Todd Bowles Opens Up On Devin White’s Highs And Lows

June 14th, 2022

You want candid talk on Buccaneers savior linebacker Devin White and the state of his game?

Joe presents Bucs head coach/defensive playcaller Todd Bowles laying it out in detail.

In Part I of Joe’s sitdown last week with Bowles for the Ira Kaufman Podcast, Sage of Tampa Bay Sports Ira asked Bowles to expalin to fans where White’s game is two seasons removed from his stunning finish in the 2020 season.

“I think he had a good year [in 2021]. I don’t think he had the Super Bowl year, but he still had a very good year. I think we had a lot of injuries that ravaged, that we asked him to be more of a vocal leader, as far as pointing and lining people up more than we did making plays to hide up some of the weaknesses that we had,” Bowles began. “He still had a very good year.

“In the second year, you become better mentally. I think there was a cross between his mental and his physical play. And then he started hearing the noise trying to make a play; that’s when he would make a mistake. I think he’s aged and matured a year. He’s come back with a great mental approach to the ballgame. He’s gotten a lot better at almost everything that was almost a minus for him last year.

“But he is our tone-setter. He’s one of those guys that you have to let be a football player. I’m not saying he’s Ray Lewis or Mike Singletary, but he’s one of those guys that’s very confident in his ability. And he’s very good at what he does and you have to let him play. And I think we’re getting back to that more – letting him play but understanding where he has to be at certain times.

“So I think his best years are ahead of him. I think it’s impossible to ask an insider [linebackers] to have nine sacks every year. That’s not realistic. He got through [in 2020] and had some success at that, and we had a lot of guys up front that helped out with that. But if he can get four or five sacks and get about three of four interceptions, that’s a great year to me, as well as doing things helping us win, making some 3rd-and-short stops and leading the defense, and being where he needs to be mentally.

“We’ve tweaked some things for him that fit his game a lot better. You know, we have to be smarter as coaches getting him in better positions, too. But like you said, he’s the guy that we turn to. And he’s a natural born leader. It’s not for show. I mean, he does it in practice every day. So on Sunday, it’s just a microcosm of what we see every day during the week.”

Joe’s biggest takeaway from this was Bowles noting how strong and mentally focused White came to the Bucs’ spring practice. That’s a huge sign, and Joe highly doubts Bowles would exaggerate.

Second, Joe was intrigued by Bowles saying he’d be happy having White be a four-sack guy, considering how often White blitzes.

Great stuff from Bowles, and Joe will have plenty more from the head coach in the next Ira Kaufman Podcast episode.

35 Responses to “Todd Bowles Opens Up On Devin White’s Highs And Lows”

  1. SB Says:

    Funny how the debate that draft year was Devin White or Devin Bush.
    We ended up with the correct ‘Devin’.

  2. ModHairKen Says:

    Love this guy. 45 is going to have a monster year.

  3. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I love Devin White. He can be a real snot knocker when they let him.
    I too was surprised when Bowles only expected 4 or 5 sacks from him.
    As much as we blitz

  4. SlyPirate Says:


    1. Getting off Blocks
    White was routinely blocked out of critical run plays by a pulling OL. The Bucs actually lost a few games because White couldn’t get off a block.

    2. Missing TFL
    Speed is great unless you’re a bull rushing a matador. White went flying by RB and QBs on his blitzes costing the Bucs an impact play and taking himself out of the play all at the same time.

  5. BucsfanFred Says:

    I have no doubt the defence will be much better this year and 45 is gonna lead the way.
    Changing my name from bucsfan4ever cuz it’s too much like several other names

  6. Austin Says:

    50 bucks says he turns into the premiere blitzing middle linebacker this year, at least 9, separating himself

  7. Austin Says:

    50 bucks says he turns into the premiere blitzing middle linebacker this year, at least 9, separating himself from everyone

  8. SB~LV Says:

    State of his ego

  9. PassingThru Says:

    SlyPirate is on target.

  10. GOB Says:

    White is too aggressive sometimes. It’s almost like he doesn’t trust the scheme. 9 sacks isn’t going to happen every year for an off ball linebacker. I agree with SlyPirate, he gets pinned down to often, and can’t get off blocks once that happens. Stick to the defense, trust the system, and he’ll be just fine. He doesn’t need a pile of sacks to be effective. A big key to Bowles scheme is lineman tying up blocks, so the LBs can flow to the football. He’s a tremendous athlete, and should have a very good year.

  11. Craig Says:

    I hope he learned how to wrap up on tackles, and learns to slow down until the play really develops. Too many over-runs and bad angles.

    They also need to game plan him away from pass coverage, he is horrible at that.

  12. Goatfarmer Says:

    Gee Todd. Why didn’t the guys know their assignments and try to freelance? What will be done to fix that?

  13. stpetebucsfan Says:

    DW45 needs to watch a few old Kung Fu TV shows with David Carradine.

    Remember the signature line in every episode?

    “Patience Grasshopper.”

  14. David Says:

    I fully expect an all pro year. I just care about tackles and turnovers. If he gets a handful of sacks or more, great, but that’s not his focus.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    SlyPirate … ‘The Bucs actually lost a few games because White couldn’t get off a block’.

    I hope you were just exaggerating for effect SlyPirate, because very rarely IMO does the loss of a game come down to a single player’s performance, good or bad. Devin makes mistakes just like every other player, and some are much more obvious than others because he happens to be in the middle of the defense, but I still wouldn’t blame any losses specifically on him.

    You’re spot on though about him not being able to get off of blocks too often & over-running plays. Speed kills, but it apparently can work both ways. Personally I think they blitz him too often, and that can lead to being more predictable I would think. He didn’t get the sacks last year that he got in 2020 (3.5 vs 9), but he did get a lot more ‘Pressures’ (31 vs 20). Whether those had any impact on those plays is anybody’s guess though.

  16. James in Memphis Says:

    Todd Bowls is telling a damn lie! Devin White didn’t have any highs last year. You can’t talk all that sh*t in the preseason talking about you are the best ILB in football and go out there and get schooled by Trevor Semien or Taylor Hienicke.. We have to hold Devin White accountable and right now he isn’t consistent enough to even be discussing this. I watched every down. DEVIN WHITE WAS A LIABILITY TO OUR DEFENSE IN 2021.

  17. GOB Says:

    Defense, “they blitz him too often” especially against the freaking Rams!!!!

  18. Allbuccedup Says:

    Hes got this year and next to prove hes worth 20 mil a year.

  19. SB~LV Says:

    DW has some Jameis in his game

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Great stuff from Bowles, and Joe will have plenty more from the head coach in the next Ira Kaufman Podcast episode’.

    Is it just me Joe, or has Todd Bowles opened up A BUNCH since becoming HC? Joe thinks it’s just you. More open than Lovie was early (or ever) but the other guys were pretty open when they started. Bowles hasn’t done many interviews. Joe is grateful for all the time he carved out for JoeBucsFan. Wish we could share the off the record stuff. –Joe

    He seems to be much more detailed in talking with the media than Koetter or Lovie or Schiano were, or even BA for that matter. Very pointed & thorough in how he explains things.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Devin White is like a fine thoroughbred racehorse chomping at the bit in the starting gate……he needs to become more like Ricky Bobby & Daisy May……

    Love Devin White……Love his passion and aggressive play….needs to tone it back just a touch and he can still be lethal.

  22. GOB Says:

    Stop talking Todd!! Treat the media like mushrooms, keep em in the dark and feed them poop

  23. D-Rok Says:

    White seems to constantly be looking for a huge play – either a big sack or a huge TFL. Sometimes his angles aren’t good for the speed he uses. I’d rather see him slow down a tad, lower his hips and stutter-step to square up on the ball-carrier to get that 0 yard gain or 1 yard TFL instead of over-shooting and missing the tackle. I LOVE his mentality I just think he needs come under control more instead of using his blazing speed.

    I am excited and hopeful for a big year from him. Big year consisting of consistency.

    GO BUCS!!

  24. BradyBucs Says:


    Devin White got overhyped by the Super Bowl. Almost making it seem like he was the top LB in the NFL and this superstar player.

    He’s a solid player but has a lot of improving to do. He has some games that are head-scratchers for sure.

    Just like the “Gravediggers” which were also overhyped by the Super Bowl win. We all know how that turned out last season.

  25. Destinjohnny Says:

    Dude went Hollywood last year
    Distractions off the field with his new crib.
    Hopeful he will quit reading headlines and go back to being a country boy

  26. ChiBuc Says:

    Breakout…err, contract year. I suspect Bowles is sandbagging sack expectation. The lack of DL urgency, White/Bowles (as HC) redemption yrs, and White playing for payday (I know they picked up his 5th yr option, but foresee them kicking the can all the way down the block with DW). I’m with Austin, but I predict 11 sacks and improving in tackling/run stuffing and less coverage responsibility (see Ryan and Neal hybrid pickups).

    Look, I’m not much of a fan of no-adjustment-one-trick-blitzing Bowles DC, but I just feel he is going mad scientist and coming out blazing this season. Dude is all class, so you don’t see that chip on his shoulder, but no one in the NFL has more pressure or more to prove as HC than him. He was blamed for rams loss, handed the goat, and got the keys to daddy’s rolls royce… no pressure. I’m rooting for the guy.

  27. RustyRhinos Says:

    “Savior” Devin White? I thought we all read here, that was the title for our former First-round pick the Saints’ current QB? What No more Love for America’s QB and his other Monikers you use?

    Devin White is a hard-working Good Young MLB, consistently working toward greatness. I am excited to see him next season and for many seasons beyond.

  28. JimmyJack Says:

    2020 playoffs version of Devin White. Thats the expectation.

    I love the guy but Im not happy with anything less. Less is what we got last year.

  29. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    Slypirate – You obviously haven’t watched the video of the 2 best ILBs in the NFL on !! Devin White was one of the 2 . They talked about HOW GREAT HE IS AT SHEDDING BLOCKS AND RECOVERING FROM DOUBLE TEAMS AND MAKING THE PLAY ! And I really think you’re mistaken about how “He lost GAME’S for the Bucs ” !! Lost games as in plural? I don’t think he’s been the cause of any of the 8 LOSES we’ve had in the last 2 years !! That’s garbage trash talk !! You just make that sh!t up as you go ? GTFOH with that bullsh!t … Go Bucs and do your homework dude before you fart out your mouth

  30. JimmyJack Says:

    TampaDJ. It is a stretch to say Devin lost us games. But I did notice that White was very average(at best) in the 1st half of that Rams game. So was the team. In the 2nd Half, differnt story. White played very well and so did the team.

    Yes, I think White can be that transcendent player. He can be all over the field and be so good making plays it changes the game and makes everybody on the defense better.

    We need that SuperBowl version of White. If we get that guy he can single handedly flip the scipt on “Who is better Rams or Bucs?”

  31. Goatfarmer Says:

    Diva White. Over. Rated.

  32. captivajim Says:

    he is a diva ,, and a mouth ,, and a penalty problem……

  33. Dman Says:

    Big year for Devin to take over and make this his defense. LVD is coming down the stretch run, JPP and Suh are gone and VV is the quiet rock in the middle. For us to be a SB team he’s got to make his move now.

  34. Eckwood Says:

    I hate his mentality ( I’m great !!and he isn’t) ( where’s the camera I want to make attention statements) ……. What does he do better than good / avg …….. runs down hill through an open gap and side to side clean as good as any linebacker in the league………. And that’s it,, ,,, diagnose plays NO , avoid blocks NO, Coverage No , Get off Blocks NO, Ability to change direction Hell NO , make the play on qb with open shot NO, fundamental tackler Hell No ……….. Sorry it is what it is !!! Want to be Diva – Yes

  35. Richard Says:

    TBDJ is simply stating h watched the videos. Which ones, the Devin white best plays videos? Eckwood is spot on with his assessment. To say that Dw is one of the 2 best ilb in football is a ridiculous statement. Watch all the game reruns, he was just as EW stated!!! He’s not even in the top half of ilb….top 2…ABSURD!!!