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FAB 1. White Making Big Strides In Coverage

Devin White took some massive steps forward in his second year in Tampa Bay last season.

Not only did he lead the team in tackles with 140 despite missing the regular season finale against Atlanta with COVID-19, but White came perilously close to leading the team in sacks, too. White finished with nine sacks – one more than Shaquil Barrett and half-a-sack behind Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul, who led the team with 9.5.

The Bucs’ 2019 first round pick was a heat-seeking missile on defense.

Going forward.

Attacking the line of scrimmage.

But going in reverse – in coverage? Not so much.

At times White was awful in pass coverage last year.

White allowed a 22-yard catch-and-run against former Carolina running back Mike Davis by taking a poor angle in Week 2. He gave up an 18-yard catch-and-run to Denver tight end Noah Fant out of the backfield due to poor technique the following week. White couldn’t find the ball when Giants running back Dion Lewis caught a 7-yard touchdown in Week 8. The next week he gave up a touchdown to Saints TE Adam Trautman in the red zone, biting on a double move.

In Weeks 1-14, White was targeted 79 times and gave up 69 completions (87.3 percent) for 683 yards, 36 first downs (45.6 percent) and four touchdowns.

On third down during Weeks 1-14, White allowed quarterbacks to complete 20-of-21 passes (95.2 percent) for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Fifteen of those completions picked up a first down.

On passing plays beyond 10 yards, White allowed 10-of-12 passes (83.3 percent) to be completed for 235 yards. All 10 receptions went for first downs.

Now, White was tremendous sniffing out screens and swing passes behind the line of scrimmage, allowing just 11-of-14 passes (78.6 percent) to be completed for only 46 yards – an average of 3.29 yards per reception. But anything downfield seemed to be an easy reception for the guy White was guarding. It didn’t matter whether it was man or zone. White struggled in coverage.

Bucs ILB Devin White and Giants RB Dion Lewis

Bucs ILB Devin White and Giants RB Dion Lewis – Photo by: USA Today

According to Pewter Report’s Jack Barrett, quarterbacks were 13-of-13 (100 percent) for 103 yards when targeting White in Cover 4 zone during Weeks 1-14. In Cover 5, which is Cover 2 zone with man coverage underneath, White allowed 7-of-8 passes (87.5 percent) to be completed for 65 yards and two TDs.

But all of that changed after the Bucs’ bye week – specifically from Week 15 on.

White missed the Week 17 game at Atlanta and the wild card playoff game at Washington due to COVID-19, but in games at Atlanta (Week 15) at Detroit (Week 16), at New Orleans (divisional playoffs), at Green Bay (NFC Championship Game) and Super Bowl LV, his pass coverage game was completely transformed. He was no longer a liability. In fact, White became quite good in coverage.

From Week 15 through the Super Bowl, White only allowed 23-of-36 completions (63.9 percent) for 209 yards with no touchdowns, according to Barrett. And he recorded his first two interceptions of the season. The first came in New Orleans and the second came against Kansas City in Super Bowl LV.

During that span, White improved in so many areas. He allowed just 1-of-2 passes to be completed behind the line of scrimmage for minus-2 yards. On downfield throws of 10 yards or more, White surrendered just 3-of-5 passes completed (60 percent) for 61 yards and no touchdowns. And he picked off one of those attempts.

In Cover 4 from Weeks 15 through the Super Bowl, White allowed just 4-of-9 completions (44.4 percent) for 37 yards and just two first downs. Both of White’s postseason picks came in Cover 4. In Cover 5, White was even better during that span, with just 1-of-4 passes completed (25 percent) against him for only two yards.

White’s postseason interceptions came against Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes, proving he’s come a long way in shoring up his weakness.

“On Day 1 before we ever stepped on the field, Coach Bowles went around the whole room and basically told every guy their weakness that was on the team last year,” White said. “He told us what we needed to get better at this year. There’s no complacency over here. Nobody is staying at ground zero. I think everybody is breaking above ground and trying to get better.”

White can still improve in coverage this season, but he made major strides down the stretch last year.

Bucs ILB Devin White

Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I asked White in training camp what led to his post-bye improvement in coverage. Was it more film study, better technique or just gaining experience as a second-year player?

“I think it’s a collective effort of all of those things you just named,” White said. “Growing up when it was time to play pass coverage it was always chasing the running back around. Now you’ve got to be even more versatile – playing a little zone, whether you are playing Quarters or you’re playing Cover 3, whatever you’re playing. Cover 2 – you’ve got to know how to spot drop. You have got to know that you have to get there fast so you can set up and read the quarterback. You have to be under control with your body. There are a lot of things that go into playing defenses like that.

“That was something that I wasn’t comfortable with, but something that I have gotten tremendously better at. That was something going into the end of the season that I have really prided myself in. I stayed after practice and got extra [coverage] drops in. I looked at film – old film of players who did do those things well and just took advantage of it.”

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has another reason for White’s sudden improvement in coverage.

“I’ve got to thank all you guys in the media for that – telling him he couldn’t cover,” Arians said. “He got pissed and kind of took it to heart. So thank you guys.”

Pewter Report was one of the many media outlets that focused on White’s weakness in pass coverage last year. But to his credit, White is turning a weakness into a strength. His interceptions at New Orleans and against Kansas City were big-time plays – the kind of plays when paired with his success as a pass rusher that could – and should – lead to White’s first Pro Bowl berth this year.

As much as White likes dropping into pass coverage, he still relishes the opportunity to rush the passer. While getting double-digit sacks isn’t necessarily a goal of his this season, he believes he has the capability to do so when defensive coordinator Todd Bowles dials up those A-gap blitzes.

“I think I’m the better pass rusher than those guys (Barrett and Pierre-Paul),” White said. “But at the end of the day, every time when my number is called, I want to be very dominant when I’m able to go. I want to make my presence felt in the backfield. I feel like my game is very versatile. I think that’s a great part of my game. I don’t have a goal of double-digit sacks, but if it comes with me playing hard and playing within the scheme, then I will sure be very highly appreciative of it.”

Bucs ILB Devin White

Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: USA Today

With White now becoming a playmaker while dropping into coverage, Bowles can do even more with his star inside linebacker.

“He’s still capable of a lot more, but it’s a luxury to have a guy that can play three downs and play everything well,” Bowles said. “As far as body position and understanding run schemes and everything else, he’s gotten a lot better at all those things, but he still needs to grow more. And he should because he’s only going into his third year. But it’s a luxury to have both of those guys (White and Lavonte David) that can do all those things and you don’t have to worry about bad match-ups.”

White’s lasting impression from the Super Bowl was picking off Mahomes in the end zone to keep Kansas City from scoring a touchdown in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 victory. If he can pick up where he left off in terms of pass coverage, White and the Bucs defense should have another super season in store.

It’s early in training camp, but White has already collected a pair of pick-sixes off Tom Brady and Ryan Griffin, reading the eyes of the quarterbacks and stepping in front of underneath routes in coverage.

“At the end of the day, Rome wasn’t built overnight,” White said. “Devin White isn’t going to become the best player overnight. I took the time to put in the work and get it done.”

FAB 2. Early Bucs 53-Man Roster Prediction

The Bucs are about a week away from their preseason opener at home against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s time for an early 53-man roster prediction in Tampa Bay. With all of the starters and most of the backups set heading into the 2021 season, most of this 53-man roster prediction will be right.

Quarterbacks – 3

Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert and Tom Brady

Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert and Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

QB Tom Brady
QB Blaine Gabbert
QB Kyle Trask
Analysis: Gabbert is locked in as Brady’s backup, but the curious aspect to this depth chart is that Ryan Griffin is clearly the better option as the No. 3 QB due to his experience. Yet Trask will make the team as the No. 3 due to his second-round draft status and bright future, according to Bruce Arians. The 31-year old Griffin, who is entering his seventh year in Tampa Bay, will likely wind up on the practice squad.

Running Backs – 4

RB Ronald Jones II
RB Leonard Fournette
RB Giovani Bernard
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn
Analysis: The Bucs don’t have any superstars in their backfield, but this is as solid of a group as it gets in the NFL. Jones and Fournette are both in a contract year and battling to be the starter. Both will play and Arians will go with the hot hand in games. Bernard has been a sensational addition as the third down back in terms of his protection and pass-catching ability. Vaughn has shown a good deal of improvement, yet he’s the fourth-string back right now due to the veteran depth ahead of him.

Wide Receivers – 6

WR Mike Evans
WR Chris Godwin
WR Antonio Brown
WR Jaelon Darden
WR Scotty Miller
WR Tyler Johnson
Analysis: The Bucs have crazy talent at wide receiver. The top three on the depth chart – Evans, Godwin and Brown – are all Pro Bowl-caliber receivers. Darden, the rookie, is making major strides in practice. He’s one part Brown in terms of short-area quickness underneath, and one part Miller with his speed and ability to go deep.

Miller proved himself as the team’s depth threat last year, and will once again thrive in that role. Johnson shook off a rough first week of practice when he reported to camp overweight. He’s getting in better shape and drawing rave reviews after a great second week of camp. Johnson will have to show up on special teams, but he’s in the lead for WR6 right now. Johnson would be a No. 3 as a second-year receiver elsewhere.

Tight Ends – 4

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

TE Rob Gronkowski
TE O.J. Howard
TE Cameron Brate
TE Tanner Hudson
Analysis: The top three tight ends are set. Gronkowski, Howard and Brate make up the deepest tight end group in the league. The fourth tight end spot on the depth chart will be decided on special teams. Hudson has stuck around due to his receiving ability, and he’s improving as a blocker. He’s also played a role on special teams before and he’ll need to fend off a big challenge from Codey McElroy and Jerell Adams. Both have been impressive in training camp.

Offensive Line – 9

LT Donovan Smith
LG Ali Marpet
C Ryan Jensen
RG Alex Cappa
RT Tristan Wirfs

OT Josh Wells
G Aaron Stinnie
C-G Robert Hainsey
G-OT Nick Leverett
Analysis: The Bucs have all five starters returning on the O-line, which helps the team’s chances of repeating. Tampa Bay has bolstered its depth this year due to the re-signing of Wells at tackle, the emergence of Stinnie at guard and the drafting of Hainsey in the third round. Leverett has been a pleasant surprise in training camp. The fact that he has the versatility to play both guard and tackle helps his cause. If the Bucs end up keeping 10 offensive linemen, the 10th could be rookie guard Sadarius Hutcherson, who has also impressed in camp.

Defensive Line – 7

Bucs DTs Vita Vea and Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Bucs DTs Vita Vea and Rakeem Nunez-Roches – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

DT Ndamukong Suh
NT Vita Vea
DE Will Gholston
NT Rakeem Nunez-Roches
NT Steve McLendon
DT Khalil Davis
DE Patrick O’Connor
Analysis: Tampa Bay’s defensive line is a veteran-laden group, led by Suh, Vea and Gholston, who lead the league’s No. 1 rushing defense. The Bucs have a pair of veteran reserves in Nunez-Roches and McLendon. Davis, last year’s sixth-round pick, has really come on and will benefit from playing in his first preseason. His quickness and ability to penetrate really stand out. O’Connor is a special teams standout in Tampa Bay and is improving as a defensive lineman, registering his first career sack last year.

Outside Linebacker – 4

OLB Shaquil Barrett
OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
OLB Joe Tryon
OLB Anthony Nelson
Analysis: Barrett and Pierre-Paul are one of the league’s better pass-rushing duos. They are each capable of being double-digit sackers. Tryon, the Bucs’ first-round pick, has been one of the stars of training camp. He looks like an absolute steal and should be able to get a handful of sacks as a designated pass rusher as a rookie. Tryon gets the benefit of learning from two of the best, without the pressure of starting in his first year. Nelson has been slow to develop, but he’ll beat out Cam Gill, who has been injured for most of camp, and Quinton Bell for the fourth spot.

Inside Linebacker – 4

Bucs LBs Lavonte David and Devin White

Bucs LBs Lavonte David and Devin White – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

ILB Lavonte David
ILB Devin White
ILB Kevin Minter
ILB K.J. Britt
Analysis: David and White might be the NFL’s best inside linebacker duo. David is more of the savvy veteran at age 31, while White is the flashy, young playmaker. Minter is a solid veteran who knows the defense inside and out and was the special teams captain last year. Britt has more potential as a linebacker on defense than either rookie Grant Stuard or veteran Joe Jones. The fourth inside linebacker spot will definitely come down to special teams, where Britt has been playing well so far.

Cornerbacks – 4

CB Carlton Davis III
CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
CB Jamel Dean
CB Antonio Hamilton
Analysis: Davis is entering a contract year and seems primed for a big season. He and Murphy-Bunting have had really solid training camps so far. Dean has been solid, but not spectacular. He’ll need to make more plays in 2021. Hamilton has been up-and-down on defense in camp, making some interceptions and blowing some coverages. But he does play well on special teams, and he edges Herb Miller out for the final cornerback spot for that reason.

Safety – 5

Bucs S Antoine Winfield, Jr.

Bucs S Antoine Winfield, Jr. – Photo by: USA Today

FS Antoine Winfield, Jr.
SS Jordan Whitehead
SS Mike Edwards
FS Ross Cockrell
FS Javon Hagan
Analysis: The Bucs keep five safeties, but Cockrell is a flex player that played cornerback last year, but has been a surprise standout at safety this year. Winfield and Whitehead are a nice one-two punch as the starters, and Edwards has had a tremendous camp. Don’t be surprised if Edwards pushes Whitehead for playing time – or if we see defensive coordinator Todd Bowles use a dime package that features three safeties. Hagan makes the team due to his ability on special teams and his improvement on defense.

Specialists – 3

K Ryan Succop
P Bradley Pinion
LS Zach Triner
Analysis: The Bucs’ battery returns in 2021. Succop hasn’t had a stellar training camp so far, but it’s too early to sound the alarm. Pinion is a very good punter, a great holder and an excellent kickoff specialist. Triner is as solid as they come as a snapper.

FAB 3. Bucs’ Deepest Positions

This Tampa Bay team is the deepest I’ve ever covered in my 26 years on the Bucs beat. It’s deeper than the Super Bowl team of 2002 and the 2003 team that tried to repeat. We can debate which Bucs Super Bowl team has the most talented starters, but when it comes to depth there is no question the 2021 squad is the best in franchise history.

Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht, vice president of player personnel John Spytek, vice president of football administration Mike Greenberg and the rest of the team’s front office deserve a ton of credit for stocking this roster with talent – and for re-signing a good deal of it – this offseason. Here are the top five deepest units on the Bucs as I see them.

1. Wide Receiver

Bucs WR-PR Jaelon Darden

Bucs WR-PR Jaelon Darden – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

When Tyler Johnson, a promising young receiver drafted in the fifth round last year, likely ends up as the sixth wide receiver on the depth chart, that speaks volumes about the depth. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown comprise the top trio in the league, and Scotty Miller and Jaelon Darden would be WR3s on other teams. In Tampa Bay they are No. 4 and No. 5. Don’t be surprised if Darden really cuts into Miller’s playing time this year.

Jaydon Mickens, Travis Jonsen and Cyril Grayson have NFL ability, and Josh Pearson isn’t bad either. In the past, any one of these receivers would easily make the 53-man roster for the fourth or fifth receiver spots. Now, they’re battling for practice squad spots in Tampa Bay.

2. Tight End

Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate might be the most talented trio at tight end in the NFL. But it’s the next three tight ends on the depth chart that make this the second deepest unit in Tampa Bay. Tanner Hudson, Codey McElroy and Jerell Adams are all NFL-caliber tight ends and they each have starred in camp through the first two weeks on different days. The Bucs like big tight ends, and Gronkowski, Howard, McElroy and Adams are all 6-foot-6. Whoever winds up as the No. 4 tight end will be better than Antony Auclair was over the last two years.

3. Quarterback

Tom Brady is still among the best in the NFL even at age 44. But what makes Tampa Bay’s quarterback room so good and so deep is the fact that Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin are on the roster. Gabbert, a former first-round pick in Jacksonville, has been a journeyman in the league for years, but is in his fourth year in Bruce Arians’ offense. He’s mobile and has a rocket arm. That gives him a leg up over Griffin, his fellow 31-year old backup.

Griffin doesn’t have much NFL playing experience outside of the preseason, but there are far worse third-string QBs in the league. Yet he’ll likely wind up as the practice squad QB. Kyle Trask, the Bucs’ second-round pick this year, will wind up as the No. 3 QB due to his draft status, but he’s really the No. 4 given his inexperience. The Bucs are taking it slow with Trask so far, but love his talent.

4. Guard

Bucs OL Nick Leverett

Bucs OL Nick Leverett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

It’s kind of wild to think that the Bucs are this deep at guard, but it’s true. Ali Marpet is one of the best in the game and deserves a Pro Bowl berth. Alex Cappa has developed into a solid starter at right guard and will likely cash in during free agency in 2021. Cappa’s backup, Aaron Stinnie, proved his worth filling in at right guard during the postseason. Stinnie, like Cappa, is also in a contract year.

But the Bucs’ depth doesn’t end there. While Robert Hainsey, the team’s third-round pick, has mostly been seeing reps as the backup center, he will be cross-trained at guard during the season. Throw in a couple of impressive youngsters in Nick Leverett and Sadarius Hutcherson, and the Bucs might have six NFL-caliber guards on their training camp roster. And John Molchon, a holdover from last year who made the team as an undrafted free agent, isn’t bad either.

5. Defensive Backs

I’m cheating when I say defensive backs – rather than listing the cornerback or safety position. The reason? Ross Cockrell. He’s been an absolute surprise as a fill-in safety, notching at least five interceptions in training camp so far. Cockrell, who was Tampa Bay’s No. 4 cornerback last year behind Carlton Davis III, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean, gives Todd Bowles’ secondary a tremendous amount of depth and flexibility.

Not only is Cockrell the No. 4 cornerback, he’s proven to be the Bucs’ No. 4 safety behind Antoine Winfield, Jr., Jordan Whitehead and Mike Edwards. Safety Javon Hagan and cornerback Antonio Hamilton might make the team as reserves, but Cockrell is the super sub in the secondary, and he alone provides tremendous depth at two positions.

FAB 4. SR’s Inside Scoop From Bucs Camp

Here are some tidbits I’ve learned from the first two weeks of training camp in Tampa Bay.

Bucs OLB Cam Gill

Bucs OLB Cam Gill – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

• Tampa Bay is disappointed that outside linebacker Cam Gill has been hurt and missed most of training camp. Gill had earned the No. 4 outside linebacker roster spot last year due to his play on special teams and his raw skill set as a pass rusher. Even though the Bucs drafted Joe Tryon in the first round, they still wanted to see Gill, who had half a sack in Super Bowl LV, compete with Anthony Nelson for the No. 4 spot this year. Right now it’s Nelson’s job to lose. Not only be default by Gill’s absence, but also because Nelson has turned it up a notch in practice, especially on defense.

• Not only has Mike Edwards’ clutch play-making ability from last year put him in position to earn more playing time on defense this year, he’s also having his best training camp. Edwards is picking up from where he left off a year ago and could steal some reps from Jordan Whitehead on defense this year at strong safety. Todd Bowles has a dilemma on his hands in figuring out how to get Edwards on the field in 2021, and it may have to come in a dime package with three safeties.

• Speaking of best camps, left tackle Donovan Smith is quietly putting together the best camp of his seven-year career in Tampa Bay. The Bucs extended the contract of Smith for two years totaling $31 million in March, and he came into camp slimmer and trimmer. Smith is showing more consistency and not having lapses in play during practice as he had in years past. With the exposure he received last year in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run, he could put together a Pro Bowl-caliber season if his consistency extends into the regular season.

• Bucs wide receiver Tyler Johnson got the message loud and clear from head coach Bruce Arians. He came to camp a little heavy and out of shape and irked Arians and the Bucs’ brass. But Johnson has worked diligently to get in shape, and after a rough first week, has turned in a dazzling second week of practice. Currently, he’s doing enough to hold off the likes of Jaydon Mickens, Travis Jonsen and Cyril Grayson, who have also had a strong start to camp.

Bucs QB Kyle Trask

Bucs QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

• Rookie quarterback Kyle Trask is impressing the coaches with his limited reps – and they are by design. It’s not like Trask isn’t earning reps in practice, but this is a Super Bowl champion Bucs team that is gunning for a repeat. It’s not quite time to develop a rookie quarterback the way it’s been done in the past in Tampa Bay with the likes of Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon and Jameis Winston. With Tom Brady under contract for two more years, Trask has the luxury of learning by watching the greatest quarterback of all time and two backups that have plenty of experience in Bruce Arians’ offense. Trask’s mental reps this year in this scenario as just as valuable as taking more snaps under center in terms of his long-term development. Trask will also see plenty of trial-by-fire reps in the preseason to accelerate his learning curve.

FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

Bucs ILB Devin White

Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: USA Today

• WHITE REVEALS THE ORIGIN OF THE “GRAVEDIGGERS”: Bucs inside linebacker Devin White claims that he – not members of the secondary – started the use of the “Gravediggers” nickname for the entire Tampa Bay defense.

“Mike Edwards is telling stories, but that’s for another day,” White said. “It kind of goes with the pirate ship and skeletons. As a Buccaneer you’ve got to dig a grave and put them to sleep. That was kind of the mindset. But he can take the credit – they (the secondary) can take the credit for it. They know where it originally came from and they know the original meaning behind it. At the end of the day, we didn’t have an identity for a real long time. When they came up, that was something we all stuck with and it all just fell right into place with what we were doing and how we were playing – nasty, mean, tough football. I thought that was a great name, but at the end of the day we have to live up to that name if we’re going to keep throwing it out there like that.”

• BEST WIDE RECEIVER TRIO IN THE NFL? I had to laugh at Bleacher Report’s suggestion that the Bengals’ young receiving corps consisting off Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and first-round draft pick Ja’Marr Chase is the best in the league. The easy answer is Tampa Bay’s trio of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.

Boyd has had two 1,000-yard seasons in Cincinnati, but no Pro Bowls. Evans, Godwin and Brown have a collective 15 1,000-yard seasons and 11 Pro Bowls combined. C’mon, Bleacher Report.

• BUCS CAMP ANALYSIS IN FULL SWING ON THE PEWTER REPORT PODCAST: The Pewter Report Podcast is energized by CELSIUS and broadcasts four live episodes each week in the offseason – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET unless there is a special event. This week will feature a Friday evening podcast at 8:00 p.m. ET to review Friday’s training camp practice.

The Pewter Reporters spent the week analyzing the second week of training camp on this week’s episodes of the Pewter Report Podcast on our YouTube channel. Check out all of this week’s shows below.

Jon Ledyard and Matt Matera break down Tampa Bay’s first three practices in full pads and discussed the return of O.J. Howard and Antonio Brown’s stellar day on Monday.

Ledyard and Scott Reynolds analyzed Tuesday’s practice which featured Blaine Gabbert as the starting quarterback on Tom Brady’s birthday – on a day when the Bucs young players stood out.

Ledyard and Matera reported on Thursday’s practice – a practice that inside linebacker Devin White absolutely wrecked with stellar play.

celsiusWatch the Pewter Report Podcasts live on our PewterReportTV channel on YouTube.com and please subscribe (it’s free) and add your comments. All Pewter Report Podcasts are archived so you can watch the recorded episodes if you missed them live.

There is no better time to listen to or watch a new Pewter Report Podcast – energized by CELSIUS – than Friday afternoon on the way home from work, or early Saturday morning during your workout or while running errands.

The popularity of the Pewter Report Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Report Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. And of course the Pewter Report Podcast is also available on iTunes and YouTube. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.

• BUCS RULE WITH RUN DEFENSE: Bucs Reporter Evan Winter brings the stats to show how dominant Tampa Bay’s run defense has been over the last two seasons under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Wausa
1 month ago

Great article, but mentioning players may make the pro bowl does not really matter anymore. The Pro Bowl means nothing as last year proved. The most talented team in the NFL with the best player in NFL history only had one pro bowl player last year and as good as JPP is I do not think he is one of the top 5 players on the roster.

drdneast
Reply to  Wausa
1 month ago

Would you rather play in the Pro Bowl or theSuper Bowl because you can’t do both. I hope the NFL coaches fans and players keep ignoring the Bucs because it just puts a bigger chip on their shoulder,

Horse
1 month ago

Excellent Fab5 Scott: You nailed it! No question White got a wake up call from PR and its fans. By the 4th & 5th games last yea, it was obvious. White’s weakness was pass coverage. I give him much respect that he knew it to and got it corrected. I too expect him to get even better this season. Tyron is the sleeper, because by mid season, he will be starting. Of course injury’s will play out and some back ups, who get the chance, might stay as the starter for the rest of the season. If our Defense can… Read more »

Spitfire
1 month ago

I knew White was bad in coverage the first 15 games but not that bad. He basically gave up everything. Thankfully he turned it around at the right time and hopefully can build on that and get even better. This year is the prime year for our experienced youth to take off and it should be amazing. Only problem is we are gonna have a lot of guys like Davis, SMB, Edwards, White, Miller, Cappa, Howard and others all hitting their second contracts around the same time within a couple years and it’s gonna be hard to hang onto them… Read more »

xXIronLionBucFanXx
1 month ago

A large part of White’s turnaround has to be Vita Vea returning. The defense was able to put more pressure on QB’s, and throws had to come out sooner. White might have stepped up but losing 1 second of time in the pocket for QB’s makes a big difference.

Last edited 1 month ago by xXIronLionBucFanXx
toofamiliar17
Reply to  xXIronLionBucFanXx
1 month ago

Seems like a lot of people here want to credit Vita for ANY good things any defensive players did after he returned. Makes me chuckle. Correlation =/= causation. In this case, Devin (who’s I’ve been extremely critical of since his rookie year) put in the time and the work to pinpoint a weak area of his game and improve there. Let’s credit the young man with his accomplishments! Vita’s a great player, but he doesn’t take away 1 second of pocket time for QB’s on average, that’s crazy.

bucballer
1 month ago

It’s called growing pains! Devin White was probably one of the bestif not the best athlete on the field on any given Sat. In college. In the NFL everyone is a good athlete. While being able to rely on his physical abilities alone in college, White has become more of a student of the game as he watches and processes film. He knows what his weaknesses r and has really closed the gap a bit in improving his technique and pre snap reads in regards to his coverage abilities. He is sideline to sideline all game long every game. With… Read more »

scubog
1 month ago

I too heard that ridiculous quote about the Bengals’ wide receiver corps being the best. I suspect the Bleacher Report crew that came up with that babble might have crossed the river into Kentucky and nipped a little too much moonshine. Nice job Scott on coming up with the final 53 man roster. Pretty close to my forecast. Just a tad easier than in past years when our GM’s were so desperate for talent they would scour the waiver wire for players better than our projected starters. Of course with the Practice Squad and IR eligible to return, almost everyone… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

Scubog; would like to know what you saw and the difference between yours and Scott which will probably be only a few. My thoughts here is the GM as to Cap constraints coming in another year; so maybe a veteran might lose to a 2nd year player?

scubog
Reply to  Horse
1 month ago

Horse: I’m sure Scott and the Pewter Report folks have been to more practices than the three I attended. I would have been to more, but a person can only attend one practice per account. I have three season pass accounts. In past years I went to a lot more sessions. I think the media types are much more restricted than they used to be. I’m sure that limits their observations. Predicting a roster is somewhat dependent on how many the team is keeping for each position. Duh? Then those bubble guys from one position are compared to a bubble… Read more »

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Horse
1 month ago

Along that train of thought – if Vaughn shows out in preseason and throughout all of training camp, it would not shock me for Fournette to end up 4th on the depth chart. And no team is keeping a 4th RB who is a net negative as a receiver for $4M. With an eye towards 2022, that $4M saved this year would be a big help – keeping Fournette this year could cost us the opportunity to resign someone we have much more use for next season. Not saying he’s a clear cut, but if he’s clearly losing the battle… Read more »

toofamiliar17
Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

That really is so incredibly dumb. This Bucs trio is one of the best of all time. If AB returns to his Steelers form or close to it and you add in our next 3 on the depth chart past the big 3, this might literally be the best WR room in the history of the league, bar none. There’s making a bold statement, and then there’s being a contrarian just for the sake of it. B/R sounds stupid.

toofamiliar17
1 month ago

Love hearing about White’s process to work on his game. Great Fab 5 this week, Scott!! Thanks a bunch. I disagree about QB being that deep. The reality stands that if Brady goes down, our SB hopes go down with him. If that’s the case, then I can’t put QB ahead of other positions at which that ISN’T the case, spots where we can reliably project the backup(s) to be capable of stepping in and playing to the level of at least a decent starter. That definitely appears to be the case at guard, DB (pretty much with the exception… Read more »

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