September 27, 2023

Bucs Life

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Devin White, Leadership and Cover 2.

2 min read

Devin White / Mark LoMoglio

The time of year is upon us; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers start filtering into AdventHealth training facility, OTAs are in full swing, and the place is beginning to feel like football is around the corner.

Between the film room, the gym, physiotherapists, and the practice field, rookies and veterans alike begin laying the groundwork for what could be a momentous season. As the rookies begin to get to know their more famous teammates, there are the unmistakable signs that this football team is not just a well-oiled machine; it’s a family unit and a strong one at that.

In 2020, Devin White emerged as one of the premier inside linebackers in the game. Following last Wednesday’s practice, White was asked about taking on more of a leadership role alongside long-serving veteran Lavonte David this season.

“Obviously, we’re going to take on more, but we want other guys to step up. You go watch guys like Joe [Tryon-Shoyinka] and Shaq [Barrett]. Joe’s been having great OTAs so far, just watching film and hearing coach [Todd] Bowles talk about him like, ‘This is the person I drafted. You’re bigger, stronger, faster.’ It’s good, but at the end of the day, me and Lavonte are going to do our job. The thing is we want to be more consistent this year with our play as far as linebackers and as a defense as a whole. [We have to] understand that when a guy goes down, we don’t want to change the whole defense. Last year we were trying to cover spots. We just want to keep it rolling. We want to keep the train rolling so everybody can stay comfortable. So, Bowles, if you hear this, I don’t want to play Cover-2 a lot.”

White seems to have settled into his role as a leader on the team and understands that this year has to be different. Last season, the defense was ravaged by injuries; starters and backups alike were either on the sidelines for an extended period of time or trying to play through an injury.

The accumulation of injuries across the entire defensive unit destroyed any rhythm that was being developed as players came into the lineup to fill spots. It was so bad at some points that then-head-coach, Bruce Arians, was eyeing the crowd to see if someone could play DB in a pinch.

This season the team looks to have more continuity, and staying out of the physio room is priority number one. New head coach Todd Bowles will be relying on the experience of players like Devin White to step into leadership roles and drive the tempo of this defense, even if he doesn’t want to play cover 2.

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