- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- As I watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice Saturday morning, a question popped to mind.
Is it possible for a player to have a breakout season after he already has had a breakout season?
Ordinarily, I’d say no. But I think second-year linebacker Lavonte David could be the exception to that rule. He had an excellent rookie season, but I can see him taking the next step and becoming a Pro Bowl-type player.
David is light years ahead of where he was last year at this time.
“Last year, I came out running around like a chicken with the head cut off,’’ David said. “But now I’m in the groove of things and becoming more comfortable.’’
The year under his belt is significant for David, but it might be a bigger deal for the rest of the defense. That’s because David calls the defensive signals and is looked to as a leader of the defense.
“I think it helps a lot,’’ coach Greg Schiano said. “At this time last year, he was still learning the calls. He’s the communicator. He makes the defensive calls. Now, that’s like second nature to him. Now, he understands the defense and he makes the adjustments. Lavonte is a very, very cerebral football player as well as being fast and tough and all those other things. He gets the whole game and he’s only going to get better as he spends more and more time in the system. He’s an impressive player.’’
David said he’s entering the season with one simple goal.
“Just don’t have a setback,’’ David said. “Everybody says the second year is where you fall off. I’m just trying to get better and keep myself from getting complacent and just try to add on to what I did last year.’’
If David can improve on last year, I think a second breakout season is very possible.