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Bucs’ Devin White is NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month

The linebacker spearheads a defense that has allowed 27 points in three games, the fewest of any team.
Devin White has recorded 24 tackles, including three for loss, three sacks, three quarterback hits, two passes defensed and one forced fumble in three games this season.
Devin White has recorded 24 tackles, including three for loss, three sacks, three quarterback hits, two passes defensed and one forced fumble in three games this season. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 29|Updated Sep. 29

TAMPA — Ask Devin White how he believes he has played the first three games of the season and the Bucs linebacker will humbly give you a positive assessment.

“I’m in a good space with my game with (those) three games,” White said. “Obviously, I always feel like I can do way more, but my coaches give me a challenge each week and every week it will be different.”

The leader of the NFL’s best scoring defense recorded 24 tackles, including three for loss, three sacks, three quarterback hits, two passes defensed and one forced fumble in wins against the Cowboys and Saints, and the loss to the Packers.

That performance was good enough for White to be named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September.

White is only the seventh Bucs player to receive the honor, joining Derrick Brooks (twice), Warren Sapp (twice), Simeon Rice (twice), Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David and Barrett Ruud.

The Bucs have allowed only nine points per game and own the league’s top scoring defense. They also are tied for third in sacks (11), second in fumble recoveries (3), tied for third in interceptions (5) and tied for third in sacks (11).

White has nearly equaled his sack total of 3.5 in 2021. He had nine sacks during the Bucs’ Super Bowl 55 championship season in 2020.

“He’s into it. He’s fired up. Flying around. We know what type of athlete he is,” co-defensive coordinator Larry Foote said. “He’s taking it up another notch as far as knowing the defense’s ins and outs and trying to expect and anticipate how the offense is trying to attack us. He’s doing a good job. He’s playing clean football. No mental errors. He’s communicating., That’s what it’s about. He’s our captain.”

In the Bucs’ 19-3 win at Dallas in the season opener, White had two sacks. The next week at New Orleans, he added another sack to go with a forced fumble and 11 tackles. Last week, he helped limit the Packers to only 14 points.

“Last week it was making sure (Green Bay running back Aaron Jones) didn’t get going and I think I did a great job of that besides one time I kind of let him slip through and got a little greedy,” White said. “Obviously, he only had 11 receiving yards and he had probably been having way more than that before he played us. In the run game, making sure he didn’t get (any) tosses going, I think we did a great job with that.

“I’m fairly good (with how I’m playing). Obviously, I want to keep sharpening tools and get my hands on a couple (interceptions). I think that would kind of keep me trending in the right direction. So far, I’m thankful for what I’ve been able to display on the field.”

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