No disrespect to Tom Brady, but young Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White desires the Buccaneers defense on the field with the video game on the line.
That’s how much self-confidence the second-year pro has in himself and a band of ball-hawking teammates who’ve assisted the Bucs (13 -5) reach Sunday’s NFC championship game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
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No player in NFL history has more playoff wins or Super Bowl rings than the 43- year-old Brady, who’s getting ready for his 14 th conference title game– first in the NFC– after White and “my men” required four turnovers to close down Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in recently’s divisional round.
White, returning from remaining the regular-season ending and Tampa Bay’s wild-card win over Washington after evaluating favorable for the coronavirus, connected a franchise record with 11 deals with in his playoff debut.
He likewise scooped up a fumble and had an interception, establishing a set of goals that ensured the Bucs wouldn’t need any late heroics from Brady.
” Everything that occurred in the game was just me playing in the system, everybody playing together, everybody being on the very same page, everybody thinking in one another,” the fifth total choice in the 2019 draft said. “Everything we did together. There’s no specific credit.”
Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting had one of Tampa Bay’s three interceptions of Brees. He tipped his to his draft schoolmate anyway.
” Devin is a baller. He’s felt in one’s bones for making plays,” Murphy-Bunting stated. “He was the energy bug out there, which type of energy is contagious. It runs through our whole defense and it goes through our entire team.”
To beat Green Bay (14 -3) at Lambeau Field and advance to the Super Bowl, it’ll take another superb efficiency from a defense that until last Sunday frankly had not played a dominant game considering that it sacked Rodgers four times and intercepted him two times in a 38-10 rout of the Packers in Week 6.
” Everyone was saying: ‘Where’s the Tampa Bay defense from the Green Bay game?’ We were actually feisty with them, we were actually challenging them at the line of scrimmage and we were actually getting after the quarterback,” White stated. “I think we had that same mentality (against New Orleans).”
The 22- year-old linebacker raised some eyebrows in Green Bay after the October meeting when– in explaining how Tampa Bay recovered from a slow start to control after trailing 10 -0 early– White stated “we understood those guys didn’t should have to be on the very same field with us since we’ve got excessive skill.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur stated the comment doesn’t provide his players any extra inspiration for Sunday.
” We’re talking about the NFC national championship with a chance to go to the Super Bowl. I think that’s enough motivation right there,” LeFleur stated before shifting equipments.
” You understand, hey, he was right. They whipped us. There’s no sense in discussing it. The only thing you can do is you have actually got to prepare the best you can and after that go prove it” the Green Bay coach included. “He’s entitled to state what he wants to state, but we ultimately got to be the ones to rally around, make certain we have a great week of preparation and head out there and put our best stuff out on the field.”
That’s what White plans to do, too.
The Bucs led the NFL in rushing defense for the second straight season, but have been susceptible against the pass with a young secondary that’s fought injuries and growing pains.
White stated it is essential to develop off last week, when takeaways set Brady up for touchdown drives of 3, 40 and 20 backyards.
” The job’s still not complete. It was not all about just beating the Saints, it was always about getting to a bigger objective,” the linebacker said. “Tom preached that, and Tom’s a winner. I’m delighted to be playing under his leadership.”
Before heading to New Orleans, which had beaten Tampa Bay two times throughout the regular season by a combined rating of 72-26, coach Bruce Arians told anyone who would listen that the Bucs were a much better team than the one that lost to the Saints 38 -3 in Week 9.
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That loss began a stretch in which the Bucs dropped 3 of 4. They’ll take a six-game winning streak to Lambeau Field.
” We had to look ourselves in the mirror. We had to challenge ourselves on who we wished to be. Everybody always asked what was our identity. We didn’t have a response,” White stated.
” But coach B.A. had an answer. He stated we’re some (curse) who are going to find a method to win the game. That was the best thing I ever heard. … When he said that, it kind of clicked,” White added. “In this league, the only thing that matters is winning. With him saying that, I think that did it for everybody.”