“The Logical X-Factor”

October 23rd, 2021

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It’s time for Devin White to get off his high horse and make some impact plays.

Sunday would be a nice start.

Ira Kaufman wants to see the old Devin White — soon.

Although defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is asking White to play more coverage in his third NFL season, Tampa Bay’s defense needs some splash plays from an inside linebacker who was voted the league’s 28th-best player in 2020.

White was a tackle machine last year, registering 140 stops to go along with 9 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 16 QB hits. He was a postseason monster after missing the wild-card matchup at Washington when he was placed on the reserve/Covid 19 list.

He certainly looked healthy against the Saints, Packers and Chiefs in the playoffs, accumulating 38 tackles, two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries.

While the Bucs insist White’s play hasn’t fallen off in 2021, the numbers tell a different story. Through six games, White has 41 tackles and is still seeking his initial sack. More telling, he has yet to make a single tackle for loss.

“With a lot of injuries, we’re kind of using him in different ways and asking him to do different things,” Bowles says. “Right now, we’re asking other people to be more impactful. He’s probably doing more covering and more leaving and dropping in terms of those types of things. He is doing everything we’re asking him to do and he’s playing fine.”

White has been one of the NFL’s leading trash talkers since entering the league as the No. 5 pick of the 2019 draft. He’s a fiery leader whose passion for the game has proven contagious.

When the 2020 season ended, there was every reason to believe White was on the cusp of stardom. While his 7 QB hits this year has him tied with premier pass rushers like Shaq Barrett and Khalil Mack, he has yet to produce a breakthrough game.

“We know we’ve got a long way to go,” White says, “but we’re all going to be better and start dominating soon. Right now, we’re a little shaky, we’re a little slow.”

Tampa Bay’s rush defense remains the league’s gold standard, but opposing quarterbacks have been golden against an injury-ravaged secondary. This pass rush needs a boost — and White is the logical X-factor for Bowles going forward.

Despite playing 100 percent of the defensive snaps, White has yet to make his presence felt to a significant degree. Teammate Richard Sherman says White is relentless, adding “he’s everywhere.”

Now it’s time for White to show up in the backfield, disrupting plays and forcing giveaways for a defense that is allowing an average of 24 points per game.

“Coming into a game, we get everybody’s best shot,” White says. “Teams are playing us so hard. We’ve got to bring it, but we find ways to win. That’s what great teams do.”

“I’m looking at you, Ira.”

Great players find ways to make a difference. That’s what White did repeatedly in 2020.

The rest of the Bucs fed off his energy and rare closing speed. We haven’t seen that same dynamic impact, but there are 11 games to go and Bowles may decide to turn White loose against the offensively challenged Bears.

White needs to introduce himself to Justin Fields in dramatic fashion, especially with Lavonte David still out with an ankle injury.

Tom Brady and this prolific offense have been carrying Tampa Bay during a 5-1 getaway, so Buc defenders need to start doing their part.

That begins with Devin White, the heartbeat of this defense. White sets the tone and Mr. Fields needs to feel his “relentless” presence in Week 7.

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11 Responses to ““The Logical X-Factor””

  1. Colonel Angus Says:

    Last year White had zero sacks thru the 1st 5 games. Then he had 1 vs GB, 3 vs Vegas and 1 vs Giants. Then zero for the next 5 games, before wrapping up regular season with 3 vs ATL and 1 vs Lions. So he had 6 of his 9 sacks in 2 games. Sacks come in bunches, he’ll get his.

  2. Miller5252 Says:

    I’m glad you’re putting it out there Ira. I’ve said it before this year, I’m a huge fan of White and I think he could go down being better then Brooks. Saying that, this year he hasn’t come to play yet. He needs to quit doing all these interviews and reading about how great he is and go back to work. He was mad last year because he wasn’t on the pro bowl and used it as fuel. This year he ain’t no where near where he needs to be. Quit talking about how good you are and start showing it. Time to dominate White, I know you can do it better then anyone that came before you!!

  3. James Allen Lofton Says:

    “It’s time for Devin White to get off his high horse and make some impact plays.”

    He’s been asked to play differently…“With a lot of injuries, we’re kind of using him in different ways and asking him to do different things,” Bowles says. “Right now, we’re asking other people to be more impactful.

    Ira Kaufman is very being contradictory in his comments, complaining that White isn’t being impactful when he can’t because Todd Bowles is asking him not to be impactful.

    Ira, you can do better than simply being contradictory.

  4. BigMacAttack Says:

    They’re 5-1 and that’s what matters. I’d love to see splash plays too but WINS are the ONLY thing that Count!!! Get over it 😂

  5. Mike C Says:

    That was a quote from Todd Bowles compared to his own opinion, wtf are you talking about James ?

  6. Bucs Win Says:

    D White has definitely missed more than a few tackles this season but he’ll be fine and get it together at some point. Since he’s been here, he has improved and made more splash plays in the second half of seasons.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m surprised at you Ira. The last thing we need is players screwing up their responsibilities because they’re trying too hard to make ‘splash plays’. Teams are playing us much differently this year than last year, and much harder. No sneaking up on anybody when you’re the Super Bowl champ.

    For instance, through 6 games last season, teams had run on the Bucs 130 times. This year only 86 times. That’s a lot fewer opportunities to get TFLs and a lot more pass coverage responsibility to contend with. And since opposing QBs learned quickly (in Game 1) to get the ball out fast, it’s been getting harder to get pressure on them (and especially on the really good ones with quick releases).

    BigMacAttack said it best: we’re ‘5-1 and that’s what matters’.

  8. adam from ny Says:

    i can’t see bowles letting white loose until lavonte returns…

    until old reliable is side by side with white, bowles has to play it a little close to the vest…

    he might let him try to fluster fields for fun & a stadium fillyloo with the fuzzled fans…

    he will prolly firkytoodle fields so he doesn’t catch penalties…

    fields is a scrub…

    yeah i said he is a scrub…

    so is tua, so is hurts, and so on and so on…

    the league is trying to find the next lamar jackson – and no one can

  9. Crickett Baker Says:

    Yah, I disagree with Ira and agree with almost everyone else. I also disagree with him when he bet against the Bucs in one of the last few games.

  10. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    Cricket- I totally agree with you !! It’s has ALWAYS been a blow hard in my opinion, but another “X-FACTOR” that nobody is talking about is the FACT that our Offense has been dominating the TIME OF POSSESSION this year and that also takes away from the defense piling up the stats .. It’s also sad to listen to all these bandwagon fans turn on one of the best players we’ve had ever ! This fan base has gotten SO SPOILED and forget the YEARS we had to go through before last year !! SAD !! GO BUCS

  11. Doctor Stroud Says:

    White leads the team in tackles and seems to be on his pace from last year. He had only one sack at this point last year.