For the first time in his three-year career, cornerback Tre’Davious White was selected to the NFL’s Pro Bowl. He was the only Bills player picked for the game, though nine others were named alternates. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and returner Andre Roberts were selected as first alternates, center Mitch Morse as a second, quarterback Josh Allen as a third, defensive end Jerry Hughes, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, wide receiver John Brown, and running back Frank Gore as fourths, and safety Jordan Poyer as a fifth.
Head Coach Sean McDermott was asked last Monday about White’s success, a theme that’s been true since his rookie year but just now is catching the attention of the national media and other teams’ fans in general. “Yeah, that’s good. Our guys work hard and we don’t probably overall get some of the coverage that some people want,” answered McDermott, with words that apply to his other players, too. “It’s nice that the guys get recognized because they put in a lot of work, some seen and some quite a bit unseen. When you have the right habits, it’s nice to see these guys get recognized for their hard work, and it’s paying off.”
#Shoutout: Tre'Davious White has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) December 18, 2019
He's the first Bill to win the DPOTW award twice in a season since Mario Williams in 2013. pic.twitter.com/BZTpqKFt6P
Buffalo has the number three-ranked defense in the league because of a nice mix of talent, youth, experience, schemes, and especially a great chemistry between those players. They play team football, and it shows on tape. White has been a centerpiece of this team, though, shadowing opponents’ best receivers weekly and doing an amazing job. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s been targeted 81 times this season, allowing just 44 receptions for 532 yards (12.1 avg). He’s been holding opposing QBs to an average of a 43.9 NFL QB rating, has seven passes defended, six interceptions, and didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage. He just won an AFC defensive player of the week award after his two-INT performance against the Steelers on Sunday night, and his overall numbers are easily comparable to defensive player of the year front-runner Stephon Gilmore.
Stephon Gilmore & Tre'Davious White have been in their own league in terms of not allowing a TD given their target volume.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 17, 2019
They are the only two players in the NFL to be targeted 50+ times as the nearest defender and not allow a TD.#BUFvsNE | #GoPats | #GoBills pic.twitter.com/7tJI6kexeS
White is still just 24, and his arrow continues to trend up as the season goes on. One notable improvement in his game is the uptick in creating turnovers, and especially interceptions. It’s not happening by default, though. “He has worked so hard this season and going back to the spring as well, on taking the football away. It was one of his goals coming into the season, worked extremely hard on it during the preseason and in the spring, but he’s carried that over throughout the season. Every single day he’s staying after work, doing ball drills, doing a little bit, some extra things that are necessary to develop your ball skills. So, to see the fruits of his labor, it’s just great to see,” said Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier, a former defensive back himself, who’s worked with White since his rookie season. “So, he’s just come so far when it comes to catching the football and just very proud of what he’s accomplished and what he’s doing with the work he’s put in. But a lot of it comes from his willingness to put the time in. He’s always had the talent to be able to do it, but he’s put [in] that extra time and it’s paying dividends.”
When you have a guy holding the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. to three catches for 27 yards on 10 targets, and Amari Cooper to three catches for 37 yards on six targets, both without a TD, you can be sure you have a Pro Bowler on your hands. White has been worth a Pro Bowl selection since his first year. He finally got it, and an All Pro selection at the end of the year wouldn’t surprise anyone who has watched all of his games in 2019.