Much as we previously looked at the Buccaneers’ offense for the weakest positional group heading into the season we now look at the defensive side of the ball. Ultimately, again like the offense, this team possess a lot of depth. Unfortunately, one position group does lack a little more than others.
The Inside Line Backer Corps
Highlighted by inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White the starting two are a dynamic duo that requires accounting for whenever they are on the field. The concern comes from the unproven players playing behind them.
Olakunle Fatukasi came into the NFL from Rutgers, where by coincidence, he was coached by former Buccaneer head coach Greg Schiano. During his time there he earned second and third team All-Big Ten honors. Ultimately gaining the attention of the Buccaneers who promptly brought him as an undrafted free agent.
In preseason Fatukasi looked solid in game play. In week one of preseason Fatukasi came out firing and leading the defense. He ended the night against the Dolphins with six tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass deflection. Not to be outdone he improved his numbers against the Titans. Filling the stat sheet and leading the defense with ten tackles, 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits. He ended the preseason with a drop in production against the Colts.
The red flag here is some of the talent these stats were earned against, leaving the true measure of his talent somewhat still unknown.
The Buccaneers 2021 fifth round draft pick finds himself as the other back up on the inside. If you compare his stats to Fatukasi’s during this preseason K.J. Britt comes up very short. Additionally, his stats last preseason were not that great either. However he did lead the team in tackles in the last preseason game.
During the season Britt saw very limited play time. 28 snaps total over three games. Though a limited sample his time on the field was marred with mistakes. His coverage ability showed to be less than adequate and rather alarming. For example, while filling in during the Panthers week 16 game he was targeted three times. Those three targets turned into three receptions with 33 yards after the catch. Meaning in coverage he’ll need additional help over top.
Ultimately when Britt is on the field he is a liability with an overall PFF grade of 53.2.
In the absence of either David or White Britt offers fans little confidence in his abilities and Fatukasi is still unproven. If something is to happen to the starters the Buccaneers will likely have to dip into the free agents pool.
I would almost feel better if Kevin Minter was still on the roster.
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