by Douglas O’Connor
follow me on Twitter @Ren_Daxt
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has turned their season around. After surrendering over 1,000 yards of combined offense against the Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons in back to back weeks. The players and coaches took a look in the mirror and came back from the mini bye week with a better understanding of what it takes to help win games defensively in the NFL. By simplifying the scheme and improving communication the defense has been the catalyst for the Bucs during this 4 game winning streak. By recording sacks and causing timely turnovers the Buccaneers defense has gone from the hunted to the hunters.
During the Seattle Seahawks game rookie corner back Vernon Hargreaves was “Mic’d Up” and his “performance” went viral throughout the Tampa Bay area. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it you should, I can guarantee you will be laughing and shaking your head at number 28. Soon after the suggestions for nicknames were all over social media. Vernon has just recently decided on a nickname but more on that later.
The social media explosion about Hargreaves and recent resurgence of defense in Tampa Bay are the inspiration for me to assign each member of the starting defense a spirit animal. An animal that embodies each players style of play or persona. Now it’s time to see who will be on the hunt this Sunday.
Gerald McCoy: The Lion The king of the jungle and the best player on defense. The All Pro isn’t the most vocal leader but he is the most respected.
Robert Ayers: The Tiger I tweeted out a couple of pictures and video clips hash tagging Ayers with this spirit animal and he liked them both. So I’m taking that as an endorsement. The biggest of all the big cats, once the tiger gets a taste he can eat nothing else. I’m speaking of quarterbacks of course.
Will Gholston: The Snow Leopard Master of camouflage, you never see him until it’s to late. I rarely notice Gholston on the field before the play then BAM! The runner goes down like he was shot by a sniper and then you see 92 getting from the pile.
Noah Spence: The Cobra Possibly the lightest DE in the league, but also possibly the quickest. His amazing “get off” and fast striking hands makes the archenemy of G.I. Joe the perfect fit. I sent in a question during his All Access radio show about this nickname and he didn’t poo poo it. So endorsement number 2.
Daryl Smith: The Silver Back The senior citizen of the defense with 13 years in the NFL and counting. He’s past his prime but to take him lightly would be to your peril.
Kwon Alexander: The Cheetah Speed, speed, and more speed. Sometimes he’s going in the wrong direction but I guarantee he’ll get there 1st.
Lavonte David: The Panther The most underappreciated of the big cats, but the panther brings steadiness and balance to the game. Look no further than Bagheera from The Jungle Book.
Vernon Hargreaves: The Joker After his cackling outburst during the Seahawks game, the names Hyena and Jackal (by yours truly) were flooding social media. On Fridays Bucs Live VH3 shot both of those names down, by the end of the 3rd segment Vernon had put his stamp of approval on The Joker. It doesn’t fit with my theme here, but he was the inspiration, so he gets what he wants. If there is any doubt about the Hargreaves nickname phenomenon, I found this on Twitter this morning.
Brent Grimes: The Fox You have to be sly to still be playing at such a high level at the corner back position after 10 years in the league. Grimes baited Carolina quarterback Derek Anderson into throwing an interception on 1st down from the goal line. 1st down people! Brent you sly fox you.
Chris Conte: The Black Widow There is no in between when it comes to spiders. You either love them or hate them,just like Conte. He can be instant death to his own or opposing team. i.e. Cardinals, Rams game bad, Chiefs, Bears game good.
Bradley McDougald: The Barn Owl Definitely not the most feared predator nor is McDougald. Just when you have forgotten all about him he swoops in and makes a big pick. Like a mouse from an open field.
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thanks for reading and as always GO BUCS!