Former Buccaneers standout wrong in recent criticism of team

Jordan Whitehead, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jordan Whitehead, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Everyone knew that there was more going on behind the scenes with Jordan Whitehead and his departure from the Buccaneers, but this doesn’t make sense.

Jordan Whitehead’s departure is going to hurt the Buccaneers. What he brought to the team on a weekly basis on the field was nothing to underscore in its importance in a Todd Bowles-led defense, and Tampa not even offering an extension to the free agent safety makes little sense.

Still, the Bucs were happy in what they had at the safety position, so making this difficult decision was what they saw as best.

Whitehead ended up getting a new chance and a good spot with the Jets, and he now has the freedom to speak out against his former team. The comments from Whitehead in this article from Mike Kaye of Pro Football Network don’t paint the right picture for the situation as it actually transpired.

Whitehead speaks about being unhappy with reps, yet he played 88% of the snaps during each game on average in 2021. There were four instances during the season where Whitehead played 100% of the defensive snaps and only one instance where he played less than 70%.

The total reps argument doesn’t hold up.

Whitehead then went on to say that he wasn’t happy coming off the field on third downs.

The former strong safety for the Bucs was better in coverage than he gets credit for, but his reason for coming off the field in those instances had nothing to do with his abilities against the pass. Tampa needed to get reps for Mike Edwards at some point based on his level of play, so playing him or a corner on third downs and Whitehead on first and second was the best way to maximize strengths of both players (Whitehead still stayed on way longer).

Whitehead is a small and faster linebacker. Edwards is one of the best ball-hawks in the league. Again, this had nothing to do with the Bucs thinking anything less of Whitehead. All Todd Bowles and company wanted to do was maximize talents and find a way to get reps for three great safeties.

This is a silly gripe for Whitehead to have with the Buccaneers. He’s going to get a mountain of reps with the Jets, but is he going to have words for the staff every time he plays less than 100% of the defensive snaps?

That doesn’t seem like a great precedent to set.

We get that Jordan Whitehead is a supreme competitor and only wants the chance to show that, much like he did when he proved himself to be one of the best defensive players on the roster during the playoffs last year, but this isn’t the right way to go about this process.

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