Bucs LB Lavonte David didn't record a tackle against the Cardinals - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs Pro Bowl linebacker Lavonte David, normally the team’s leading tackler, was made virtually ineffective by the Cardinals offense Sunday. And that was by design.
Head coach Dirk Koetter on Monday explained that, due to the type of offense Arizona runs, David was often double-teamed by offensive linemen and didn’t get too many opportunities to make plays. The weakside linebacker finished with zero tackles, a first for his career.
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
“They run a certain style of run pay – their main run play – where they’re always double-teaming the down lineman back,” Koetter said, explaining that the Cardinals often ran two offensive lineman down the field to double-team David in a zone-blocking scheme.
“They’re always combo-blocking the down lineman back to [David’s] spot,” Koetter said. “We’ve run that play a lot, too. It’ become a very popular in the NFL for that reason, because they have very good angles. Lavonte really just didn’t have many chances in the game [Sunday].”
Koetter also noted that Arizona, who threw for 319 yards, only had 101 on the ground on 29 carries. He said the Bucs would take a 3.5-yard average “every week,” so while David seemed shut out of the game, the real issues on defense were mainly in front of and behind the linebackers.
Still, Koetter said, there were too many missed tackles by all defenders against the Cardinals high-powered passing attack.
But the Bucs defense’s worst enemy Sunday was the Bucs offense. Too often the defense was left to recover in sudden change situations, as Tampa Bay was minus-five in the turnover margin.
“It’s one thing if your just the defense against their offense on a long field. But turnovers are putting the defense at a disadvantage,” Koetter said. “We’re in too many [sudden change situations] right now. And our defense gave up six explosive plays that accounted for 209 yards. [The Cardinals] just made some big plays.
“But you can’t turn it over five times and be 5-0 in the turnover [differential],” he said. “I think there’s something like three games in the history of the NFL where teams that lost the turnover margin that bad have been able to win. You’re not giving yourself a chance when you turn it over like that. Really, everything that happened last night spins off of those turnovers.”
Koetter was a little off on the numbers. As Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times wrote Monday, 17 teams since the NFL-AFL merger have overcome a minus-five ratio in the turnover battle. Ironically, as Auman also pointed out, Koetter was the offensive coordinator for the last two teams – Falcons in 2012 against the Cardinals and Jaguars in 2010 against the Browns – to overcome such a deficit in the category and win.
Still, 17 times since 1970 proves Koetter’s point. It starts and ends with turnovers.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of linebackers Kwon Alexander had at least two players in both arms, and they broke free for long gains. That was the knock against him last year in PFF.
I had them beating Atlanta and losing to Arizona. I have them beating LA, but they better have had a wake up call!
I’m iffy on beating the Rams. Aron Donald can wreck a team all by his lonesome. But this is a must win. Time for the O line come alive for sure. GO BUCS
I remember both those plays DrT and the reason they broke from was because he tried to tackle them to high. Not sure why he did this because it looked he could have easily had cut there legs out from underneath them.
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