Bucs LB Seeks First Pro Bowl And Bigger Role On Defense

Bucs linebacker Grant Stuard is hungry for extra after a profitable rookie season on particular groups. Final season he made his mark as an ascending particular groups demon. Stuard completed tied for third within the NFL with 15 particular groups tackles.

Not a foul rookie season for Mr. Irrelevant.

A Professional Bowl or All-Professional nod as a particular teamer can be an honor for Stuard, however he in the end relishes a chance to play extra on protection.

“I ultimately need to play protection and develop a task there,” Stuard mentioned. “However I feel if I simply preserve doing what I’m doing on particular groups and if they offer me an [All-Pro or Pro Bowl] honor that’d be dope.”

Sadly offseason hip surgical procedure obtained in the best way of gaining useful reps at linebacker throughout offseason exercises. With Lavonte David rehabbing a foot harm and Devin White lacking a number of OTA practices, Stuard might have gotten some beginning reps at inside linebacker. Although whereas he couldn’t take part bodily, the psychological reps have been useful. As are the examples that White and David present for the younger linebacker.

Bucs ILB Grant Stuard – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

“I’d say Devin and Lavonte are tremendous supportive,” Stuard mentioned. “They have been glorious examples to observe. They actually simply gave me one thing to have a look at after I was making an attempt to enhance. So, that’s been big.”

The primary purpose the Bucs spent the final decide of the 2021 draft on Stuard as a result of the workforce feels he generally is a Professional Bowl-caliber particular teamer. Bucs G.M. Jason Licht has likened Stuard’s potential to Larry Izzo. He was one of many best particular groups gamers in NFL historical past.

Izzo was a three-time Professional Bowl choice with the Patriots (2000, 2002, 2004) and was a first-team All-Professional in 2004. Stuard reached out to the four-time Tremendous Bowl champion and former linebacker, throughout the pre-draft course of for recommendation.

“Larry Izzo, I truly talked to him loads within the pre-draft course of,” Stuard mentioned. “He gave me a number of suggestions. He truly coached me up loads coming into this league. Nearly method, about velocity, about dimension, about stuff like that. About what to do. How to do that at a excessive stage and I feel I used to be enthusiastic about a number of that stuff all through the season. So, I sit up for be enjoying in opposition to him and his workforce this 12 months.”

The 47-year previous Izzo is presently the particular groups coordinator in Seattle. The Bucs play the Seahawks on November 13 in Munich, Germany.

Particular groups has been a Achilles heel on this Bucs workforce for the previous couple of seasons, ending close to the underside of the league in a number of classes. Stuard is only one man, but when he can proceed to make a big effect on the unit he may be capable of assist flip issues round and earn himself Professional Bowl honors within the course of.

And maybe finally get some extra enjoying time on protection.

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