When you have a guy that provides the leadership, the spark, the energy that Kwon Alexander does, it’s nearly impossible to replace or replicate. That’s exactly what the Buccaneers are facing for the rest of the season.
We saw the change in the defense in the second half against the Browns once Alexander was out and it was like a completely different team. Now, they had all of ten minutes to make adjustments, changes, and preparations for his departure whereas they’ll have all week to prepare for life without Kwon, but that doesn’t make the loss any easier.
Kwon may have been struggling throughout the season, but he had put together his best game of the year until leaving with a torn ACL and there is no question that he is the heart of the defense. It goes as Kwon goes - now he’s gone.
All due respect to Riley Bullough and Kevin Minter, they aren’t going to bring that fire.
Dirk Koetter spoke about the loss of Kwon - on and off the field - when speaking with the media on Thursday;
“Kwon’s one of a kind. He’s a fire plug. His passion for playing football is really refreshing because it’s like when I was a high school coach. Like how high school guys play, Kwon bring that kind of energy every time he goes on the field and [at] practice. I don’t think, whether it’s Kwon or anybody else, but that’s who we’re talking about. I don’t think you replace that guy. I think other guys – you can’t ask guys to be something they’re not. I don’t think Lavonte [David] is going to turn into that guy. I think Lavonte’s going to just play his same outstanding, solid, consistent football. I just think energy-wise, they’re going to have to absorb that as a group.”
Lavonte David definitely isn’t the fiery guy Kwon Alexander is - nor should anyone expect him to be. He’s very much a “lead by my play” kind of player and isn’t going to be yelling and screaming to fire guys up.
It’s going to be a rough stretch at linebacker for the Buccaneers until Kendall Beckwith returns, but the loss of Kwon Alexander runs far deeper than 1 p.m. on Sundays.