If you were to ask Lavonte David how he feels about coach Mark Duffner, the answer you will get right away is short and sweet: “He’s great!”
But the longer answer gives much more insight into how the defense feels about their new defensive coordinator.
According to the Buccaneers veteran linebacker, Lavonte David, everyone loves Coach Duffner. “He’s a great motivator,” David had said via SiriusXM Blitz with Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn back in late October, “He’s bringing a lot of energy out of us. He had the respect of all of us before he became defensive coordinator. Everybody loves Coach Duffner. He just allows us to go out there and play football the way we know how to play and lets us have fun.”
Via Buccaneers Radio Network last week, Lavonte David spoke about the differences between Mike Smith and Mark Duffner as defensive coordinators.
“Like I said, man, Duff, nobody knows how much hard work Duff’s put into this man. He deserves all the credit for this turnaround. He just does a great job of just interacting with the players, getting OUR point of view for certain things. So I think that was one of the main things I really saw about him and I loved it about him. I NEVER HAD THAT BEFORE. So when I see that, you know, a coach shows that he cares about OUR opinions and things like that. It’s really cool to see.”
It’s easy to see the subtle differences in how coaches differ from each other and how the players react to them. The fact that Mike Smith never asked for the players’ opinions is crazy to me. The difference Duffner made by asking his players for their opinion translated onto the field immediately. One of the reasons why I want Duffner to return next year. Imagine how differently things would have gone for the team this season if he would have taken over defensive coordinator at the end of the 2017 season.