Bucs’ defense to welcome back David, Vea

by Gary Shelton on September 4, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

David's return could be key for the Bucs/JEFFREY S. KING.

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

When the Tampa Bay Bucs make their first effort to prove there is really something improved about their defense, they will have two of their most important weapons back in the lineup.

Lavonte David? Healthy.

Vita Vea? Healthy.

It will help a defense that has been (mostly) abysmal for years as the Bucs prepare to face Jimmy Garappolo and his teammates. Garappolo remains one of the most respected quarterbacks in the NFL even though he has started only 10 games.

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“I feel like (getting off to a good start)  is really important," Vea said. "We’ve just got to go out there and prove what we can do collectively as a defense, not individually. I feel like this is what the coaches have been preaching to us to work together, communicate and things like that. We will see Sunday how everythingfits and how the cookie crumbles from there. After that, we will fix it from there.”

San Francisco's own defense is pretty good, including newcomers Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford.

“We’ve been going back and forth about it all year," David said of reuniting with Alexander. "Kwon is like my little brother. We are always going to have a personal relationship outside of football. We talk a lot. You know how he is already, so he is excited, and I am excited as well.”

Taking the place of Alexander for the Bucs will be No. 1 draft pick Devin White.

“Devin is a natural leader – you have to respect it," David said. "He’s coming in, he wants to play football and he wants to win. You love to have a guy like that next to you. He is a real talkative guy, as well, not only on the field but he talks a lot off the field too. He is just a joy to be around because he loves the game of football, he wants to be out there, and he wants to be great.”

Arians said he wanted Alexander to return.

“He didn’t play too much in the preseason, but he looked like himself," Arians said. "Obviously, we wanted him back, but he hit the lottery, so God bless him – I am all for it. Now we are playing against him and we know what he can do. We know what his strengths and weaknesses are.”

Arians said it will be good for David and Vea to return.

“Oh, it’s huge," Arians said. "I mean you are talking about two of the best players we have: one of the best leaders we have and one of the best young leaders that we have. That part of putting those guys back out there is paramount.”

Garappolo is a big challenge, Arians said.

"I’ve always liked Jimmy," Arians said. "Jimmy had a heck of a game against us in Arizona (on) opening night a couple of years back. He’s a solid player. I think he’s a really good player. He fits what they do offensively and he’s a heck of a challenge.”

Arians was asked what he has learned about Jameis Winston since the spring.

"Not a whole lot that I didn’t know," Arians said. "He’s extremely bright, a hard worker, accurate quarterback. He might be a better athlete than I gave him credit for in the couple runs that he took off with. I think he had 19 miles-an-hour on his GPS one time – I could not believe it. I think it was false, but yeah, he’s a little better athlete than I thought."

Arians said the communication between a head coach and his quarterback was important.

"I think it’s paramount," he said. "There has to be a trust factor when he comes off the field and we talk – tell me what you saw. Don’t tell me what I want to hear, tell me what you saw so that we can have an open dialogue. Same thing with Byron [Leftwich] – it’s now a three-way street with the three of us, so feeling out ‘What play do you not want in the playbook this week? We’ve got thousands. Give me 10 – if you don’t want to see them in the playbook, they’re not in there’ – that kind of stuff."

The Bucs' offensive line faces challenges, too.

“Many of them – (they’ve got Arik) Armstead, (DeForest) Bucker, Dee Ford and (Nick) Bosa," Arians said. "I mean they are all number ones up there. Each and every one of them in and of themselves can go and wreck a game. When they added Dee – I happened to do the Kansas City-Cardinals game last year – he just totally took the game over. He presents a challenge with his speed rush. Nick – I am sure he is going to play – he is a different type of guy. But Armstead and Bucker, those guys are very, very talented guys.”










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