Bucs Linebacker On Cutting Edge

July 24th, 2021


For those who follow former NFL defensive back Bucky Brooks on NFL.com and the “Moving the Sticks” podcast, Brooks is all about new-age football.

Some of his schtick (like runaround quarterbacks) is more hope and wishful thinking than reality. For example, Brooks hollers that statue-like dropback quarterbacks are a thing of the past and that if a quarterback is not mobile, a team is stuck in a rut of history.

Yet, what rookie quarterback lit up the NFL last year? It wasn’t Tua. It was dropback quarterback Justin Herbert.

And what QB won the Super Bowl decisively? It wasn’t Lamar Jackson. It was old man immobile Tom Brady.

Quarterback play always has been and always will be about a man’s arm, not his feet.

But when it comes to linebackers, Brooks is onto something.

The changing dynamics of the league have made it imperative for elite defenses to feature five-star playmakers with hit/run/cover ability at linebacker. Teams are swapping out old-school thumpers for ultra-athletic linebackers who possess A+ speed, quickness and burst between the tackles.

While there is still a place in the league for the downhill linebacker as a situational player, the football world covets second-level defenders who can stop the run, rush the passer and pick off passes in space. These “three-way” players come in different packages than their predecessors, with speed and athleticism valued at a premium over size and strength, but their overall explosiveness enables them to thrive as sideline-to-sideline roamers.

So Brooks detailed the top-five linebackers that fit this mold. And at No. 4 Brooks lists Devin White.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles unleashed White as a designated disruptor to propel the Buccaneers to the title last season. The 6-foot, 237-pounder wreaked havoc on opponents as a bull in a china shop on blitzes (9.0 sacks in 2020) while also gobbling up runners as a sideline-to-sideline playmaker. White’s speed, athleticism and aggressiveness enabled Bowles’ defense to overwhelm opponents with a variety of blitzes from the defensive mastermind. With the third-year pro settling in as a blue-chip performer, White is poised to climb the charts as a premier linebacker.

The way White played in the playoffs, Joe cannot think of a linebacker who played better, maybe since Derrick Brooks in his prime.

Joe has been all over this before, but whatever Bowles and/or White did in the playoffs, White didn’t just become a game-changer, he became a championship-maker running wild.

Joe has no idea if something clicked in White’s head or if Bowles used him differently in the playoffs or took White off a leash or what. There was no question White was a different player.

If the way White played is what we can expect from him regularly, then we are watching the next Bucs linebacker heading to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

11 Responses to “Bucs Linebacker On Cutting Edge”

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    White is a Thumper, with Speed!
    If he stays healthy, IMHO there is no way he misses out on the Hall Of Fame.

  2. CharlieV Says:

    The old “bull in a china shop” being destructive is as inaccurate as “slow footed” QB’s being historic.

  3. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Saw the words Bucky Brooks and stopped there .

  4. Buckaroo Boozie Says:

    Last game I saw SpongeBob KC was running for his life and throwing from his arse!

    I will take a Field General who stands in the pocket with a 2 second release strike like our G.O.A.T. everytime 💥👍🏻

  5. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    I remember around these parts there was a lot of mockery about the “Savior” Devin White when he was brought aboard by Jason Licht. I specifically remember how it was claimed that linebackers were “obsolete” and that it wasnt 1980s ground and pound football anymore.

    I think it is now beyond question that Devin White will be the best and most valuable defensive player from that draft. I don’t imagine we win the Super Bowl or advance very far into the playoffs without “Savior” Devin White streaking around the field, and I don’t imagine we get a boat parade, White House visit, or fancy rings with Josh Allen (the DE) or Chaisson or any of the rest everyone so desperately wished for.

    Licht knows what he is doing, and every single day that goes by we need be thankful we have him on our payroll.

  6. Destinjohnny Says:

    45 Is a monster

  7. PSL Bob Says:

    White is only going to get better with experience. And now his confidence has got to be through the roof. His leadership on defense is also an asset that can’t be overlooked. All around great player, worthy of ascending to Derrick Brooks status.

  8. Buczilla Says:

    Leonard is a hell of a player and Smith is damn good too, so I can see them being listed in Bucky’s rankings. Wagner has been overrated, for, like, ever, and Warner (seriously, look up his stats on pro football reference) is a Barrett Rudd wannabe. David and White outclass all of these dudes.

  9. Eddie Marz Says:

    This is what makes Bucs so tough. They can beat with offense and defense. GO BUCS!

  10. Bojim Says:

    Good drop back QBs will always be there.

  11. Idahobucfan4life Says:

    White is a monster with exceptional talent, but he can’t win games alone. The excellent play of the D-line allowed him to roam freely last year, and especially late in the season and playoffs after recovering from his injury. Without a solid supporting cast even “His Airness,” Michael Jordan, wouldn’t have been so successful during his career. It takes a team and kudos to management for finding a way to put together such a solid bunch, using them effectively and keeping them motivated. I’m glad to have White on the team I’ve proudly cheered on for the past 40+ years. I’m excited to see what he and this current team can do. It’ll be a little different feeling playing as favorites rather than perpetual underdogs. And although no single player is more important than the team as a whole, I’m REALLY happy that Devon White is a Buccaneer!