05/18/18
More praise for Bucs WR Chris Godwin: ‘I see him as a starter’

More praise for Bucs WR Chris Godwin: ‘I see him as a starter’

Perhaps no Bucs player is drawing more consistent praise from coaches than second-year receiver Chris Godwin, who emerged in the second half last year and got his first career touchdown on the Bucs' final pass of the year to beat the Saints in the se...
Published: 05/17/18
George Warhop on Donovan Smith: ‘You have something here that’s special’

George Warhop on Donovan Smith: ‘You have something here that’s special’

A year ago, Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop was unwavering in his support for left tackle Donovan Smith, and on Thursday, he again made it clear he considers the fourth-year player among the best at his position."I don't think I'd take anybod...
Published: 05/17/18