Typically, we like our X-Factor series to feature a different player each week, and we try not repeating Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will be the focus of the weekend. So, it’s a one shot deal. Usually.
Devin White isn’t your usual player though. Inside linebacker (or off ball linebackers) don’t usually get drafted as high as he did. And rookie’s aren’t usually starting their career having to undergo minor surgery for an illness. Even if a rookie does have an illness in Week 1 of his first season, they don’t normally follow it up with a physical injury in Week 2. And after all the setbacks, rookies don’t normally start to reach their potential until year two, if ever.
Again, Devin white isn’t your usual player, and because of it he’s getting a second go at being our Buccaneers X-Factor as Tampa Bay gets set to play the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13.
In the first eight regular season weeks of his career, White totaled 23 tackles while appearing in four games. In the back half of the year though, we’ve seen a healthy and re-energized White play in four of four possible second half games, and turn in 39 tackles in the process.
All two and a half of his sacks have come in the back half of his season as well.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he’ll need to continue his impressive string of playing and pursuing against the running game as his opponent will look to punish White and his teammates with heavy doses of Leonard Fournette.
Early success will force Nick Foles and his offense to lean on the passing game where the Buccaneers pass rush - including increased contributions from White himself - will get the chance to force the veteran quarterback into some mistakes.
When he’s not blitzing or stacking up the run game, White will continue to seek improvement in his own pass coverage skills, and help protect the middle of the field from easy connections and big gains like we’ve seen over the weeks.
No matter what’s happening on the field, White is going to be in the middle of it, and his success will help lead to team success.
It’s not usual for a rookie season to go the way his is going, which is why we’re just fine with doing the unusual ourselves, and giving Devin White a second chance to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ X-Factor for Week 13.