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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rachaad White Focused on Sharpening Tools in Expanded Role 

Entering year two in the NFL, running back Rachaad White is taking a comprehensive approach to growth

Year 2 White minicamp

The "second-year leap" is a cliché phrase that has become synonymous with players in the NFL as they enter year two in the league. For Buccaneers' running back Rachaad White, the aforementioned phrase is highly plausible. White will have an expanded role in 2023, as Dave Canales takes the reins in Tampa Bay. The club's new offensive coordinator has brought a new system to the Sunshine State, one with an emphasis on marrying the run and pass game. 

The scheme is expected to have an uptick in wide-zone runs, mid-zone, misdirection and scrambles/bootlegs. White could serve as one of the main beneficiaries. The goal of the implemented system is to create multiple looks from the same concepts – simple in concept and complex in delivery – to keep defenses guessing down the stretch of the 2023 slate. The run game will be accentuated come fall, complementing the running back room featuring White as the workhorse, along with offseason acquisition Chase Edmonds and fourth-year player Ke'Shawn Vaughn.

Last season, White tallied 469 snaps (38.57%). He 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 development in pass protection on blitz pickups allowed him to stay on the field for all three downs. Going up against Todd Bowles' attack-styled defense in practice daily that consistently sends safeties and linebackers on stunts/blitzes, accelerated the learning process for White and fostered progress. The Bucs finished last in the league in rushing offense in 2022, averaging 76.9 yards per game on the ground (franchise worst). Falling behind dictated the tempo of games for Tampa Bay last season, forcing the club to become one-dimensional. Canales will aim to rejuvinate the Bucs' ground attack in 2023 and White's slash-running style is the perfect fit for the retooled system. White is a natural runner when he gets to the open field and will become the focal point on edge runs with burst getting north.  

 "I know I evaluated Rachaad [White] coming out and I really liked him a lot," said Running Backs coach Skip Peete. "I think he's a very talented inside runner – a guy who has good vision and balance, has the ability to create on his own. I think he's really an underrated pass receiver coming out of the backfield." 

White is patient in reading block development and possesses inside/outside versatility. With good balance, body control and pass-catching skills out of the backfield, White showed the ability in 2022 to be a featured fixture in the Bucs' ground assault. He can stack cuts and fluidly transitions from reactive to acceleration mode. This upcoming season, White is focused on refining his craft daily. 

"[I am focused on] getting better every day, getting my plays down so I can play fast," White described. "At the end of the day, it is a team game. I am focused on me and doing my job and it all comes down to my work out there, getting better footwork, getting stronger and learning in the meeting room on how to be better. Obviously, going up against this defense gives you different looks to sharpen up your tools." 

White is emphasizing the ascension process as opposed to individual accolades. Behind the podium on Wednesday, White mentioned the last Buccaneer running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing marker: Doug Martin (2015). Emboldened by that reminder, White is stressing fundamentals in order to become a well-rounded back. Then, the milestones will follow suit. 

"If I just keep doing my job, all of that will take care of itself," said White. 

A new chapter begins on the gridiron come fall, and White is striving to cement his role in the upper echelon.

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