After starting the season off better than anyone could have hoped for, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face their biggest test yet on Monday night.
Beating the Vikings and Bears has captured the curiosity of national pundits who buried the Bucs in preseason predictions, but a win over the Eagles will demand attention. Philly comes into Tampa Bay as one of the most complete teams in the league, boasting a top offense and an even better defense through the first two weeks.
The Bucs have their work cut out, but this isn't a team that will be easily shaken. The first two wins of the season featured some gutsy performances, which is something the team will need to see again from a few key players.
4 players who need to step up for Buccaneers in Week 3
Devin White, LB
Everyone on the Bucs defense is going to need to step up to stop the weapons that Philly has, but Devin White truly has his work cut out for him on Monday night.
White seems to be beyond the waves he made this offseason when he requested trade, but the fact still remains that he's playing this year without a contract for next season. He wants to get paid, but he needs to put together a strong case for himself in order to get to the number he wants to see -- something close to if not above $100 million.
Right now it's been a 50/50 start to the year for White. He was all over the field in Week 1, wrecking plays and disrupting the Vikings offense. He led the team in tackles, turning in 12 total tackles and six all on his own. A week later, against a much worse team, White pretty much disappeared from the stat sheet. He recorded just two tackles in the win over Chicago but he served a very valuable role in spying Justin Fields.
That's a role he'll likely repeat on Monday night with Jalen Hurts which means White has a chance to shine under the bright lights of Monday Night Football while stopping an MVP-caliber player. He'll also once again factor heavily into helping stop the run and try to force the Eagles to be one-dimensional.
Fields was mostly contained last week, although he did scramble for a touchdown in the first quarter. The Eagles run game is one of the best in the league and will be a handful for the Bucs defense, but Hurts is the wild card that White will have to account for. If the Bucs can keep Hurts in the pocket and limit the damage he does with his legs, it will go a long way in slowing down the Eagles offense.
White could help lead that charge, and in the process add a massive feather to his cap that he can point to when asking for the big contract he seeks.