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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carryover Sparks Second Year Rise for RB Rachaad White 

Now playing in an offensive system similar to what he played in college at Arizona State, Rachaad White embraces the retooled scheme and vies to reinvigorate the ground attack

Rachaad White TC

"I love it trust me I do," Buccaneers running back Rachaad White posted via social media, fueled by the offseason doubters. Tampa Bay finished the 2022 season as the worst-ranked rushing output in the NFL, sparking ridicule from national media outlets. However, the Buccaneers have not only tuned out the external criticism but are using it as motivation to cultivate maturation on the gridiron. Second-year player, White, is vying to catapult himself forward with an expanded role in 2023. 

A retooled offense will take shape under the direction of Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales in 2023. He has installed a system similar to the one in Seattle, with an emphasis on blending the run and pass game. The system will incorporate wide-zone, mid-zone, and duo runs to stimulate play-action. The ground attack will be accentuated in 2023, complementing the skillset of White. In outside zone, the goal is to run outside of the defense, but if the opponent does not allow it, then the rusher will make a vertical cut. In mid-zone, the rusher will take a course either to the B- or C-gap, then has the ability to run inside, outside or cutback. In both the aforementioned schemes, the offensive line moves laterally to stretch the defense. In duo, the offensive linemen double team the linebackers across from them directly, aimed to put the play-side linebacker in conflict. 

"Honestly, I feel like this offensive system complements me a lot," White stated. "Obviously, we get the defense going lateral and tire them out. Our offensive line is a great fit for it [athletically] and our tight ends. Be patient, set things up, set the blockers up, backers at the second level up on the linemen and I get to hit it. It fits me well."

At Arizona State, White was the featured back in Zak Hill's zone-based scheme. However, he had experience in multiple blocking schemes including wide zone, mid-zone and power. With an explosive darting, slash run style, White is able to create on his own with vision and balance. White is a reliable pass-catcher with tracking skills and body control. Often, backs are utilized with a specified route arsenal including hitches and comebacks, but White is able to run an enhanced route tree that mimics a receiver's, keeping defenses off balance when he is in the lineup.

"It transitioned me very well, doing all of that (wide zone, mid zone, power) in college," White detailed. "I think the only thing we did not do was duo, the double. Obviously, the I-formations and things like that we did a lot, but I did everything else at Arizona State. I really like it. It is natural for me, and I just feel good. We have great guys in the room, and we always talk about what we want to do and what we want to get better at daily."

Last season, White accumulated 469 snaps (38.57%). White finished his rookie campaign with 481 yards on 129 rushes and a touchdown for an average of 3.7 yards per attempt. In the passing game, White contributed 290 yards on 50 receptions and two touchdowns. His improvement in pass protection on blitz pickups allowed him to stay on the field for all three downs. Throughout the offseason, White has focused on fundamentals in pass protection, with a focus on the initial strike at the point of attack to foster all-around growth. 

Against the Jets during the joint practice on Wednesday, White made an impression. During the first team period, guard Cody Mauch pancaked a Jets' defensive lineman and White made a quick cut and instantaneously accelerated north through the B-gap. During the second team period, the trend continued. White patiently let the blocks develop and burst through the A-gap when the hole opened, pushing back safety Tony Adams to gain additional yardage. The latter was a stellar display of physicality by the second-year running back and one that embodies his innate skillset. 

 "I have always been a big proponent of vision," White stated. "For me, you either have it or you don't. There are things for guys who don't have vision to help them out but for me and my running style, I have just been blessed with patience and how I run the ball. I have been fortunate to grind in the offseason and work on things like my burst and my explosiveness so that when I see it, I can just do it. Most dudes they get the ball, and they are going out of the gate. Me, I am blessed to have that certain amount of burst to where I can pause, but when I see it, I can explode through the hole. It has been great." 

In 2023, White will strive to rejuvenate the Bucs' rushing attack, spurred by skeptics.

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