When it comes to stopping the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense, there’s more than one guy that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to limit. Patrick Mahomes is the league’s best quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP, while Tyreek Hill is a credible threat that torched the Bucs in their last match-up.
But the key driving force that keeps Kansas City’s offense going is tight end Travis Kelce, who was second in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,416. During his Super Bowl media availability on Monday, Bucs’ linebacker Devin White revealed what their plans were to defend the All-Pro tight end.
“We’re going to put Lavonte [David] on him,” White said. “We’re going to let Lavonte handle him. I’m more so going with the backs. Lavonte’s more so covering the tight ends. It really won’t be a match-up, I might catch him in zone or something, I know what type of route he likes to run, I know all the routes comes from the formations, and where he lines up says a lot. If he’ll be in my zone, I’ll be ready, but nine times out of 10 for his one-on-one match-ups in man, it won’t be me.”
White hasn’t forgotten about the last time these two teams met when the Bucs were down 20-7 at halftime and their second half rally came up just short in a 27-24 loss. Although it was a disappointing finish, White trusts defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ game plan this second time around, particularly with stopping Kelce, who he called the best tight end in football.
“I don’t know if he ran wild, but I think he [Kelce] had a cool 80 yards on us,” White said. “I don’t think he found the end zone. I feel like Todd Bowles put together a great game plan for this week. If you go watch the first game when we played the Chiefs and they jumped out on us 20-7 at halftime, coming out after halftime we only gave up one touchdown.
“He flipped the switch and went back to the drawing board, he saw how they were attacking us and he implemented things for us to do. Now having a whole week to gameplan, he played them already, I think the game plan is even more intriguing for this upcoming game, so I feel like Todd Bolwes – he’s the key to everything.”
Tampa Bay is pretty young on the defensive side of the ball, with only Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett and Ndamukong Suh having experience playing in the Super Bowl. But White would argue that with the mindset that the defense is bringing, that inexperience won’t matter on this stage.
“I feel like it’s confidence and swagger,” White said. “A lot of people in the league don’t have Super Bowl experience, it’s not a game that you just walk into. At the end of the day, when you’re balling, it shows, when you’re having fun, it shows. That’s the biggest thing where it’s not arrogance, it’s having fun, especially with us being so young on the backend, we got handshakes for days, we’re always turned up for one another. That’s just the mindset that we have, it’s fun playing with the whole entire team, especially the defense, it’s always fun when we’re out there.”