By: Michelle Sabin
Sports Talk Florida – Bucs Reporter
Veteran linebacker Devin White reflects on last season, and says Tom Brady will help elevate their game
With all the buzz surrounding the Buccaneers new offense, veteran linebacker Devin White makes it clear that the defense is ready to reveal their identity too.
White, who is returning for his second year with the team, is confident that the momentum they developed towards the end of the season will carry into 2020.
VIDEO FROM THE TAMPA BAY BUCS YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Last year, after the team fell to 3 and 7, the young defense had to adapt, control the plays and create the momentum that led the Bucs to back to back wins. As that momentum built, White described their confidence grew and “our identity as a defense became made, and we finished the season strong.”
The Buccaneers finished the season with the top rush defense in the NFL, allowing just over 73 yards a game. White added, “now we can build on what we did last year and keep striving to be better.”
With facilities and gyms closing due to Covid-19, the players have had to adapt with makeshift home gyms and borrowing equipment from the team. The virtual workouts have not been easy, but White explained, “everyone is working their tails off tremendously even with coronavirus . . . to make sure when we come back we are in the best shape”.
White was working with a personal trainer, driving 45 minutes every morning to work out. He explained, “I’m in the country, and I’m limited to sources especially when we have to do our own stuff.” After the shutdowns, the team sent him dumbbells, sleds and bands to work with, and the strength and conditioning coach adjusted his workouts.
White does think it is paying off, and is ready to practice on the field against Tom Brady. He compared the opportunity to playing against Drew Brees last season. He said, “I was able to see how well [Brees] masters the game. It was hard to get a sack on him.”
White added “[Brees] reads our defenses and he knows where his guys are going to be, where the ball is going to go. He does it so fast. And I think that’s the thing Tom is going to bring to practice.”
Practicing against Brady will create a new challenge for the Buccaneers defense which will hopefully elevate their game. White said, “we are not going to want him to pick us apart every day in the training camp. We are going to get better with our disguises. We are going to try to confuse him a little. I think having him in practice, going against him, it really is going to make us really bring our game out to a new level.”
There is a lot of hype surrounding the 2020 schedule, with five primetime appearances and a matchup against the Super Bowl champion, Kansas City. Chiefs. However, White knows the defense has to quiet the noise and stay focused on the task at hand.
To this veteran linebacker, he said it means “we have to have our best game and make it a weekly thing, putting on the same show week in and week out.” He added, “as long as we already have that mindset from day one, and not let all the hype surrounding us overtake what we need to go and do on the field, I think we will be just fine.”
As a defensive unit, they have been talking about being the ones to carry the team, with White adding “ the team will goes as far as we go.” For this veteran linebacker, it’s about holding up their end of the bargain by “limiting teams to field goals, and not letting the team score, or if offense turns the ball over get the ball right back because turnovers win games.”
Even if the fans cannot be in the stadium, White believes they can get the job done. He said, “when you have a crowd with great energy, it does make you play better but it cant be the only thing that makes you play better.”
He explained, “you got to have the mindset that you want to dominate the person in front of you.” White is confident the Buccaneers defense can do just that, adding “we just have to do what we do and execute.”