With the entirety of the new look Bills secondary playing well through two games, it only made sense that Vance Joseph and Trevor Siemian would go after Tre’Davious White and see what the rookie corner was made of. Initially, this plan bore fruit, with Denver taking advantage of White’s youth and aggressiveness for some big plays. A lot of rookies would succumb to frustration or lose confidence with a start like the one White had on Sunday, but not the 27th overall pick out of LSU. You have to hand it to White, he hung in, battled, and ultimately emerged victorious against some top-tier NFL receivers, adding his first career INT to boot. Read on a for a deep dive into the big plays from White’s day.
Are You Kidding!? – 3rd& 8, Den 41, 2:53 1st Q, 0-0
The Defensive Pass Interference call on White in the 1st quarter was an outrage. White got an excellent jam on Demaryius Thomas at the line, and was still able to make a play on the ball to knock it away, well within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. It’s worth noting the flag was thrown by the back judge, who didn’t have a great look at the play.
Double Take – 1st & 10, Den 32, 9:14 1st Q, 0-0
This was a good play call by Mike McCoy. White had flown up twice to stop short passes and was clearly jacked up and aggressive early in the game. Denver calls the double move, White tries to jump it and make a play, and the wily vet Sanders absolutely turns him inside out for a 29 yard gain. Poyer recognizes it a split second too late and can’t quite get over to help. At this point, it seemed like White could be in for a long day.
What’s the Catch? – 3rd & 5, Den 10, 5:26 2nd Q, 10-7 Broncos
Oddly, this was both a good play and a bad play for White. Before the ball is even snapped, White seemed to be confused, running over to Micah Hyde, trying to get his assignment down. Whatever was said, it didn’t help. Neither Hyde nor White gets enough depth to stay with the streaking Sanders, and Siemian connected for a big gain. Seeing as he and Sanders were both to the outside, chances are he was White’s responsibility. To his credit, White hustled and punched the ball out, causing the NFL’s consistently inconsistent officiating to rule it wasn’t a catch. Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier have to like that kind of hustle, if not the reason it was needed.
Hey Rookie! – 1st & 10, Den 25, 2:51 2nd Q, 10-10
White’s worst play of the game probably came in the final minutes of the first half. On first down, he tried to come up aggressively on a run fake, Siemian did a nice job of seeing it, throwing for 20 yards over White’s head and in front of Micah Hyde. White’s willingness to play up in the run game is great, but it’s tough to think that other teams (ahem, Falcons) won’t try to exploit White’s aggressiveness now that they’ve seen it on tape.
Tip o’ The Cap – 3rd & 3, Buf 37, 1:32 2nd Q, 10-10 Broncos
White was beaten by Thomas for a 1st down on the 2nd quarter drive that ultimately put Denver up 13-10, but White played him about as well as you can, getting a strong jam at the line and staying in his hip pocket. Just superb body control by Thomas.
Slugging it Out – Broncos final drive of the 3rd Quarter
In the 3rd quarter, Siemian was looking for Sanders first on nearly every throw, and White answered the bell time and again, knocking balls away and stopping Sanders short of the sticks on 3rd down. Commentator Adam Archuleta pointed out that White is at his best when he can press a receiver, and he is dead on. The pick may have come later, but the last drive of the 3rd quarter was White’s best, showing he can consistently win one-on-one battles with one of the NFL’s best receivers. The lapses in communication and assignment will (hopefully) fade with experience, but the Bills have to be thrilled with the pure ball skills and aggressiveness White brings to the field.
Keep That Football! – 1st & 10, Buf 37, 10:54 4th Q, 23-16 Bills
Maybe this is something he/they noticed in game, but Siemian was a little lackadaisical when throwing the ball away while rolling to his right. On a 3rd down before the FG to go up 13-10 in the 2nd quarter, Siemian threw away to his right and White caught it just out of bounds. Then, early in the 4th quarter with the Broncos driving, as if to remind us that football really can be a game of inches, Siemian made a similar throwaway. This time, White came down with it for his first NFL pick. Who knows what Trevor Siemian thought he saw here (under heavy and direct pressure from Eddie Yarbrough), but White flows with him and makes the easy pick, essentially sealing the game, and putting the cherry on top of a resurgent performance after a rough start.
It’s important to remember that White is a rookie with just three NFL starts under his belt, and at times he’s going to look like one. That said, his ball skills and aggressiveness are impressive, and show why the Bills were comfortable trading back to take him at 27th overall. Most importantly, White showed excellent mental toughness in shaking off a rocky start, dominating Emmanuel Sanders on a crucial 3rd quarter series, and making a game saving interception. There’s no time for White to rest on his laurels, though, as he figures to see a healthy dose of Julio Jones in Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sunday.
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