Rachaad White posts Instagram message that should scare the rest of the NFL

ESPN doesn’t expect much out of the Bucs run game, and Rachaad White is using it to put everyone on notice.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pittsburgh Steelers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

We’re only a handful of Sundays away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing meaningful football. It’ll be cathartic in more than one way, as the Bucs returning to the field will also provide the first opportunity to prove all of the offseason doubters wrong.

It’s a long list to get to.

Nobody has been safe from the weird obsession the national media took with the Bucs in the wake of Tom Brady’s retirement. Baker Mayfield and Todd Bowles have bore the brunt, but even guys like second-year running back Rachaad White have found themselves getting dragged into things.

The Bucs are an easy target, and low hanging fruit is tasty when offseason topics are sparse. White is assuming RB1 duties after the Bucs moved on from Leonard Fournette, and he heads up a unit that is coming off a season where it ranked dead last in the league.

So it’s not hard to see why the Bucs are such easy targets.

That doesn’t mean anyone inside of the building is taking it lying down. In fact, the anti-Bucs narrative has created a chip on the shoulder of everyone in the locker room and the fire keeps getting fueled with free firewood.

Rachaad White claps back at ESPN over running back rankings

ESPN put together its preseason running back rankings, and assigned superlatives to two specific teams as part of the project. The San Francisco 49ers were dubbed the best unit while the Bucs — unsurprisingly — were labeled the shakiest.

Honestly, for as badly as the team has been spoken about all offseason long, ‘shaky’ feels like accidental praise.

Someone dogging on the Bucs isn’t anything notable. What is notable is Rachaad White taking notice and using it as more fuel for the fire raging in his belly.

Given how bad the Bucs were in the run game last season, it’s not a stretch to give them this sort of prediction. But the team went to intelligent lengths to try and improve the unit, starting with the hiring of Dave Canales as offensive coordinator and Skip Pete as running backs coach.

Canales comes from a run-heavy system in Seattle where the Seahawks collected running backs like rare coins and deployed them with high impact. The same can be said for Peete, who came over from the Dallas Cowboys where he turned Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard into one of the league’s best duos.

That’s who is working with White as he takes the biggest step of his career. He showed flashes as a rookie last year but could only do so much in the system he was in. Now that he has two running back maestros coaching him up, receipts like the ESPN ranking might end up coming back sooner rather than later.