If you ask Lavonte David, it was hardly a coincidence the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense responded well to having Mark Duffner as its coordinator for the first time in last Sunday’s 26-23 overtime victory against the Cleveland Browns.

David plays linebacker for the Buccaneers. That was the position Duffner coached before being promoted to replace his fired predecessor, Mike Smith.

‘He had the respect of all of us before he became defensive coordinator’

“Great coach,” David said of Duffner while appearing on the SiriusXM Blitz with Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn. “He’s a great motivator and he’s bringing a lot of energy out of us. He had the respect of all of us before he became defensive coordinator … and all it did was just carry over.

“Everybody loves Coach Duffner. He just allows us to go out there and play football the way we know how to play and lets us have fun.”

‘It was an unfortunate situation, basically putting a coach in a bad spot, and then changes were made’

Still, David admitted that, despite the Buccaneers ranking at or near the bottom of the league in points and yards allowed, he was shocked by Smith’s firing.

“It basically said that whatever he was calling wasn’t getting the job done and it all kind of follows us, too, because we weren’t getting the job done for him,” David said. “It was an unfortunate situation, basically putting a coach in a bad spot, and then changes were made. It was a big decision that was made. It was a tough decision made by the organization, but it was a decision that had to be made … and we move on from it.”

Hear the entire interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio (Ch. 88).

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