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Danny Lansanah will start at middle linebacker for Kwon Alexander

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to play the final four games of the season without Kwon Alexander, who's been suspended for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. The Bucs were a little coy about who will be replacing him initially, but Danny Lansanah told Tom Krasniqi of 620 WDAE that he'll be the one to take over Alexander's job until he returns.

Lansanah's been having a pretty quiet year, with just one sack and one forced fumble, with no other splash plays, but he's also been limited to a strong side role only -- which means he comes off the field on passing downs. Last year he did not, playing the middle linebacker role on passing downs alongside Lavonte David, and the strong side role on run downs. Lansanah had three interceptions in that role last year, returning two of them for touchdowns. He knows how to play middle linebacker, though the Bucs were hesitant to turn to him for that role last season, preferring to rotate in the horrid Dane Fletcher at times.

This is a further blow to Bruce Carter's status, who lost out to Kwon Alexander in preseason and has since fallen behind Danny Lansanah as well, despite signing a four-year, $17 million contract this offseason. It seems unlikely Carter will be around to pick up his checks next season, as the Bucs can save some $4.25 million by releasing him.