Devin White The X-Factor

June 16th, 2019

Huge expectations.

Football, the purists say, is a team game. Maybe so, but one guy can sure turn around a team.

The ultimate one-man gang Joe can remember is Lawrence Taylor. Almost by himself, he turned the Giants from a joke into a monster.

Drew Brees is another. The Saints were mostly lousy and only a couple of times OK until Brees came to New Orleans. All of a sudden, the Saints become an NFL powerhouse.

Who knows if rookie linebacker Devin White can do the same with the Bucs? It sure seems like Bucs’ brass is all but saying he can, and the expectations are so high for the LSU product. Even Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes if the Bucs turn things around, the “X-factor” will be White.

There’s a big reason why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used the fifth overall pick on LSU linebacker Devin White in April. Tampa’s defense was inconsistent against both the run and the pass in 2018—it ranked 24th and 26th, respectively—and White has the ability to impact both areas.

The 21-year-old has the potential to give the Buccaneers a true sideline-to-sideline playmaker at the second level. Last season alone, he produced 123 tackles, made three sacks and had six passes defended.

White can be Tampa’s version of Darius Leonard or Leighton Vander Esch, guys who boosted their own defenses in big ways as rookies. He should be a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, and he’ll give new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles a chesspiece to play with in a variety of ways.

First let’s get something straight. The Bucs pass defense wasn’t “inconsistent,” it was horrendous!

Let’s hold up for a moment. Rookies generally take time to adjust to the NFL. The claim Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles runs a similar defense to what White played in at LSU is overblown. It may be similar but there will be a learning curve.

Look, Joe isn’t saying White won’t be a stud player. But man, the Bucs are expecting him to be Superman if they think a rookie can turn around a s(p)it defense like L.T. did, and L.T. had multiyear Pro Bowl linebackers alongside him in Brad Van Pelt and Harry Carson.

And yeah, L.T. was as close to Superman as we may ever see on a football field.

37 Responses to “Devin White The X-Factor”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    “Football, the purists say, is a team game”. That’s awesome Joe. Ever tried playing football with 1 guy? It’s just not the same.

    NFL football is the ultimate TEAM sport. (Signed …Purist)

  2. Buc believer Says:

    I will trade Superman for Batman ANY day of the week!

  3. Buc believer Says:

    And before some of you morons say “they don’t even play the same position” I KNOW. ITS CALLED HYPERBOLE.

  4. Todd Says:


    He WILL be Superman this year…and will subsequently buy a new horse named Lois, B!TCHEZZZ!

  5. Captain Stagger Says:

    Mack did a damn good LT impression when he got to Chicago.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Two great examples there Joe … Lawrence Taylor & Drew Brees. BOTH excelled, but it was not just them, but the coaching that they got that really helped them excel.

    LT’s first 2 years in the league (1981 & 1982) he had Ray Perkins as his HC. But his DC was Bill Parcels & his LBs coach was Bill Belicheck (with Romeo Crennel as a defensive assistant). Pretty decent coaching. Funny thing is that Parcells replaced Perkins in 1983 … and promptly went 3-12-1 with pretty much the same coaching staff (they improved steadily after that first year). LT for his part excelled surrounded by a decent defense & some excellent coaches.

    Drew Brees spent his first 5 years (2001-2005) with the Chargers, with Marty Schottenheimer as his HC & Cam Cameron as his OC. He did OK, but not really great. Got traded to New Orleans in 2006, which just happened to be Sean Payton’s first year as Saints’ HC. The rest is history … it’s the pairing of Brees & Payton that’s helped BOTH of them be so successful since then.

    Devin White has the same opportunity IMO that both LT & Brees had. Playing for a DC like Todd Bowles SHOULD be a perfect fit for his talents. And having 2 beast DLinemen (Suh & Vea) in front of him shouldn’t hurt either. Should be a fun year.

  7. Snook Says:

    One of the easiest positions to transition from college to pros is LB. While DE is one of the hardest. Not quite sure why so many people can’t grasp this concept. Maybe the same folks who think McCoy is so great?

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Devin White will succeed, for certain.

  9. DR FEELGOOD Says:

    Keep in mind. Those stats he had last year were with at least one missed game. I know he missed the Alabama game. Dude is about to be a household name by mid season. Mark it!

  10. Magadude Says:

    And the above well-made points in the article is why one can hope, but Joe and others should not be referring to White as the “savior” at this time. He needs time. He’s never even played a down in the NFL.

  11. JA Says:

    Let’s face it. If the NFL played musical chairs, the Bucs would regularly be the first one out, sobbing endlessly and in need of a nap.
    One can only hope, with the addition of White, they will now fight for those remaining chairs with the fervor of a kid sugared up on Halloween candy.
    Yeah, one guy can make a difference–even a rookie with, hopefully, an underfed sweet tooth …

  12. Alanbucsfan Says:

    There will be at least 5 different starters on defense and 100 pct turnover on defensive coaches- Hallelujah!!

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    Some are quick learners.

    The Red Rooster had four years of “learning curve” and he was constantly out of position…

  14. SteelStudBuc Says:


    Why can’t you expect him to be superman?

    I’m pretty sure you had pictures of Jesus Christ the savior for Jameis articles before he ever threw that pick 6.

    Is that why? Feeling a little gun shy?

  15. #1bucsfan Says:

    @defense like your post

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Alanbucsfan … I’m thinking that there could be as many as SEVEN new starters on defense to start the season, with the only ‘holdovers’ being LVD, Vea, Davis & possibly Nassib. Of course with all the different formations/combinations that TB will probably use the term ‘starters’ may not be as relevant as in years past. I can easily see him constantly changing up personnel packages to keep guys fresh, much more-so than Smitty or his predecessors did.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    Cobraboy … I love that descriptor ‘Red Rooster’. Fits perfectly.

  18. Pickgrin Says:

    Correct DR.

    There’s probably going to be 14 or 15 Defensive players having significant roles and getting significant #s of snaps in a lot of games this year.

    Guys like Spence, Barrett, Bucannon and whoever nails down the 3rd CB spot are all likely to play a lot of snaps this year – but not necessarily be listed as or considered a “starter”.

    The defensive “starting lineup” will depend on that week’s opponent and what Todd Bowles believes the first play by that opponent might be….

  19. BigMacAttack Says:

    White won’t be doing it alone. He’ll have help, good help in front, along side and behind. I think he will be just fine with Coach Bowles at the helm.

  20. Destinjohnny Says:

    Well the good and bad news is if you have any talent u will shine on our Jason Licht 6 years of drafting defense

  21. Cobraboy Says:

    For God’s sake, just STOP with the RotY predictions!!!


  22. NOSBOS Says:

    In 2018 neither team in the Super Bowl ranked in the top 15. Rams 19th,pats 21st.

  23. NOSBOS Says:

    That begs the question “does defense really still win championships”???

  24. NOSBOS Says:

    KC gave up over 6000 total yards in defense last season ranking near the bottom of league in overall defense but was an offside call away from advancing. Does defense really still win championships Joe????

  25. NOSBOS Says:

    Ironically the rams and pats both ranked in the top in offense. Rams 2 pats 5. Rams scoring average 32 points a game,pats 27 points a game. I’ve said a number of times in here the new defense in this league is a 30 point a game offense. Numbers are proving me right. Funny thing the Bucs are listed 3rd on that list with 24 scored a game. I’m of the mindset BA will be good for at least one more touchdown considering his aggressive coaching style.

  26. NOSBOS Says:

    I’ll await the next Jameis thread. Have some nuggets I wanna share in regards to play in Atlanta in contrast to his time in philly under the tutelage of Andy Reid.

  27. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Defense Rules-
    I agree and I expect Bucs giving up some big plays but getting alot more turnovers. This D has much better athletes than the past rosters .

    NosBos – Great Defense shows up in playoffs- Rams vs Cowboys, Patriots vs Rams

  28. NOSBOS Says:

    Now,we are in agreement that a viable running attack is necessary. Like BA says “it’s a QBs best friend”. I’ll take that a step further and say “a HC’s commitment to running the football is a QBs best friend”. Klueless obviously didn’t like any of his QBs last season because he only ran the ball 389x. Only 7 other teams had fewer rush attempts. Conversely the rams rush the ball 459x (McVay must really care about his young QB) and the pats ran the ball 478 (Belichess must really love his old QB.

  29. NOSBOS Says:

    The one team in last years Super Bowl with a 1000 yard rusher the rams,gave him the rock 256x for 1251 yards in 15 games. You poo poo Peyton’s 234 rush attempts 3.9 yard average for 871 yards but let’s be honest another 25 or so carries and he’s over 1000 yard mark and you’re probably no longer proclaiming him jag. Right or wrong???

  30. NOSBOS Says:

    Thousand yard rusher in today’s game is less significant than it was 10 to 15 years ago. What’s more important today is overall team rush attempts.

  31. NOSBOS Says:

    😊and they already squabbling in that browns locker room.

  32. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    So Nassib, Vita, Spence, Gholston, Edwards, Davis, Hargreaves, Evans, Dean, and Murphy-Bunting OR TODD BOWLES all improving or arriving have nothing to do with improving the defense? It’s all on Devin White?

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    @NOSBOS … “In 2018 neither team in the Super Bowl ranked in the top 15. Rams 19th,pats 21st”. Uhh, kinda depends what criteria you’re using to rank the defense NOSBOS. You’re right IF all you care about is YARDAGE ALLOWED. But in the more meaningful criteria, Patriots were #7 in POINTS ALLOWED last year.

    Yes defense does still win championships. Rams had the #2 offense last year in POINTS SCORED & in YARDAGE GAINED. Patriots allowed that high-flying offense to score a grand total of THREE points. Please don’t tell me that you’re falling victim to Joe’s ‘Magnificent Marching Band’ syndrome. Yardage doesn’t mean diddly if you can’t score.

  34. Bucnjim Says:


    What is needed is exactly what the Bucs haven’t had in a decade and that’s an opportunistic defense. You can have bad games and you can give up 400 yard games BUT when it’s time to make a stop if the final minutes DO IT! It’s not hate against certain players it is the simple fact that when a play was needed to finish out a game NO ONE would answer the call. Picture a three stooges episode where the coach asks who is going to make the game saving play and 11 stooges are all pointing at each other.

  35. NOSBOS Says:

    DR the rams were made one dimensional as result of Todd Gurley not being 100. The rams are a play action offense without that element they were doomed from the beginning.

  36. NOSBOS Says:

    BucnJim I agree.

  37. NOSBOS Says:

    And actually you provided the aspect I left out. “Key stops” during the course of a game. We have the horses now.