Todd Bowles Explains Devin White’s Stats Dip

October 21st, 2021

Bucs DC Todd Bowles.

Last week Joe peeved quite a few readers, even though Joe was making an honest, innocent, factual observation.

Joe noted that stud Bucs linebacker Devin White’s numbers are way down from last year. They are. That is a fact. One only needs to go to and look at White’s gamelogs.

Some folks took that as a personal assault on White, which it absolutely was not in any way. One reader called Joe out asking Joe to go ask Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles what was going on.

So Joe did just that (see, Joe does read your comments and, when practical, will actually follow through on reasonable suggestions).

Last year, and specifically in the playoffs, White was a total gamewrecker. His play in the playoffs was one of the best defensive performances Joe has seen. It reminded Joe of the way Larry Fitzgerald took over the playoffs in 2008.

This year the numbers say White’s not at last year’s level. So Joe asked Bowles if that is because offenses are trying to avoid White or if Bowles is asking White to do more different things to help compensate for all of the injuries to the defense? Therefore, White may not always be in position to make impact plays?

Bowles said it is a “little of both” but his answer seemed to put more weight on the latter.

“With a lot of injuries we are using him in different ways and asking him to do different things,” Bowles said. “Right now we are asking other people to be more impactful and [White] is probably doing more covering and more leading and dropping [into coverage].”

Bowles added don’t be fooled by the numbers. The Bucs are giving White new responsibilities and the coaches like the results.

“He’s doing everything we are asking,” Bowles said. “And he is playing fine.”

Despite all the injuries, the Bucs are statistically coming off their best defensive game of the season, holding Philadelphia to 213 total yards (113 passing). And this came on a short travel week.

So with Antoine Winfield expected to start on Sunday and maybe, just maybe, Lavonte David, too, Joe isn’t sweating about White. If anything, having those two starters return ought to free up White for more impact plays.

19 Responses to “Todd Bowles Explains Devin White’s Stats Dip”

  1. Hodad Says:

    If you’re asking him to make less splash plays like no interceptions, over running easy sacks mission accomplished. If he’s spying on the QB, Thursday on Hurts TD he was no 007. White needs to get QBs like Ryan, and Jones on the ground, not run by them. White needs to get his hands on the football. All the quick passes, White needs to at least tip some of them, come on. Bowles is making excuses.

  2. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Unfortunately you are right on point. I’m afraid “Get Live” is smelling himself way too much.

  3. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    The Bucs know what they are doing.

    They are Super Bowl Champions. And have a decent record.
    They probably don’t need anyone’s advice.

  4. Buczilla Says:

    White will be fine and what Bowles said makes sense. To me, White is at his best when attacking, rather than reacting. He’s not great in coverage, but get him going downhill and he’s a monster. Consistency s the only thing missing from his game and it’s hard to get that when your coach is changing you from a bullet into a swiss army knife. He’ll get there.

  5. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Pete’s still try to think of something clever (to himself) to say.

  6. Lamarcus Says:

    White is below average in coverage. So we are not putting players in good positions? Sound like Lovie Smith

  7. JimmyJack Says:

    Sorry but White has not been making the plays when hes had the chance. Hes been almost completely ineffective rushing the QB, hes not fighing off blocks the way I expect and last week JPP took the blame for the wide open lane Hurts had on the TD run and when I looked at the replay you can see JPP look at White and give him a “WTF are you doing dude” motion. It clearly looks like White screwed up his assignment. His level of play is just way below expectations.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Not worried at all about Devin White……he didn’t all of the sudden forget how to play……he’s stayed healthy & we will need every bit of what he can do. Teams aren’t running on us…..his pass rush (although no sacks) is still effective.

  9. Show Me the TDs Says:

    ^^^Hahaha. Seriously, DW has a chance to make a real name for himself, taking on different duties. Instead, it’s an excuse. I think he’ll be fine, but let’s go already!

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Hodad … I don’t think ‘Bowles is making excuses’; rather, I think he changed the way he’s using Devin White in this defense after the Falcons game (White was victimized in that game more than any other).

    I’ve been critical too of our ILBs’ pass coverage, but when I compare games there seems to be a change in strategy after that Falcons game. Using Devin as the example, look at his pass coverage results in the 6 games:

    o Dallas: Targets-7; Complete-7; Yds-54 (Air-30; YAC-24)
    o Falcons: Targets-9; Complete-8; Yds-110 (Air-33; YAC-77)
    o Rams: Targets-8; Completed-5; Yds-38 (Air-21; YAC-17)
    o Pats: Targets-6; Completed-5; Yds-32 (Air-16; YAC-16)
    o Miami: Targets-4; Completed-4; Yds-23 (Air-9; YAC-14)
    o Eagles: Targets-4; Completed-3; Yds-23 (Air-20; YAC-3)

    So on the season Devin’s been targeted 38 times & opposing QBs have completed 32 of those for a 84.2% completion rate. He’s been victimized for 280 yards (most on the team, with LVD 2nd having been targeted 35 times with 29 completions for 220 yards).

    Yet if you look at White’s numbers in these last 4 games (after being roasted in the Falcons game), his pass coverage numbers have improved dramatically (he gave up 164 yds in the first 2 games, but only 116 yds in these last 4 games).

    Interestingly, Devin’s still blitzing the same amount. He has 44 blitzes on the season (resulting in 0 sacks but 10 pressures), but look at his blitzing per game starting with Dallas: 7, 10, 5, 10, 7, 5. First 3 games same as the last 3 games. Obviously results count, we’re 5-1, and our defense is steadily improving despite the injuries, so something must be working. It seems likely that ‘that something’ is how our ILBs are now being used in pass coverage.

  11. Jmarkbuc Says:


    His pass rush would be even more effective if he didn’t run past the QB like a chicken with its head cut off… I know Matty Ice is super elusive and all, but still.

  12. Crickett Baker Says:

    @defense rules-that was very interesting and insightful.

  13. Bojim Says:

    Makes sense Joe, thanks.

  14. jopaz Says:

    It’s amazing to read so many who thinks they know so much more than the players and coaches who actually play in the league let alone the team that won the Super Bowl…to be nit picked by fans who until last year knew only loss after loss…the team is 5-1 and y’all are not happy…jeez

  15. Ash Says:

    ^^^^^yup this 😂. Go bucs!!!!

  16. Mike Says:

    I love to read an intelligent analysis of Defense Rules Says. It indicates that the Bucs is trying to train White to be a perfect LB, which will be useful for the long term. I am glad to see his improvement on the coverage! Most of the fans are shortsighted.

  17. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    Thank you! The first question out the gate and not one I think he would have expected. Little more info than normal from Bowles. Maybe, you could suggest to the Illustrious Sage, if he could bring it up to Mr. Derrick Brooks on an episode of Tampa 2 or could Derrick make a surprise appearance on the Podcast? Who better to hear from, than the ‘Godfather’?

  18. Alanbucsfan Says:

    JPP has not been 100% all year. Last year through 6 games he had 4-5 sacks. This year, I believe , he has 1/2 sack.
    Add in injuries to other defensive players, and Bucs D has had to make adjustments and compensate for missing starters.
    If White were not in the lineup, Bucs D would be in big trouble.
    Running game resurrected has helped Bucs win time of possession battle the last 3 games- that’s helped D as much as anything.

  19. Man Child Says:

    Can’t remember the last time I heard a coach call a players play “fine”