Joe Bucs Fan - The longest tenured Buccaneer had plenty to say after this evening’s soul-sucking loss to the Rams at The Licht House.
Lavonte David wrapped up his 10th season with Tampa Bay by leading the team in tackles today and by dropping an eyebrow-raising quote to reporters.
“It wasn’t going to be a cakewalk [this season], obviously, because it’s football. Things happen. People get hurt. You have some mishaps here and there, guys bump heads,” David said. “You know, so that’s what happened this year. You had a lot of turmoil going on, man, you know, in the organization. And then you got guys injured, guys who played huge parts of our football team, huge parts of our success. But it just goes to show you’ve got young guys coming in, stepping up and filling that void. You know, it just goes back to the management and the coaching staff having guys ready. It definitely was a tough season, man. Guys playing through injuries, all type of injuries. That’s why I respect all those guys in that locker room.”
David went on to praise coaches for their work and referenced the team battling all kinds of different issues.
I might be accused of parsing Lavonte David's comments here to carefully and reading more into it than is actually there. Except that "turmoil" is pretty much a buzzword. It's not something you just throw into the middle of a sentence about how your year went without setting off some car alarms in the parking lot. And this is a veteran who's seen it all in his 10 years in Tampa, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt. And that benefit of the doubt includes respecting his ability to choose his words carefully. To assume that he said what he means and he means what he said.
Take everything else out of this quote and it could've been spoken by any other veteran on any other team that lost in the playoffs. About how a football season is hard, guys get hurt, younger guys step, the mutual respect and so on. But no one else this weekend or last on any other team was talking about bumping heads and turmoil. Words mean things. And David said it this way.
Which begs the question what exactly he's talking about. The painfully obvious example is this batshit loon:
By the way, smart move by a guy looking for work to remind anyone who might be interested in his services that he's unemployed because he's unemployable. But does getting rid of one unstable element on your roster constitute bumped heads and "turmoil in the organization"? If so, good on David and the Bucs. But if they built a firewall around this nutjob quitting on them and it was all just limited to Brown, I don't get why he'd be introducing turmoil into the conversation.
Again, just reading into what David says, it sounds like the problems run deeper. Along with the Tom Brady retirement speculation there's been the suggestion that people around him are talking about how frustrated he's been. That he feels like he's doing all the heavy lifting, coaching the team and making all the personnel decisions while quarterbacking them, and it's been too much for him. Which I will argue is what he wanted. And the reason he
dumped me left New England, because he would never get it here. Whatever else it was like working under Bill Belichick, Brady got the peace of mind that comes with just [wait for it] ... doing ... his ... job. And no one used words like "turmoil," because even in the middle of some of the biggest controversies in the league over the last 20 years, the players were more or less insulated and allowed to focus on their work. Even with the Category-5 Deflategate shitstorm swirling about them for parts of three seasons, they won two Super Bowls. From the Mona Lisa Vito press conference on, Brady, his lawyers and team lawyers handled things because Bill Belichick had banners to hang.
Which didn't appear to be the case in Tampa. Here's just one example:
Type "turmoil" into your GIF search bar, and that's what should come up. But only because there's not a visual way to represent Bruce Arians calling out Brady every time things didn't go according to plan:
Not to mention the fact Arians had publicly declared he would never sign Antonio Brown. The Bucs signed him anyway (or as Brown put it, his agents negotiated with Brady personally), and Arians had to spend the better part of his year making excuses for his least favorite player's anti-social behaviors:
All of which had to cause friction all over the place. And frustration.
At the very least, banged heads and turmoil. Assuming that is the case, and David really is describing something more than just your usual stressors that come up in a long season, it'll go a long way toward explaining why Brady isn't simply announcing he'll be back next year. And we can expect major changes coming for Team Turmoil.