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 could be an honor for Stuard, however he finally relishes a possibility to play extra on protection.
“I finally wish to play protection and develop a job there,” Stuard mentioned. “However I feel if I simply maintain doing what I’m doing on particular groups and if they provide me an [All-Pro or Pro Bowl] honor that’d be dope.”
Sadly offseason hip surgical procedure acquired in the best way of gaining useful reps at linebacker throughout offseason exercises. With Lavonte David rehabbing a foot damage 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 had been helpful. As are the examples that White and David present for the younger linebacker.
“I might say Devin and Lavonte are tremendous supportive,” Stuard mentioned. “They had been wonderful examples to observe. They actually simply gave me one thing to take a look at once I was attempting to enhance. So, that’s been enormous.”
The primary purpose the Bucs spent the final choose of the 2021 draft on Stuard as a result of the crew feels he is usually a Professional Bowl-caliber particular teamer. Bucs G.M. Jason Licht has likened Stuard’s potential to Larry Izzo. He was one of many biggest 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 really talked to him quite a bit within the pre-draft course of,” Stuard mentioned. “He gave me a whole lot of suggestions. He really coached me up quite a bit coming into this league. Nearly method, about velocity, about measurement, about stuff like that. About what to do. How to do that at a excessive degree and I feel I used to be serious about a whole lot of that stuff all through the season. So, I stay up for be taking part in towards him and his crew this 12 months.”
The 47-year outdated Izzo is at present the particular groups coordinator in Seattle.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 crew for the previous few 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 huge impact on the unit he would possibly be capable to assist flip issues round and earn himself Professional Bowl honors within the course of.
And maybe finally get some extra taking part in time on protection.