by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/6/14) The Buccaneers' new coaching staff says it has high hopes for defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, but "it will be a bonus" if the team gets any meaningful contribution from him moving forward, reports ESPN.com. Bothered by a knee problem last season, Bowers had seven tackles and a sack in 13 games and was unable to hold a starting job.
Buccaneers' defense could spark turnaround
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (1/29/14) New general manager Jason Licht thinks the Buccaneers' defense could jumpstart a quick turnaround in Tampa Bay.
“We have a lot of core players on this team that I am very excited about — (defensive tackle) Gerald McCoy, (linebacker) Lavonte David, (cornerback) Darrelle Revis and (safety) Dashon Goldson, just to name a few,'' Licht said, per the Tampa Tribune. “I don't think we're far away.''
The Bucs, who finished 4-12, ranked 17th in total yards allowed and 21st in points allowed in 2013. New head coach Lovie Smith is a respected defensive mind who should mold this unit into a force.
Darrelle Revis: I have no problem playing Cover 2
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (1/26/14) New Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith already has said he'll play more than Cover 2 and find ways to use cornerback Darrelle Revis' shutdown ability. Now Revis has chimed in, saying he's looking forward to meeting Smith and embracing the scheme.
"I played Cover 2 last year," Revis told NFL Network. "I don't have a problem playing Cover 2. There are some things we can do, we can move some things around and scheme things differently and we'll be fine. We'll talk about it."
Revis added the Bucs have the talent to make a quick turnaround under Smith. "Lovie had success in the past," Revis said. "With this roster, hopefully we have success again under him."
Darrelle Revis pronounces knee 100 percent
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com (1/25/14) Five weeks after lamenting that he was still struggling with his surgically repaired knee, veteran Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revispronounced it fine.
"I'm 100 percent, man," he told JoeBucsFan.com. "Through the course of the year, it got stronger week to week. I'm just trying to continue to improve and get back to where I used to play great ball."
Revis played through the pain in 2013, starting every game and finishing with 50 tacklesand two interceptions.
Lavonte David draws Derrick Brooks comparison
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (1/7/14) New Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith compared linebacker Lavonte David to the greatest linebacker in franchise history, Derrick Brooks. “There’s not a lot of players like Derrick Brooks," Smith said, per ESPN.com. “It’s not even fair to compare some guys in that way. But, Lavonte David, he has a chance. He’s that younger version coming up. I hear he’s a great guy."
A first-team All-Pro, David became the seventh player in NFL history to record at least five sacks and at least five interceptions in a season, the report said. David has 283 tackles in his two-year career.
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Tampa Bay's run defense was excellent in 2012, but its pass defense left a lot to be desired. The Bucs allowed just 1,320 rush yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground over 16 games but yielded over 4,700 passing yards and 30 scores through the air. Hence why the team acquired cornerback Darrelle Revis from the Jets and drafted Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks while bringing back corner Eric Wright, in addition to signing Dashon Goldson to play safety. The secondary, at least on paper, is one of the best in the league (don't forget safety Mark Barron) but questions persist about how much work they'll deal with given the lack of an established pass rush. The Bucs will welcome back pass rusher Adrian Clayborn, who missed most of the 2012 campaign with a knee injury and have Da'Quan Bowers in the fold there too. If both players play to their potential then this defense, complete with a quality defensive line including Gerald McCoy and a great pair of linebackers in Lavonte David and Mason Foster, then this defense could be among the best in the league. A great Week 1 matchup at the Jets also gives some appeal but matchups against the Saints and Patriots in Weeks 2 and 3 will make them difficult to start. They also play several other tough offenses along the way. If you're the kind of Fantasy owner to draft multiple DSTs then the Bucs should make your list. If you prefer to take one DST, which is typical, the Bucs will be the team you draft for Week 1 and either bench or cut because of tough matchups thereafter. (Updated 5/15/13)