TAMPA – Lavonte David is hoping for a late Christmas present this year.
With the Pro Bowl rosters set to be announced Friday evening, Tampa Bay’s second-year OLB is eager to close out a stellar season in style at New Orleans. David easily leads the Bucs with 137 tackles, adding six sacks, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
“It would be great and humbling,’’ David said of a potential Pro Bowl berth. “As a kid, you always want to be in that position. It would be great news to add on to the holiday, a Christmas gift to myself, taking No. 93 (DT Gerald McCoy) with me.’’
McCoy, who boasts nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss, is seeking his second consecutive Pro Bowl trip.
According to Bucs rookie Johnthan Banks, voters shouldn’t forget about fellow CB Darrelle Revis, who has played well in his first year in Tampa while recovering from knee surgery.
“I think he (Revis) deserves to go,’’ Banks said. “He hasn’t been 100 percent – and he’s still one of the top corners in this league. I think he’s given up three touchdowns all year and I have no problem with him going to Hawaii. He’s got my vote.’’
In a league crammed with outstanding wide receivers, Vincent Jackson has put up impressive numbers for the Bucs while facing extra attention. With Mike Williams sidelined by a torn hamstring, Jackson has already set a career high with 74 catches, good for 1,189 yards and seven TDs.
“He’s having a great year,’’ said rookie QB Mike Glennon. “Everyone’s keying on Vincent so much, and yet he still makes a lot of big plays.’’
Bucs coach Greg Schiano was unequivocal in responding to a report that he or his representatives have reached out to Penn State, inquiring about the football coaching job currently held by Bill O’Brien.
“I heard that (report),’’ Schiano said, “and there’s zero truth to that. I want to make it clear that the only job I want is the one I have right now.’’
For Bucs S Dashon Goldson, no news is good news.
On Tuesday, Goldson said he hadn’t heard from the league office concerning his personal foul penalty at St. Louis Sunday, when he was flagged for unnecessary roughness against Rams rookie WR Steadman Bailey following a 12-yard reception.
“I would have heard by now if I was getting fined,” Goldson said. “For me, if I don’t get fined, I know that means they shouldn’t have thrown the flag.’’
Goldson, a two-time Pro Bowl pick with the 49ers, has struggled to adjust to the NFL’s new stringent rules regarding defenseless receivers.
“All I can do is shake my head,’’ Goldson said. “I’m not going to play timid or put myself in a situation where I can harm myself. I’m going to continue to play football. I’m doing my job. Their quarterback (Kellen Clemens) put him (Bailey) in a bad situation.’’
Quite a difference
At the end of last season, Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was riding high as Tampa Bay’s attack finished No. 9 in the league, the best showing in franchise history.
But heading into Sunday’s matchup against the high-scoring Saints at the Superdome, the Bucs rank last in total offense and last in pass offense.
“It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing, there’s no doubt about it,’’ said Sullivan, whose unit has been hit hard by key injuries. “It has not been the season in any way, shape or form that anyone would have wanted, and not to the standard we established last year. Difficult circumstances, but none of that matters. At the end of the day, there’s a job that has to get done.’’