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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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New Linebacker Duo Takes Shape in Tampa Bay

With the return of legendary Buc Lavonte David and an increased role for veteran K.J. Britt, there is a new linebacker tandem in Tampa Bay

LB Minicamp takeaways

In March, legendary Buccaneers' linebacker Lavonte David signed a one-year deal. The distinguished veteran enters his 13th season in Tampa Bay and although the offseason regimen is familiar for David, 2024 brings change. At mandatory minicamp, a new inside linebacker tandem takes shape with David and K.J. Britt.

"K.J. is really passionate about the game of football and I love to see that," David said. "He is always willing to get better and he loves picking my brain and coach's brain. That is something that I admire to see, and he is ready to take on that challenge. Right now, he has the opportunity to take the Mike linebacker spot and so far, so good."

Last season, Devin White dealt with a lingering foot injury and Britt made a significant impact in his absence, particularly in defending the run. Upon White's return from injury, both he and Britt rotated in Todd Bowles' defense. Britt had four game starts in 2023 and totaled 29 tackles and a tackle for loss with a downhill charge. He clogged run lanes with his aggressive prowess between the tackles. With the departure of White in free agency to the Eagles, Britt is working at the Mike [middle] linebacker spot during minicamp and is familiarizing himself with making the defensive calls.

His counterpart, David, has picked up right where he left off in 2023. David started all 15 games in which he played in last season, missing two games due to a groin injury. He spearheaded a defense that tied for sixth in the league in points allowed (19.1 per game) and allowed the fifth fewest rushing yards (95.3 per game). He led the team with 134 tackles and notched 4.5 sacks, his most in a season since 2016. David was the lone player in the NFL in 2023 with 100-plus tackles, 15-plus tackles for loss and 3.0-plus sacks. His 17 tackles for loss last season are the second-most in a single-season by a player age 33 or older since data became available in 2008.

Out on the practice fields, David has made several splash plays in coverage, undercutting routes and breaking up passes over the middle of the field. With fluid footwork and understanding of angles to generate leverage, David sets the tone. Regarded as one of the best off-ball linebackers in the NFL, David has certainly proven that attribute to be factual. The ageless wonder continues to galvanize the Bucs' defense, leading by example.

"I still love the game of football and I still want to play and feel like I am playing at a high level and can compete with the best," noted David on his choice to return in 2024. "This organization feels the same and it was a no brainer for me to come back."

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