After notching a signature win on Sunday over the Packers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the best position they've been all season.
Not even the 3-1 start the team got off to is as sweet as how things feel amid a three-game winning streak that has the team firmly in control of a playoff spot. The Bucs tightened their grip on the No. 4 seed and continue to sit atop the NFC South with just three games left on the schedule.
It feels good to be sitting here on a Sunday night reveling in a decisive victory, but that's not the only narrative that dominated the day.
Ahead of kickoff, the Buccaneers decided to scratch Devin White, who appeared to be healthy after practicing all week. NFL Network reported that it was not injury-related, which sent up the antennas of Bucs fans all over who know all too well the drama that has followed him throughout the season.
It was the perfect storm for speculation, as White has missed the last two games -- which the Bucs won -- and hasn't played anywhere close to earning the $100 million he sought this offseason. White requested, then rescinded, a trade in April and fans have been critical of his performance all season long.
That was the backdrop against which his inactive status was overlayed, but it turns out that things might have been a little more overblown than they initially appeared.
Todd Bowles explains why Devin White was inactive vs. Packers
After the win, one of the things Bowles addressed was the absence of White and what led to him being ruled inactive before the game. While it was initially reported that the decision wasn't injury-related, Bowles contradicted that and said that White's foot not being healthy enough led to him missing the game.
Furthermore, it sounds like White was the one that helped make the call.
Bowles loves White like a son, and this isn't the first time he's stuck up for a defensive player who is under intense scrutiny from fans and the media.
That being said, Bowles didn't necessarily defend White, and seemed to imply some disappointment in him not being able to play.
White was on the injury report all week with a foot injury, but carried a 'questionable' designation into Sunday. Unlike last week's game in Atlanta, he traveled with the team to Green Bay and looked like he was making strides toward playing.
That's what made him being ruled inactive so strange, in addition to reports that the decision wasn't injury related. It turns out that was the case, but the optics still aren't great.
Tampa Bay has won three straight games without White, and K.J. Britt has stepped up in big ways to fill his shoes. When he's on his game, White is one of the best linebackers in football but it's been a while since that's been the case. Stretches like this, and the visceral reaction from fans, seems to indicate the end might be nigh for White with the Bucs.