Bucs’ Rachaad White ready for a bigger role, Byron Leftwich says

The offensive coordinator says he didn’t think the rookie running back was ready for extended snaps until the win in Germany.
Published Nov. 24, 2022|Updated Nov. 26, 2022

TAMPA — Rachaad White had exciting skills but not the experience he needed to play a complete NFL game when he joined the Bucs as a rookie this season, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said Thursday.

But the Bucs finally turned the former Arizona State running back loose against the Seahawks on Nov. 13 in Germany, and he responded with the best game of his career, 105 yards on 22 carries.

More important, White played 48 snaps, or 68% of the Bucs’ chances on offense. Before that, the most offensive snaps White had played was 43% in a loss at Carolina.

“I think it was excellent to see him go out there and play an extended amount of snaps,” Leftwich said. “I don’t know if he was ready for that many earlier. We saw the gifts that he had early but … we’re here with him every day, so we knew we had to get him to the point he could handle that type of load. He’s there now.

“So it was good to see him go out and play and show the skill set that he’s got, show the skill set that we like.”

With Leonard Fournette limited in practice with a hip injury, White would figure to be a big part of the game plan at Cleveland on Sunday.

The Bucs are coming off their most complete game as an offense, having rushed a season-high 44 times for 161 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks.

What was the difference?

“I just think we got time on things we needed to work on, and I think the group is getting better,” Leftwich said. “Sometimes it takes time, especially when it’s in season.

“We’re getting some kind of camaraderie, so we’ll see.”

• • •

Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.