“Domination” Talk

December 10th, 2019

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Although the game is slowing down for him, Devin White remains a young man in a hurry.

White, who doesn’t turn 22 until February, is playing like a savvy veteran since recovering from a Week 2 knee injury that sidelined him for three games. In the past six weeks, he has given Buc fans a tantalizing preview of just how disruptive he intends to be during an NFL career that appears destined for stardom.

Big plays. Big talk.

Once White shook off the rust, his speed and play-making instincts spearheaded a turnaround for a franchise desperate for a defensive renaissance. His latest contribution came early in the fourth quarter Sunday, with the Colts ahead 35-31 and looking for more from the Tampa Bay 21.

Jamel Dean had just been flagged for a 45-yard pass interference penalty before White helped out his fellow rookie by forcing a fumble from Nyheim Hines, who was fighting for extra yardage on a swing pass. It was the only takeaway by Tampa Bay — and it was a big one.

White’s third forced fumble of the season continued a personal surge that happens to coincide with Tampa Bay’s winning ways.

Full Bloom

He announced his arrival in Seattle with a team-high 12 tackles and two forced fumbles in an overtime loss. Two weeks later, White registered 13 tackles against the Saints. When the Bucs beat Atlanta on the road, White led the way with a pair of sacks and he followed up with a scoop and score at Jacksonville.

The NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for November has impressed teammates with his drive and preparation. All that work during the week is showing up on Sunday and the boss man can’t help but notice.

“He’s a dynamic player,” says Bruce Arians. “He’s really coming into his own. You can see him blossom every week, getting better and better, more confident and more confident. He’s everything we thought he’d be.”

There were a couple of intriguing pass-rushing prospects still on the board when the Bucs were on the clock with the No. 5 pick. They stuck to their gut and went with the All-America linebacker out of LSU. If you think the Bucs harbor any regrets, guess again.

White and Vita Vea loom as foundational pieces for a young defense.

With Lavonte David serving as a perfect mentor, White has blossomed into a key performer as the Bucs head into Detroit favored to beat the reeling Lions and improve to 7-7.

Next Role

Josh Allen and Brian Burns have combined for 14.5 sacks as rookies, but White has the ability to impact the game from sideline to sideline. He plays with an edge and he plays with the same abandon that helped him win the Butkus Award as the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.

When the Bucs entered the locker room at halftime Sunday, trailing 27-21, David assumed a leadership role.

“Lavonte is such a good player,” said Cameron Brate. “He’s the heart and soul of the defense and when he says something, everyone listens.”

Foundational pieces

While David addressed the team, White knew something was missing.

“We weren’t having fun,” he said after the game. “You’ve got to have fun when you play this game.”

Unlike Derrick Brooks, who hardly spoke as a rookie in 1995, White isn’t bashful about speaking his mind. White is brash and he’s confident, but Arians and Todd Bowles don’t mind a bit as long as he keeps shouting with his play.

“I think we didn’t respect them as a whole,” White said about the Colts. “I think we just felt like we could come out here and dominate — which we should. At the end of the day, we have to respect our opponent, but we’ve got to make them respect us as well by going out there and dominating them.”

There’s that word again.

When’s the last time you heard a Buc rookie talk about domination … then back it up?

Well, it’s a new day in Tampa Bay, especially on the scoreboard. David has stepped up in a new role as a vocal leader and White is taking notes, waiting for his day.

It’s coming. And like everything else about White, it’s coming fast.

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Ira Kaufman launched his professional NFL coverage in 1979, back when Earl Campbell was the toast of the league and Lee Roy Selmon was defensive player of the year. After a lifetime at The Tampa Tribune, “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” joined JoeBucsFan.com in July of 2016. His twice-weekly podcast and three columns per week appear here year-round and are presented by Bill Currie Ford. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter is a regular on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and a part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, in addition to his other appearances. You can hang out with Ira during every Bucs road games at Buffalo Wild Wings. His schedule is linked here.

18 Responses to ““Domination” Talk”

  1. 813bucboi Says:

    white sure is proving a lot of folks wrong….me included….

    still would like to see him play better in coverage but that’ll come in the offseason once he watches film….

    great job white….keep up the good work…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  2. LordCornelius Says:

    Man I was skeptical and will admit I was for Josh Allen or trading down and getting Burns or Jonah Williams, but how can you not love this guy?

    Maybe he was exactly what we needed all along.

    I’ve crapped on Jason Licht pretty hard for a while lately, but his 2019 class is looking pretty damn solid right now. 1/3 our starting defense is from this draft class in White/SMB/Dean/Edwards. Anthony Nelson also flashed potential before injuries killed his season. And we seem to have found our kicker.

    And it’s not like they are just starters by default. They are anchoring a turn-around in secondary play as rookies.

    Dude still took a bad approach to building a team for 5-6 years but the 2019 class is looking promising.

  3. Brandon Says:


    Did it ever dawn on you that he was simply drafting players that fit what the Buc coaches were trying to do? That pretty much relieves him of a ton of responsibility for the misses on defense considering Mike Smith was complete trash. Aguayo? That’s on him. But Hargreaves, he was projected to go right around where we took him, even Noah Spence was selected lower than he was projected. I think both of those players busted because of themselves… but the Aguayo pick was the bad one. A 2nd round pick on a kicker? Maybe if he is a generational player, which he wasn’t. A 5th rounder? Sure, if you think he is your guy because kickers start coming off the board in round 6 and you might as well grab him in 5 because you don’t know if someone else is targeting him in round 6.

    Anyways, I have never had a problem with Licht except for Aguayo and the reversing the order of Justin Evans and Chris Godwin in round 2 and 3.

  4. Jcscycles Says:

    Not all on Licht. Previous coaches told him who and what they wanted. The coaching staff we have now is far better.

  5. Rayjay1122 Says:

    It is fun to have a little winning streak albeit not against the best of opponents. In fact, only the Ravens and Titans have longer win streaks currently in the NFL and in the NFC we are tied with Chicago for the longest win streak. Regardless of the situation, its better than losing.

  6. Kobe Faker Says:


    The NFC East division leading 6-7 Tampa bay Bucs lawsuit is still pending

    As a East coast located football team, we rightfully belong to the NFC eastern division replacing the midwest Dallas Cowboys

    updates coming asap

    *Hold up on the playoff ticket purchases till further notice”

    Kobe Faker

  7. Lunchbox Says:

    Geez I still remember those old commercials, “It’s a new day….in Tampa Bay!”

  8. LordCornelius Says:


    Agree somewhat. We don’t really know who is pulling the trigger on the drafts IMO – and to me that’s one of the main issues we’ve had around here and it’s annoying because it muddies who should actually be accountable.

    Either way my big criticism is:

    -building an offense with priority drafting on skill players over O-line (i.e. Charles Sims – a 2nd RB – over various probowl OGs, or investing heavily into WR/TE picks but not O-line to make the offense hum)

    -building a defense from the back with way more resources on secondary than front 7 or pass rush, even though you should always build it in the opposite direction. You can’t develop corners with a bad pass rush. Luckily after 6 years he hit on a few corners and bought himself a pass rush, but this isn’t how you build sustainable succesful franchises IMO

    Either way there are pieces to make this work now and have some sustainable success. It just took like 6+ years when with a great GM it could have taken 3.

  9. Blogtalkfootball.com Says:

    I agree with Kobe! I would rather play the Giants, Eagles and Redskins twice a year than the Saints, Falcons and Panthers.

  10. idiaznet Says:

    People have to remember that a GM is only as good as the coaches that advise him on what they need. The previous coaching staff didn’t seem to know what they needed or wanted. They were just coasting and collecting a check. That hurt the development of players like Jameis, David, Cappa, Marpet and others. Now they are getting real coaching and teaching.

    Now we as fans are starting to see the results. It takes time, but it is coming.

  11. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome article Ira. I was such a jacka$$ to doubt this kid.

  12. pick6 Says:

    as i’ve said before, i’m looking for him to have a mike evans-esque career trajectory. he is far less experienced at the position than his NFL & drafted peers just like mike, he has elite ability and work ethic like mike, is just 21 like mike was, and i expect him to build his game year by year like mike has to become the best at what he does like Mike now is

  13. SmittyToiletBowles Says:

    He said before he was drafted he wanted to be the leagues highest paid LB. He better dominate every week. If youre gona talk it you better back it

  14. TampaTown Says:

    I’m big enough to admit I was wrong. I wanted Josh Allen. There’s just something about this kid that keeps growing on me, including his personality. At some point all us Jason Licht haters (me again) have to start giving him credit too because he’s certainly taken a lot of heat on this site and everywhere else too.

  15. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    >David has stepped up in a new role as a vocal leader and White is taking notes, waiting for his day.

    For this to happen, it was necessary that GMC move on. For all you guys going soft on Lichtweight, I’m betting McSoftie would still be here if Licht was left to his own devices.

  16. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    All of the shiny toys in the world cannot win games in the NFL without the right mix of fat boys taking care of the dirty work first, and our defense has been a case study for our GM’s entire tenure. We also have no drafted offense linemen as depth.

    Joe was right to call for a pass rusher in the draft. No one knew Licht was going to finally get lucky by finally hitting on the right combination of free agents on the D line. Make no mistake–it was luck. Now, hopefully he can keep them together while finally drafting more O and D line with value picks.

  17. RODNEY ALLEN Says:

    Brandon I think drafting Aguayo in the 2nd round is what did him in if he was drafted in the 5th or even the 4th it woulda took alot of pressure off the young man and that pressure I think is what did him in

  18. Hodad Says:

    That’s what’s great about 3-4 defenses, the extra LB is usually a much better athlete then the DL he’s replacing. With Shaq, David, and now White coming on we’re set.