Man in the middle
The Tampa Tribune, published 18 December 2015

The middle linebacker position was one of the most stable on the Bucs’ roster through the first three-quarters of the season. Not anymore.

With opening-day starter Kwon Alexander serving the second game of a four-game suspension for his violation of the league’s PED policy and backup Bruce Carter sidelined with an ankle injury, Danny Lansanah became the third player to start in the middle in three weeks.

Lansanah is no stranger to the position. Though he has spent the past two years serving primarily as the Bucs’ starting strongside linebacker, he did start two games in the middle last year in place of an injured Mason Foster. With Lansanah moving over a spot, Orie Lemon filled in at strongside linebacker against the Rams.

Award season
Thursday night’s game featured two of the top Rookie of the Year candidates in Winston, selected first overall in the draft, and Rams running back Todd Gurley, who was taken 10th. Winston says the award is not one he set out to win this year.

“It would be awesome (to win the award), but that wasn’t on my goal list at the beginning of the year,” Winston said. “My goal was (for the Bucs) to have more wins than last year, and we’ve done that. My team is way more important than my individual success. I don’t focus on that type of stuff.”

Neither, it seems, does Gurley. “We don’t think about all of the awards,” he said of how he and Winston approached the season. “Sometimes that’s what comes with it, but at the end of the day it’s all about winning and trying to make a playoff run for both of our teams. That’s what we’re thinking — we’re not really worrying about the accolades.”