It’s no secret that Bucs linebacker Devin White had a very up-and-down season this year. After being tabbed as one of the top off-ball linebackers in the league in an ESPN poll of executives, White came crashing down to earth in 2021.

He still finished with a team high 128 total tackles, but missed plenty more and was often out of position. His sack numbers also took a huge hit, dropping from 9 in 2020 to just 3.5 this year. White attributes part of his struggles to being overly aggressive and having a lack of discipline.

“I think the biggest thing for me is to be more disciplined,” White said. “When I evaluate myself, I think it’s a great thing but it’s a hurtful thing. I’m overly aggressive because I have the speed to make up for plays. And I’ve got the IQ to make other plays. I think they don’t go hand-in-hand sometimes. Sometimes, I can do a little too much.”

It’s a very mature answer from White, who at times this season wasn’t accountable in front of the camera. Acknowledging weaknesses, especially after a stellar season the year before, is another step in his trajectory. White has already identified a few ways he will try to improve his play in the coming season.

Bucs ILB Devin White

Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“I think the number one thing is a lot of film study,” White said. “A lot of zoning in on what I have to do and just being a little more patient. You look at it one year, it works. The things that I was doing, it works. Then you look at it another year and it works, but then it doesn’t work. And then it works, but then it doesn’t work. So I think it’s just being a little more disciplined.”

After an offseason filled with adulation from peers and NFL minds, being able to realize shortcomings and formulate a plan for improvement shows growth from the Bucs third-year pro. White still feels he has more to prove and will try to integrate more discipline into his game. But he’ll want to do it without sacrificing what he feels sets him apart from others at his position.

“As far as football, I think God gave me all the tools I need to be a great player,” White said. “All I have to do is keep sharpening those tools. But to be an even greater football player, I’ve got to be more disciplined. I know I’ve got to be more disciplined and that’s something that I’ll continue to work on.  I’m not going to let that affect my up-tempo style of playing, but I’ll do it the right way. I’ll do a lot more film study and make sure I know when to trigger, when to do this, when to take my shot in the run game. To do a lot of different things.”

If White can play his style of football with more discipline, there’s no telling how good he can be for the Bucs.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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bucballer
bucballer
4 months ago

Discipline is the key for white! He has the intangibles. But how many time did we see him blitz and run right by the QB? Film study will help him further understand what/why things r expected of him! His agressiveness takes him out of the play sometimes! It takes more than athletic talent and speed to be successful in this league. The great ones take it to the next level intellectually by being task specific!

fredster
fredster
4 months ago

Too much talent to stink like he has this season. Regressed big time into average at best LB. At times his play has been horrendous. Perhaps a new defensive coordinator can coach and scheme him better.

Eddie
Eddie
4 months ago

Watch film is one thing, learn from your coaches is also key

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  Eddie
4 months ago

And to do both is awesome!

surferdudes
surferdudes
4 months ago

He basically admitted by saying more film study, that he didn’t study much film last offseason. You either make yourself get better, or you get worse. He got worse this season. Understandable, new house, long season last year, and he obviously thought he had arrived as a player coming off a S.B.. Let’s hope it’s a lesson well learned. I think a better idea than going over film with his coaches would be to go over film with the likes of Brooks, Lewis, and Kuechly. Reach out to those greats. I’m sure they’d be happy to help him.You still have… Read more »

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  surferdudes
4 months ago

Yep! Ur either moving forward or falling behind!

Spitfire
Spitfire
4 months ago

Glad to hear White understands his mistakes but did anyone not tell him that 2,3,4,5 games in?

Spitfire
Spitfire
4 months ago

He needs to use his speed and IQ to make smart plays and be in smart positions, not just make up for mistakes. He could be great if he actually follows through with this realization.

Dman
Dman
Reply to  Spitfire
4 months ago

And there you have it! Great athletes always think they can overcome mistakes with sheer athleticism. Sounds like he’s figuring it out.

Horse
Horse
4 months ago

You think!

tnew
tnew
4 months ago

well duh

bueller
bueller
4 months ago

Devin White was exposed this year, in his second season. I read somewhere he was voted into the top ten of the NFL Network list and that is way off base. Lavonte David is better than Devin White.

bueller
bueller
Reply to  bueller
4 months ago

Gerald McCoy used to be disruptive and miss the sack. I am sold on White as good player, not as a great player.

PewterHeart
PewterHeart
4 months ago

Everyone needs to stay calm, the kid will get better. 45 has the athletic ability to be generational, has to come from him and staff..

lambeau
lambeau
4 months ago

A lot of us think talent obviates homework–White probably thinks he deserves the Pro Bowl. If he really understood his poor play this year he might stay home.

scubog
scubog
4 months ago

We sometimes forget that these players are young and still learning what it takes to be a star beyond merely lining up and running fast……somewhere. I always thought his becoming a team captain and taking over a more vocal leadership role was a bit premature. I’m glad to see him become somewhat humbled by reflecting on his comparatively average season. Maybe at somewhat he’ll have that “ah-ha” moment when he gets it.