On the pitch, Devin White has been a bit polarizing since the Buccaneers made him a Top 5 pick in 2019.
Splash games have escalated in recent years, as the Whites have 11.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, 20 tackles for a loss and two regular season touchdowns since entering the league.
In the 2020 playoffs alone, White recorded 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries, including playoff picks against the New Orleans Saints in the division round and the Kansas City Chiefs in the super bowl.
Those big results, coupled with his energetic demeanor, made him a favorite among other players and fans alike, and they earned him plenty of praise on the preseason rosters.
While it can’t be denied his influence in the big moments, more analytical approaches find White unreliable on a game-by-game basis, especially in coverage. Pro Football Focus in particular didn’t like it, ranking it at 43.4 in 2020 and 43.2 this year.
He’s been pretty calm this year when it comes to impact play, registering just one fumble recovered and missing a few interceptions to go along with no sack. He had 8 quarterback hits on snaps similar to last year, so he’s still causing trouble in the backfield.
The Bucs could use a “breakout” game this week against their division rivals Saints, and it looks to be as good a time as any given his groundbreaking performance against them the last time they stood. met.
If nothing else, White’s elite range and aggressiveness are needed to face Alvin Kamara. The all-rounder has basically been the only reliable offensive player for the Saints. Kamara is their main receiver with 25 receptions for 241 yards and four touchdowns. He also recorded 419 yards and one touchdown on 114 carries.
It’s probably no coincidence that Tampa has handled Kamara much better since White joined the team.
With Bucs at Saints on Sunday, a reminder of the much better Tampa Bay defense has handled Alvin Kamara since Devin White arrived in 2019.
2017-18: 127 scrum yards, 1.75 touchdowns per game
2019-20: 89 yards scrum, 0.6 TD per game
– Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 27, 2021
As usual in recent clashes, Kamara will be White’s main mission. In four games against New Orleans in his first two years, White recorded no less than 11 tackles. In the playoffs, his interception came when he passed a pass intended for Kamara.
Neutralizing Kamara will massively affect Jameis Winston’s ability to deal damage to his old team. In terms of actual receivers, Marquez Callway is their main wide receiver … he has 16 catches for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Deonte Harris, who has burned Tampa in the past but suffered an injury this week, is the only other player on the team with over 200 receiving yards (12 catches, 236 yards, 2 goals).
These are not the dominant feast days of the Saints of Dree Brees. It’s a vulnerable offense that hasn’t performed particularly well since the ambush Green Bay Packers during week 1. He was effective but not very explosive, and limiting Kamara only puts more pressure on Winston.
As we all know better than anyone, a Jameis under pressure equals a Jameis prone to errors. White can also literally put pressure on him with strong passing and limit what Winston can do with his legs.
For Whites, it’s time to get in the saddle and help his team secure a key victory in the division before heading into the week off.