Life in the NFL can be rough for a rookie cornerback. Teams are throwing the ball now more than ever before in the history of the league. For rookies like the Buffalo Bills’ Tre’Davious White, the learning curve can vary greatly from week to week as they try and grasp the complexities of containing the league’s high-octane offenses.
The general consensus across the league has been overwhelmingly positive regarding White’s play. Through the Bills (3-2) first five games, Pro Football Focus listed White as the No. 2 rated rookie. When opposing quarterbacks target White, he has responded, ranking 34th out of 115 qualified cornerbacks with quarterbacks compiling a 77.0 passer rating when they challenge White.
White is in a class by himself as the only player in NFL history to amass 11 pass breakups through five games. But despite the overall positive reviews from across the league, there is one player who is not satisfied with White’s play: Tre’Davious White himself.
During an interview with WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio, White, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for September, said there is plenty of room to improve his on-field play.
“If I continue to do the things that I’ve been doing, I’m in for a long day, man….my play has been sucky. It was terrible,” White said. “Definitely from the last game, I sucked. And then from the first four games I noticed some things that offenses are going to pick up on, so if I continue to do those things I’m in for a long day, a long season. So I’ve got to do better, most definitely.”
Coming off the bye, the Bills are preparing to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 p.m. Sunday at New Era Field. Jameis Winston is dealing with a sprained AC joint suffered during a loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but Winston is expected to play Sunday.
Winston has one of the league’s most dangerous wide receivers at his disposal in Mike Evans, who has caught 27 passes for 371 yards with three touchdowns. Tampa Bay also features DeSean Jackson (17 catches, 287 yards, two TDs), Cameron Brate (21 catches, 281 yards, four TDs), and Adam Humphries (23 catches, 258 yards).
For White, the matchup with the Buccaneers couldn’t come fast enough following Buffalo’s 20-16 setback to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. White had a humbling performance against star wide receiver A.J. Green. Green finished with seven catches for 189 yards and a touchdown, with White allowing Green to haul in three passes for 131 yards, including a wide-open, 77-yard touchdown strike on Cincinnati’s second drive of the game.
Green also burned White for a 47-yard reception late in the third quarter that set up the go-ahead touchdown. But while White was picked on twice by Andy Dalton on long pass plays for Green, who is considered one of the best receivers in the NFL, White also showed his resiliency.
The rookie, selected 27th overall out of LSU, rebounded from the two long gainers to Green. He broke up three passes, giving him 11 in five games, and White allowed Green to catch only one more pass among the eight times Dalton threw the ball Green’s way with White in coverage.
“I moved past it (during the game),” he said. “You could notice it the way I played the rest of the game. But I couldn’t get over it. Because those two plays ultimately led to the two touchdowns they scored. I have (a short memory), but at the end of the game that’s all I’ve got to think about.
“If I don’t give up that touchdown, we don’t lose. It’s that simple. I put that on myself. And then on the long third down, we are up, and then I give up the long third down and that’s the end of the third quarter and the next play they score so that loss is basically on those two plays by me and that ate me up for the last week and a half.”