Despite accolades, Tre'Davious White says he's played "terrible," vows to be better

October 18, 2017

By almost all measures, Bills rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White has had an outstanding start to his NFL career.  Despite playing one less game than most other players so far this season, White is tied for the NFL lead in pass breakups with eleven through five games.   He was already honored as the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Month in September.  But by his own admission, White had a rough game the last time he took the field.

The team’s first round pick this past draft was beaten several times early by AJ Green and the Cincinnati Bengals offense.  Three of the first six Bengals plays were passes to Green. He caught all of them, the last for a huge 77-yard touchdown with White trailing in coverage.  That gave the Bengals a 7-0 lead.  

White bounced back well, for the most part, making several plays to breakup Andy Dalton passes.  But later in the game, on the last play of the third quarter, the Dalton-to-Green connection got him again.  This time on a big third down and ten from near midfield with the Bills up by three points.  A stop on that play and the Bills are in excellent shape headed to the fourth quarter.  But Green made the catch for 47 yards and, on the very next play, Cincinnati scored a TD to take a lead they’d never give back.  

When reporters got to the Bills’ locker room after the game the rookie was nowhere to be found.  Some assumed he didn’t want to take accountability for his performance and left his teammates to answer for the loss.  Others thought he may have suffered an unknown injury.  But Wednesday, White explained why he left.  And he admitted something professional athletes rarely do.

“Man, I cried,” he said.  “It hurt so bad.

“That’s why I left the locker room.  I didn’t want you guys to see me like that.  I had to get up out of there.”

It’s often said the greatest attribute an NFL cornerback can have is a short memory.  That’s because it’s a mathematical certainty you’re going to get beat at some time, somewhere.  But when it happens, you have to get up, dust yourself off, and get on to the next play.  Forget about the one that just happened, or it will impact the next one.  White was able to do that in the short-term that day while he was still on the field.  But right after the game, and over the next week, he hard a hard time letting it go.

“I moved past it (during the game),” he said.  “You could notice it the way I played the rest of the game.  But I couldn’t get over it.  Because those two plays ultimately led to the two touchdowns they scored.  I have (a short memory), but at the end of the game that’s all I’ve got to think about.

“If I don’t give up that touchdown, we don’t lose.  It’s that simple.  I put that on myself.  And then on the long third down, we are up, and then I give up the long third down and that’s the end of the third quarter and the next play they score so that loss is basically on those two plays by me and that ate me up for the last week and a half.”

White took the bye week to do what coaches usually do for their offensive and defensive units.  He self-scouted himself.  He went back and looked at the things he’s done right and wrong so far this season.  And despite all the accolades, metrics, and statistics saying how well he’s playing, the LSU product was extremely harsh on himself.  

“It doesn’t matter what quarterback is in,” he said, “if I continue to do the things that I’ve been doing, I’m in for a long day, man….my play has been sucky.  It was terrible.

“Definitely from the last game, I sucked.  And then from the first four games I noticed some things that offenses are going to pick up on, so if I continue to do those things I’m in for a long day, a long season.  So I’ve got to do better, most definitely.”

But if there are two other traits White exudes, they’re competitiveness and confidence.  After all the frustration and self-scouting, he says he’s ready to not only face the challenges of what lies ahead, but made a vow about how he’ll play.

“I’m in for probably one of my best performances this weekend,” White said.  “I’ve got to bounce back.”

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