It’s been a tough year for Bucs linebacker Devin White. Lofty expectations were set for White’s third year in the NFL, with many saying he’d be the league’s best linebacker by season’s end. Instead, White has struggled. The LSU product has missed tackles, blown coverage assignments and failed to match his pass rush production from a season ago. But, after watching him on Sunday, it appears Playoff Devin may be back.
White was all over the field in the first three quarters against Philadelphia, recording five tackles, three quarterback hits, a tackle-for-loss and a pass breakup. The return of Lavonte David may have aided White, who struggled without the veteran linebacker for a few weeks. David finished with just two tackles, but his leadership and communication were valuable.
“I think (Lavonte returning) and [White] wasn’t trying to force it,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “I think when those guys are all out, [White] thinks he has to make every play. He gets caught up in it. But this one, just do your job. He was all over the field. It was one of his best games.”
The Bucs will need White to continue to be at his best moving forward. With over half the Tampa Bay offense injured and several defensive players working through injuries, the Bucs will lean on White to make plays. Last year, the fifth overall pick was outstanding in the playoffs. He made several game-changing plays and was consistently assignment sound. If White can channel that same focus again, it’ll give the Bucs a chance despite their injury concerns.