Lavonte David And Devin White Are The New Norm For Linebackers

August 30th, 2021


Joe is not a fraud and raises a hand to admit being off-base.

Joe was not on board before the selection of Devin White in the 2019 NFL Draft, only because the Bucs needed pass rush help so as not to leave Jason Pierre-Paul out on an island.

Joe is, and forever will be, a firm believer that the most important element of a defense is a pass rush. And Joe makes zero apologies for that. We all are witnesses to how rotten a defense can be without any pass pressure.

Picking White at No. 5 Joe thought then was way too high for an inside linebacker in a passing league. Little did Joe know the Bucs were on the cutting edge of defense with the pick.

Conor Orr of has a cool feature on Lavonte David and White and details how the Bucs defense became so dominant because of them.

Since [David and White were joined together with Todd Bowles], David and White have blitzed, covered and tackled as well as any linebacker duo in the NFL. And the result has been a Super Bowl–winning defense with the ability to do what so many coordinators across the league can only wish for: keep linebackers on the field to defend against the run, while not becoming susceptible to passing-game mismatches. So often in today’s NFL, linebackers are targeted by opponents who force them to cover faster pass-catchers. Offenses tend to use a no-huddle, hurry-up approach when the defense—unable to substitute between plays—is “stuck” with multiple linebackers on the field. Tampa Bay has the antidote.

“When the other team goes no-huddle, I already have two guys [on the field] in there that can play,” says Bowles, speaking of David and White, the only linebacking duo who each played at least 93% of their unit’s snaps in 2020.

Joe should have seen this coming. Joe vividly remembers years ago Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio’s “Movin’ the Chains” all but predicting this type of defense that the Bucs have started.

Kirwan said with all the smaller linebackers being drafted because of their coverage skills, and teams playing so much nickel- and dime-defenses, it was smart to draft or sign a big ol’ running back or fullback and pound the ball mercilessly between the tackles to take advantage of the smaller linebackers.

By drafting White and keeping David, the Bucs basically thwarted other teams from doing just that against them.

Football is an ever-evolving game. And in this instance, the Bucs were ahead of this curve.

25 Responses to “Lavonte David And Devin White Are The New Norm For Linebackers”

  1. mark2001 Says:

    I think they are the new goal…the linebackers that so many teams are aspiring to have.. But since so few teams have anything close to these guys, I wouldn’t call them the new norm.

  2. Swampbuc Says:

    Need to draft another one to replace the aging LVD. Eventually.

  3. Leighroy Says:

    I’m sure every team wants to have Ray Lewis and Derrick Brooks on the field at the same time!

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Hats off to Joe for admitting…….but many made the same mistake…..White wasn’t just any middle linebacker….he is special….and he’s ours for years & years to come.

  5. Bucnjim Says:

    Takes a real man to admit he’s wrong most people these days disappear without a trace when they’ve been proven otherwise. We’ve (The Bucs) have come a long way since Barrett Ruud!

  6. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Think the cowboys 1st round pick mikah parsons is going to be along with white the 2 best LBs in the game for some years to come. Cowboys defense is going to be much better this year with their new DC….bucs should definitely beat dallas by 2 scores but sometimes the ol bucs show stinkers in these situations

  7. Bird Says:

    Joes – kudos to you guys

    Your game right now is at an all time high. Straight up balling 💪

  8. Beeej Says:

    Amazing that ONE middle linebacker, (to say nothing of TWO on the same team) can effectively cover anyone who crosses their path

  9. Joe Says:

    Thanks Bird!

  10. PassingThru Says:

    NFL teams presenting a three man front place a greater burden on the LBs. If you look around the league, the LB corps that suck consist of guys who cannot rush the passer, have poor processing skills or lack the quickness to defend TEs and pass-catching RBs. Lavonte David And Devin White are simply outstanding at those attributes. These two don’t run at the wrong gap during run plays, and don’t get outsmarted during pass plays. They can defend quality TEs and pass-catching RBs. And yes, they are deadly at the pass rush.

  11. SOEbuc Says:


    Even though I think LVD could still be cracking skulls at 50 and retire because he wants to, I agree these are the best two ILB duo and and some of the leaders of the defense/team. Need time to coach up stellar rookie ILB.

  12. Youngbucs Says:

    Way to man up joe now about that question you kept asking. How do you replace 5000yds? Care to comment?

  13. Bucschamp Says:

    Sometimes I think Bucs is like Madden. Crazy lineup

  14. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree with Bird Joe, that your Game is at an all time high.
    You guys do an awesome job!
    JBF is better than it ever was, and it was good before.

  15. PSL Bob Says:

    It’s a thing of beauty!

  16. Mike C Says:

    I am not fully sold on his coverage just yet, if he keeps the ego in check and keeps working on it he should be fine.

  17. BillyBucOff Says:

    I like the admission Joe’s but in your defense, if we hadn’t have been so fortunate that Barrett played so well, we could have easily taken an edge rusher.

    I haven’t seen Josh Allen’s numbers but I sure am glad we took Devin White instead.

    I noticed Grant Stuard missing gap integrity and cannot wait to see White explode on some RBs. It almost looked like Grant didn’t want the contact on some of those so called misses. It really is a no brainer how good those 2 ILBs are.

    If one of them goes down, we will take a huge hit though.
    We need to draft a replacement quick IMO.

  18. PA Buc Fan Says:

    Totally agree Bird. These Joe’s have been killing it for years with the best coverage of the Bucs you can possibly find. I don’t post often truly but have been a reader daily on here almost since its inception. There is no where else I would even care to look to read up on our Bucs! Thank you Joe’s and may you guys continue for decades to come!

  19. atlbuc28 Says:

    IMHO.. I believe KJ Britt will end up a monster LB for us too! Seems to have the same motor and love of the game…

  20. mark2001 Says:

    altbucs…I think Britt will be in on Goal Line/ Short yardage plays. But he is too slow, at least at this point in time, to be another David or White. Great hitter. But kind of an old school linebacker, and a liability in coverage, from what I’ve heard.

  21. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    This team usually seems to find diamonds in the rough with late round picks on linebackers. For them to draft one so high with the fifth overall pick really says something.

  22. Buczilla Says:

    I wanted Josh Allen and I am thrilled to look like a dumba$$ for being wrong. All that said, I would still choose a potentially good pass rusher over a potentially good off ball linebacker every single time unless I am just loaded with pass rushers. 😜

  23. David Says:

    That big running back has to get through Suh and Vita and Gholston first

  24. cover deuce Says:

    A lot of credit goes to the hogs up front giving them clean looks. Love that David is getting some late career shine though – long time overdue. I’d like to see White put together a strong season against the pass before we officially crown him The Next Big Thing – but if he keeps playing like he did in the playoffs it’s gonna be a pick well spent at any rate.

  25. mark2001 Says:

    Yeah Cover… not very often you get a guy that is putting up numbers like Ray Lewis, a HOF player.