Linebacker Quincy Black looking to bounce back in Bucs’ new defense

Published: July 31st, 2012
By Bucs Beat Feed

quincy.jpegFair or not, Bucs outside linebacker Quincy Black entered 2011 with heightened expectations after signing a 5-year, $29 million contract.

There likely aren’t many fans who feel he met those expectations after finishing with 59 tackles and not nearly enough “splash” plays as the Bucs’ defense finished among the worst in the NFL.

But Black, like the rest of Tampa Bay’s players, is getting a chance to turn the page under new coach Greg Schiano. And, through the first four days of training camp, Black has registered a handful of impact plays, the kind the Bucs promised from him long ago.

He’s been able to knock down a few passes, doing a good job in coverage. Black also notched one of the harder hits of camp thus far when he fought off a block and flattened receiver Vincent Jackson on an attempted screen play on Monday.

Black has, in the past, often seemed a step too slow in getting to the ball. But he suggested Schiano’s new defense could suit him better than the Tampa 2 style of old.

“It’s more attacking,” Black said of Schiano’s scheme. “It’s not as much reading (defensive) linemen. It’s get up and go and everything else falls into place.”

The Bucs always saw Black as a potential playmaker. When they drafted him from New Mexico in 2007, they were drawn to him by his ability to get into the offensive backfield. He finished his college career with 33 tackles for losses and 18 sacks.

If Black’s assessment of his role in the current defense holds true, it would more closely resemble the role he thrived in during his college career.

The Bucs have an extremely young unit at linebacker. Black, 28, is the senior member of a group that could have a rookie starter on the weak side (Lavonte David) and a second-year player (Mason Foster) in the middle. Black stressed that each must do his job reliably, or the results could look something like last season, one marked by constant miscues and missed assignments.

“We’re a defense,” Black said. “Everything works together. If one guy doesn’t do his job, then (the runner) can go for 90 (yards). We’ve seen that. So that’s not what we want to do. We want to make sure we do our job first and get to the football.”