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In just his second full season as a starter on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense, Devin White has transformed into one of the best middle linebackers in all of football.
White racked up a team-high 140 total tackles, to go along with nine sacks, four passes defended, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery, and alongside fellow linebacker Lavonte David, White turned into the heart and soul of Todd Bowles’ defense.
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White, the former LSU product, was the only player in the NFL with at least 100 tackles and nine sacks and he believes the key in Super Bowl LV will be the defense that he anchors.
“For me, it clicked last year and more so over the summer,” said White, who was named a second-team Associated Press All-Pro in 2020. “We had a great defense last year. If you go look at the numbers — Top 5 defense, No. 1 rushing defense, the secondary was extremely young, I was young myself. I talked to Coach BA [Bruce Arians], talked to Todd Bowles and I said, ‘If we can get this defense back, we’re going to be the reason why we win it all next year.’
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“And that was just my mindset going into the season. Even before we acquired Tom Brady, it was like, whatever we have to do we’re going to be the reason that we get over the hump, get into the playoffs and make a run and get to the Super Bowl.”
After missing the Buccaneers’ first postseason game against the Washington Football Team, White was a man on a mission in the team’s next two games against the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.
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White came away with 26 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, and one pass defended in two playoff games.
His interception against the Saints in the fourth quarter set up the game-clinching touchdown in a 30-20 victory, and he had 15 tackles against the Packers, which turned out to be the most of any Buccaneers defender in a postseason game.
The Bucs’ defense finished the 2020 season sixth in yards allowed, eighth in points allowed, first in rushing yards allowed, and seventh in sacks per pass play. And if they manage to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense in the Super Bowl, Tampa Bay will have a great shot at taking home its second Lombardi Trophy.
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“Especially when we knew Super Bowl LV was in our home stadium, that was always the goal, take care of our backyard, defend our backyard,” White said via Buccaneers.com. “We brought everybody back that was here last year that made an impact on the team. If you go watch the playoffs, you go watch a lot of games, you tell me what the defense was doing, and you tell me if the defense is one of the main reasons why we’re playing in Super Bowl LV.”
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