National Football League
Bucs CB Carlton Davis: 'Rude awakening' awaits Tampa Bay doubters
National Football League

Bucs CB Carlton Davis: 'Rude awakening' awaits Tampa Bay doubters

Published Jul. 6, 2023 5:28 p.m. ET

Carlton Davis and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are entering Year 1 of the post-Tom Brady era, but the veteran cornerback doesn't see the team falling into the pit of misery, if you will.

In fact, Davis says those who doubt the Buccaneers aren't going to be able to get the number on the truck that runs them over this season.

"We’re about to do it to ‘em," Davis told "Go Long" in an interview posted on Thursday. "Anybody who feels we’ve lost Tom — and lost something — is going to be in for a rude awakening. A rude awakening. Tom was a great addition for us, but obviously it’s a team sport. Obviously, you need components to be successful. We still have those components. And I’m only getting better."

After winning Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers went 13-4 in 2021 but lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC divisional round. Last season, under Todd Bowles in his first season as head coach after Bruce Arians retired, the Bucs won the NFC South with an 8-9 record but fell at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round. 


Davis, whom Tampa Bay selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Auburn, re-signed with the Bucs on a three-year, $45 million deal this offseason. He had one interception, 12 passes defensed and 65 combined tackles in the 2022 NFL regular season. During the team's 2020 Super Bowl season, Davis started 14 games and reeled in four interceptions.

"We’re going to wreck s---. Like, wreck s---. Interceptions. Turnovers. Plays will be made. I will say: Plays. Will. Be. Made," Davis said of the Buccaneers defense.

In 2022, Tampa Bay's defense surrendered 203.6 passing yards (ninth in NFL), 120.7 rushing yards (15th), 324.3 total yards (ninth) and 21.1 points (13th) per game. The two seasons prior, the Bucs were in the top 10 in points surrendered.

In addition to his confidence in Tampa's defense, Davis doesn't think much of the team's competition in the NFC South.

"Our f------ division is worse than what it was before," Davis said. "So, we run through the division. Get to the playoffs. Run through the playoffs and it’s the Super Bowl."

Going around the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints signed four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr to a four-year, $150 million deal. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons were among the most active teams in the sport this offseason.

Carolina traded up for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and signed a handful of playmakers (wide receivers Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, running back Miles Sanders and tight end Hayden Hurst). Atlanta added safety Jessie Bates III, linebackers Bud Dupree and Kaden Elliss, defensive lineman Calais Campbell, wide receiver Mack Hollins and cornerback Jeff Okudah, among other players. 

The Saints, Panthers and Falcons all went 7-10 last season.

As for the Bucs, they're having free-agent signee Baker Mayfield and Brady backup Kyle Trask battle it out in camp to be the team's starting quarterback.

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