Devin White And The Run Defense

June 15th, 2022

Leader needs to lead.

Sometimes when superheroes have a bad day, they automatically look mortal.

That seems to be the case with Devin White. Drafted No. 5 overall in 2019, the Bucs’ linebacker seemed like he came into his own in 2020. After missing two games with The Sickness that cost him the final game of 2020 and the first playoff game at Washington, White returned and was a total animal on the field.

Joe even joked at the time if that is what The Sickness does to White, then he needs to be infected a couple of times a season.

Insane play in the 2020 postseason may have set a ridiculous bar for White., He didn’t have nearly the same kind of results last season, and that has soured some folks on his play.

In a discussion of the best run defenses in the NFL, the crew at Football Outsiders believe White is overhyped and they’re not as impressed with the Bucs’ run defense as most are.

Cause and effect?

Derrik Klassen: I actually really like what they have done with their front. Obviously I think we have realized that Devin White is not as good as we thought he was. But I think a front of Logan Hall, Vita Vea, Akiem Hicks and even having guys like William Gholston and Rakeem Nuñez-Roches in your two-deep, I just think this front is disgusting.

Don’t worry folks, that is disgusting in a good way.

Mike Tanier: I think the second level and the safeties make a lot of plays close to the line of scrimmage. I think White is a good run defender. And Winfield’s kid.

Aaron Schatz: Lavonte David is not the legend he was for a long time. White is not quite as good as he was supposed to be. We’re nitpicking here at a team that is a massive Super Bowl contender.

The trio gave the Bucs’ run defense a “B” grade. Not the “A” many do.

Now a common perception is that teams knew the Bucs were so good against the run, they didn’t even try. But Tanier had a twist on that which seemed to make some sense.

One reason Tanier said the Bucs run defense is perceived to be so good is the Bucs have two games against the Dixie Chicks, which have no run game to speak of (even though they ran all over the Bucs in December.) Other teams, Tanier believes, have to pass to play catch-up because the Bucs often had a lead and opponents could not afford to run.

For Joe, the conclusion is simple. White needs to return to his 2020 form. This is not to say White was awful last year. He wasn’t. Hell, he made a Pro Bowl. But his play in 2021 was a notch below what fans and others have come to expect.

17 Responses to “Devin White And The Run Defense”

  1. BucsfanFred Says:

    I think he’ll be more focused this year.

  2. Says:

    White needs to do his job and stop talking.

  3. Buczilla Says:

    These dudes are silly to give our run defense only a B. They are right about White though and I hope that he returns to his 2020 playoff form.

  4. Alanbucsfan Says:

    White had quad and hip issues at the end of last year. A fully healthy White should dominate.

  5. MadMax Says:

    We had a lot of injuries that kept starters out last year on another SB run. You never know, he couldve been playing injured, but he was there.

    Hopefully completely healed now, stays healthy, then watch him dominate. That look in his eyes should tell you all you need to know….he’s a dog that hunts baby!

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Folks like Tanier give all kinds of ‘reasons’ why opponents don’t run on the Bucs (Dixie Chicks had no run game, others had to pass to play catch up, etc), but the reality is that running against beasts like Vea, Suh & Gholston in the middle with JPP & Shaq outside was kind of a fool’s errand. They didn’t run against us because they couldn’t … MOST of the time.

    Until last year. Bucs uncharacteristically gave up a whole bunch of explosive runs (over 10 yards) & it resulted in our average Yards/Rush ballooning to 4.3 on the season. Take away those explosive runs though & we were at 2.9 Yards/Rush average; much much better. That would’ve easily been league-leading, but alas it doesn’t work like that. Got a hunch though that Todd Bowles & his merry band will be focusing on that quite a bit. Whether they can turn it around with so many new defenders up-front is anyone’s guess at this point.

  7. Hodad Says:

    White said it himself..he needs better brains.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I hope Devin White reads this…….look out!!!

  9. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    DR, to expand on what you said “…the reality is that running against beasts like Vea, Suh & Gholston in the middle with JPP & Shaq outside was kind of a fool’s errand…”

    and contrary to Tanier’s claim of “…have to pass to play catch-up because the Bucs often had a lead and opponents could not afford to run…”. Yes, I get that is true to a point, but…

    If you have any kind of run game, and you are playing against a Brady or Mahomes, etc., isn’t the normal strategy to keep the Brady’s of the NFL OFF the field by running the ball and eating clock?? Tanier is way off base here.

    Give the Bucs some credit Tanier!!

  10. Buc4evr Says:


  11. Craig Says:

    That fall was part of the reason for new blood. The interior line could not get off blocks and the safeties had to watch for runners to get outside.

    Most of those outside runners were White’s fault. He took bad angles and whiffed, or just plain whiffed and the safeties had to come up to make the tackle.

    Add in all the injuries to the DBs and it makes a good reason why there were so many passing yards against our defense.

  12. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    We are tuff to run on, but I agree that many times teams are so behind that they HAVE to pass against us, to catch up.
    And, Devin White is every bit as good as we thought he was. He just has to learn better mental discipline. I think he has a big year this year!

  13. Alvafan Says:

    DW was definitely hurt last year. You could see him struggling to get vertical after plays were over. I believe it was a quad and a shoulder. He toughed it out but he was definitely not healthy the second half of the season.

  14. SlyPirate Says:


    When White plays great, the Bucs defense is amazing. When White plays average, the Bucs’ defense is really good. White is the guy that can take good to great or great to good.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    White better return to 2020 form, because David is sliding backwards.

  16. Goatfarmer Says:

    Diva White overrated

  17. AbucAway Says:

    That picture though. Lol