Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs choose Bruce Carter to replace Kwon Alexander (w/video)

TAMPA — Bruce Carter, signed to be the Bucs' middle linebacker in the spring, finally will get that chance, taking over a key position in the middle of Tampa Bay's defense for suspended rookie Kwon Alexander.

"Very excited," said Carter, who lost the starting job in preseason and has seen limited action as the backup strongside linebacker. "It's an opportunity. You've got to be prepared, got to be ready. Coach Lovie (Smith), the whole defense, the entire coaching staff, they expect me to go in there and make plays. They don't want any dropoff from when Kwon was in there. That's what I expect to do."

Carter, 27, who missed last week's game with a concussion, has played on only 12 percent of the defensive snaps, but he'll be in a major role Sunday against the Saints, counted on to relay defensive calls, have the defense in position and make plays himself.

"I'm a vet. I've been around for a while," said Carter, who as a Cowboy last season led NFL linebackers with five interceptions. "I know what's expected of me, and I'm going to go in and do it."

Carter signed a four-year, $17 million contract in free agency and was to be the starting middle linebacker. But Alexander, a fourth-round draft pick, seized the starting job with a strong summer and preseason.

Weakside linebacker Lavonte David, who practiced Friday after being held out with an ankle injury Thursday, said he feels fine and will play Sunday. He wants to find the same chemistry with Carter that he has had with Alexander, who will miss the next four games serving a suspension for violating the league's policies on performance-enhancing substances.

"When you get used to a guy like Kwon, with his attitude, his mentality when he's out there on the field, it's going to be difficult to adjust to somebody else," David said. "I have all the trust and faith in the world in Bruce. He's a veteran guy. He knows what he's doing. I really don't think there's going to be any dropoff. The main thing we really have to work on is our communication, just talking to each other to make the game easy for both of us."

Smith said Carter has had the right attitude, even while playing in a smaller role — he leads the team with nine special-teams tackles — and he's optimistic Carter will handle the starting role well Sunday and beyond.

"I feel very good," Smith said. "A good player isn't playing for us (for) a while, but you do have to move on. We didn't have a great defensive lineman last week in Gerald McCoy and the guys stepped up. Bruce Carter is a good football player. We brought him here to play football for us. Normally, if you keep doing things the right way, you get an opportunity. He's getting his opportunity, he's had a good week of practice and we're excited about what he's going to do."

In choosing Carter for the middle, the Bucs can keep Danny Lansanah at strongside linebacker — he has played more than twice as many snaps as Carter as they shared that role. The Bucs used their three-linebacker base defense on 42 percent of the snaps against New Orleans in September, so both linebackers will be on the field and busy in Sunday's game.

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs choose Bruce Carter to replace Kwon Alexander (w/video) 12/11/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2015 10:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often


    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  2. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005


    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  3. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  4. Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is congratulated in the dugout after scoring on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Lucas Duda in the sixth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Tropicana Field on Friday.
  5. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz celebrates his Trop-record 482-foot home run in the ninth inning.