June 6, 2024   4 MIN READ

Do Over

LB White Eyes Reset With Birds


PHILADELPHIA – When Saquon Barkley, running a wheel route, darted up the left sideline during an unseasonably warm May OTA practice, a double-take was warranted.

Running step-for-step with the superstar running back was linebacker Devin White, seemingly glued to Barkley’s hip pocket as the downfield heave ultimately fell incomplete.

When it comes to forecasting the success of a revamped Eagles defense, the discussion usually centers on the addition a White, a polarizing free-agent signing, and if he can consistently make the kind of impact that he did on that Barkley route.

White, the No. 5 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019, eyes a career resurgence with the Eagles on the heels of signing a one-year, prove-it deal in March.

Devin White

ITB PHOTO: Eagles LB Devin White is hoping to rescue his once-All Pro career in Philly.

While his career in Tampa ultimately reached a stalemate late last season in what White deemed to be a humbling experience, the former LSU standout didn’t necessarily believe a change of scenery was necessary for a successful reboot.

“I don’t know if I needed a change of scenery, but I feel like it was definitely good,” White admitted Wednesday after the Eagles’ second mandatory minicamp practice. “Breath of fresh air, to be able to start over and be able to work my way from the ground up.”

The new face of the defense’s oft-scrutinized linebacking corps, White will have an opportunity to evolve and grow under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, a gritty, hard-nosed and demanding veteran defensive mind.

The acclimation period has been a stark contrast to what White had grown accustomed to in Tampa Bay – gradually learning specific schematic aspects and mastering before moving forward.

With his new coordinator adopting a less-moderate approach in implementing his defense, White has adjusted accordingly, studying more away from the facility and meeting with coaches during his spare time at a higher frequency.

By all accounts, the uber-athletic linebacker has hit the ground running.

“So far, I’ve got a great impression,” White said. “[Vic’s] throwing a lot at us right now. So, just him being a complicated guy with his scheme. Just be expansion. I think he’s doing a great job and mixing it up, adding new things and keeping it coming.”

Athleticism and playmaking were never issues for White.

It was more his rogue tendencies and unrestrained play that directly contributed to him exhausting his opportunities in Tampa.

Under Fangio, accountability and reliability will be hallmarks. White must play within the confines of his defense for the fit to work.

But while many of Fangio’s elements require meticulous schooling, White managed to draw similarities to what he was tasked with in Tampa.

“I think it’s the same thing as far as calling the plays,” White said. “When we go dime, being the lonesome linebacker out there and making the checks still. Playing a lot of similar coverages. Kind of just doing similar things. He’s putting in more packages now, as far as blitzing linebackers, blitzing this person.

“So, at the end of the day, I think football is just football. You just gotta learn new words. At the end of the day Cover 3 is Cover 3, Cover 9 is Cover 9. But Vic might call it one thing that I’m not used to hearing, but I gotta learn his way.”

The crash-course into Fangio’s world represents a fresh start for White, who so far has rekindled some flashes of the intrigue and enticement that once rubber-stamped the LSU product as a blue-chip prospect.

The true test begins in July, when the Eagles reconvene for training camp, but for now, White has adapted without much of a noticeable hitch.

He’s also maximized the OTA and minicamp sessions to forge a connection with teammates and lay the groundwork for what could be accomplished.

“It’s been very fun,” White said. “Just coming in and gaining those guys’ trust that’s been here. And obviously, the new guys as well. Playing with a lot of dogs, you know, a lot of highly touted players that’s coming out of college or that have been in the league.

“You got the young guys, you got the older guys, like [Darius] Slay, a couple of those guys who has been doing it a long time. I think it’s the mixture of both worlds, all over the field.

“Just having that young leadership, that older leadership and the middle leadership, I feel like we could be special together. I think that’s been the carryover into OTAs and minicamp, is just having fun. And having an identity and a swagger about ourselves.”

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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