Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A better way to judge Bucs LBs Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander

Bucs linebacker Lavonte David's 17 tackles for loss last season were tied for the NFL lead. Kwon Alexander had 12. [Associated Press]

Bucs linebacker Lavonte David's 17 tackles for loss last season were tied for the NFL lead. Kwon Alexander had 12. [Associated Press]

Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander have built reputations as tackling machines.

Alexander's 108 tackles last season led the NFL. David's 67 ranked 44th, but he finished second in 2014 and 11th in 2015.

As visible as David and Alexander are, we know that racking up a lot of tackles isn't necessarily a good thing. Tackles are often a measure of opportunity, not skill. If a defense regularly fails to get off the field, it's going to record an inflated number of tackles. Case in point: The Buccaneers allowed 5.8 yards per play last season, the ninth-worst mark.

Because raw tackle statistics lack that context, Football Outsiders has sought to better quantify defenders' impact. The advanced statistics site tallies the number of plays in which a defender tackles an offensive player for a loss, helps force a turnover or is responsible for a stop on third or fourth down.

Once again, David was among the leaders in defeats. He recorded 29 last season, which was good enough for a second-place tie with the Raiders' Khalil Mack and the Broncos' Von Miller. Bills linebacker Preston Brown's 31 defeats led the league. Before you take that to mean Brown was a top-notch defender, it's important to note that two-thirds of those defeats came while defending the run. Only three defenses saw as many rushing attempts as Buffalo. (The Bucs play the Bills on Oct. 22.)

While David's place on the leaderboard is nothing new (first in 2013, second in 2014 and second in 2015), Alexander's is. He posted 28 defeats last season, one fewer than David. Both linebackers earned most of their defeats while in pass coverage. David had 19 pass defeats, and Alexander had 16.

Among defensive linemen, Gerald McCoy (17 defeats) and free-agent signee Chris Baker (12 defeats) finished in the top 20. Cornerback Brent Grimes recorded 17 — 16 pass, one rush — which was tied for eighth-most at his position.

No Tampa Bay edge rusher or safety finished with enough defeats to qualify as a leader.

For overall and position-by-position leaderboards, visit Football Outsiders here.

Contact Thomas Bassinger at tbassinger@tampabay.com. Follow @tometrics.

A better way to judge Bucs LBs Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander 06/17/17 [Last modified: Friday, June 16, 2017 7:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)