137 total tackles
19 tackles for a loss
12 quarterback hits
2 forced fumbles
1 fumble recovery
These are stats that are historic to the National Football League for one linebacker’s season and worthy of Defensive Player of the Year accolades, but these were stats that were not enough to get Lavonte David into his 1st pro bowl.
Since 1982 when sacks became an official statistic, only 5 players have ever totaled 6 sacks and 5 interceptions in a season. Lavonte David becomes the first linebacker to ever accomplish this feat, yet it was still not enough to earn him the title of pro bowler.
We know it’s an absolute joke, but this should be something we’ve grown to accept as Bucs fans. Teams with poor records who are rarely on a big stage tend to not receive the same amount of individual accolades as players on winning teams.
The Bucs are on the verge of ending the 2013 season with a 4-12 record and are not regarded as one of the more exciting teams in the NFL. Darrelle Revis and Gerald McCoy made it back to the pro bowl because of the reputation they have each built for of themselves. It was a stretch to believe that a player could build their own star reputation on a team with such a bad record. It doesn’t matter how much you or I feel Lavonte David deserves it.
Lavonte David also does not play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. OLBs in a 4-3 defense just do not have the value that these elite pass rushers in 3-4 defenses have. Hali, Houston, Mathis, Abraham, Brooks, and Suggs all have more sacks and present more pass rushing specialties than David does. However, none are a threat in pass coverage.
David is also remembered nationally for a poor play he made in week one of the regular season. As he shoved Geno Smith out of bounds, drew a flag for a personal foul, and put the Jets in position to kick the game-winning field goal, David might also have solidified his stature for the 2013 season against the lowly Jets in New York. It’s definitely unfair, but when you’re a team like the Bucs who are rarely in the spotlight, it is hard to break away from a bad penalty that led to your team losing a game when that highlight was seen more than any of your other highlights the remainder of the season.
If the Bucs would have ended this season the way we all expected they would back in August, Lavonte David would definitely be in the pro bowl and in the running for defensive player of the year. With a 4-12 record on the way, the best David can hope for is an alternate selection to the pro bowl this year and the hope that next year David is viewed as well nationally as he is locally.