The former Pro Bowler seemed to be stuck in neutral for most of the season in defensive coordinator Mike Smith's system before turning it on over the last month-plus. David tallied 37 stops (28 solo), four sacks (all within the last three games) and an interception in Weeks 12 through 17, salvaging his season to large extent from an IDP perspective. The fifth-year pro actually finished with the second-highest sack total of his career (5.0), equaled a career best in forced fumbles (four) and fumble recoveries (two) and notched a pick-six, helping offset what was by far the lowest tackle total of his career (87). If Smith, who is reportedly under consideration for head coaching opportunities, does return to Tampa for a second season, David may be primed for a much stronger start to 2017 given his season of acclimation in this past campaign.
David racked up seven tackles (six solo), including one for loss, and a sack in Saturday's 31-24 loss to the Saints.
The former Pro Bowler has resembled the disruptive tackling machine from seasons past over the last two weeks, as he's now tallied a combined 16 stops (11 solo) and two sacks over that span. David's respective nine-and-seven-tackle efforts in the last two weeks represent his best two-game stretch in that category during the 2016 campaign.
David was named a Pro Bowl alternate earlier this week, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
The distinction could be termed somewhat of a surprise, given that the fifth-year pro is on pace for what will easily be the lowest tackle total of his standout career. However, a large part of that drop-off can be attributed to a role in defensive coordinator Mike Smith's scheme that is different than the others he's held under previous systems, as well as on an assortment of injuries that he's battled throughout the 2016 campaign. Nevertheless, David has still shown a flair for impact plays this season, racking up two sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a key pick-six of Philip Rivers in Week 13.
David's best game of the season was overshadowed by teammate Kwon Alexander's spectacular 21-tackle night, but the returns were impressive nonetheless, particularly considering that David came into the game nursing a hamstring ailment. The sack was David's first since Week 3 against the Rams, while the nine stops were a season high. Although his 74 total tackles represent a significant drop over the former Pro Bowler's usual pace -- in fact, amount to just over half of the 147 he racked up in 2015 -- he remains a vital cog in the Bucs' defensive scheme.
Landing on the injury report Thursday, David closed out the week with back-to-back limited sessions due to a hamstring concern. With his Week 15 availability now confirmed, he'll slot in as the Bucs' starting weakside linebacker, though he's a long-shot to post his fifth 100-tackle campaign in a row with 35 to obtain over the last three games.
|2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||139||112.0||27||2||1||27||27.0||27||0||4|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||145||107.0||38||7||5||87||17.4||32||0||10|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||146||101.0||45||1||0||0||0.0||0||0||4|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||147||85.0||62||3||3||19||6.3||20||1||13|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||87||67.0||20||5||1||15||15.0||15||1||4|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||2||0||1||0||1||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||4||0||1||0||1||0|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||2||0||2||0||2||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||4||0||2||53||2||0|
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