After being billed as the best linebacker in the NFL going into the 2021 season, it’s been a dismal start for Devin White. The Bucs third-year defender has noticeably struggled through the first three weeks of the season, especially in coverage. According to Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, White and running mate Lavonte David can be better.

“There’s no doubt,” Arians said when asked about Lavonte David and Devin White. “They can both play better. Devin, he likes playing against the run. Nobody is going to [run the ball on us] anymore, so he’s gotta get better at playing against the pass. Both those guys are capable of multiple-interception games. They can both play better.”

Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: USA Today

I know Arians is probably grouping the Bucs defensive captains together to soften the blow of his words on the younger linebacker, but they have been on opposite ends of the spectrum this season. David has continued to impress in coverage and been a top tackler on the team, while White has struggled in both areas. The LSU product leads the team with six missed tackles (per PFF) and has surrendered more passing yards than any other Buc.

Perhaps most troubling is how out of control White has been in coverage. Against Atlanta, the first rounder hesitated on jumping a potential pick-6 on a slant route, then accelerated, missed the receiver and took out David. A 30+ yard catch-and-run ensued. In Week 3, White was late to attempt to re-route DeSean Jackson coming across the middle of the field, and took Carlton Davis out instead. Jackson was wide open for a 40-yard gain as a result.

White struggled with similar mistakes last year, but his splash plays helped cover it up. In 2020, White piled up 15 tackles-for-loss, nine sacks and a forced fumble. In 2021, the former fifth overall pick is carrying a goose-egg in all three categories. If he’s going to return to the form he showed last postseason, White needs to pick up his play in the coming weeks.

The Bucs return to action on Sunday night, when they travel to New England to take on the Patriots.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Horse
Horse(@horse)
3 months ago

Good for you Coach; start calling them out. Here we go once again; players are playing based on they are Super Bowl Champs. With this attitude you don’t make it back. Start giving some of them less snaps. We have back ups; either use them or find other ones. Go Bucs! Get this Win!

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith(@bradbucfan)
3 months ago

Both White and Winfield need to play smarter. Perhaps studying more game film of teams they play will help. Neither are making plays. Winfield is just serving as a mop up guy after a WR beats the coverage.

Horse
Horse(@horse)
Reply to  Bradley Smith
3 months ago

Good point.

Madman
Madman(@madman)
Reply to  Bradley Smith
3 months ago

Winfield has been terrible too. Missing tackles. A step late on everything. 56 grade.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17(@toofamiliar17)
3 months ago

White may have “covered up” his generally poor play last year with splash plays to the lazy Sunday afternoon fan/observer, but I said literally the entire time that he was mostly a liability when he wasn’t making splash plays, which was during the other 900+ snaps of the season. White has all the talent in the world. With the corner he turned in coverage during the postseason last year and the talk of the work and focus he put into pass defense this offseason, I thought maybe it was all clicking, and he was finally going to BE the player… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
3 months ago

David has continued to impress in coverage and been a top tackler on the team, while White has struggled in both areas. That’s simply not true, about tackles. White is the second leading tackler on the Bucs, just two behind David, and he led the team in tackles last Sunday with 7, 1 more than David. White clearly needs to improve in his pass coverage, as does the entire front seven. We blitz more than most teams, yet we aren’t getting to the passer. I keep hearing that the short passes make it harder to rush the passer, but a… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Naplesfan
Madman
Madman(@madman)
3 months ago

Devin’s PFF grade is 34.8. OUCH
https://www.pff.com/nfl/players/devin-white/43089

Eddie
Eddie(@oct62020)
3 months ago

The team played like they had a great party in LA the night before the game and was still recovering. Coach, tell us the truth

Jonbuc
Jonbuc(@jonbuc)
3 months ago

I was expecting White to be the next Ray Lewis after his playoff run last season. He looks more like Myron Lewis so far…still early but pretty stinky after 3 games.

PissedOffBuc1988
PissedOffBuc1988(@buclover1988)
3 months ago

Ive got an interesting take on this. Minter is back, why don’t we put white outside? Let him rush the passer and start minter in the middle with david. White is struggling in pass coverage, but he’s an incredible blitzer and would have too much juice for many tackles in the NFL. It’s been working for Parsons of Dallas, why not white? He can still play middle, but move him outside in jpps loss and still allow Tryon to be a rotational guy. Just a thought considering whites skill set.

plopes808
plopes808(@plopes808)
Reply to  PissedOffBuc1988
3 months ago

this makes good sense

GoldsonAges
GoldsonAges(@goldsonages)
3 months ago

How could Devin be billedas the best LB in the NFL when he isn’t even the best LB on this team?
Stupidity

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
3 months ago

I would have to agree that neither White nor David has “shown up” and dominated these first three games like they did last season. I suppose some of the reason is the opponent’s reluctance to run the ball, but to me it looks like #45 is playing out of control. Love his intensity, but he might need to calm it down a bit and play smarter.