Expect new pass rush combinations the second half of the season
Third overall pick Gerald McCoy has yet to record his first NFL sack at the midway point in the season and the Bucs are on pace to finish with one of the lowest sack totals in NFL history.
Tampa Bay has just six sacks this season, failing to register a quarterback takedown in five of their eight games. The worst ever was the 2008 Kansas City Chiefs, who finished with 10 sacks.
So starting Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, the Bucs plan to use some new rush combinations that will include McCoy with Quincy Black, Dekota Watson and perhaps newcomers such as defensive end Alex Magee and defensive tackle Al Woods.
"You're going to see a little different lineup again this week, some third down stuff,'' defensive line coach Todd Wash said. "Getting some guys in there that haven't really played but have showed a good pass rush but maybe they don't have a great feel for the whole package. Let's just do what you do and let's in the backfield and disrupt.
"You'd like to keep a cohesive group, but we haven't been able to do that because we haven't been productive across the board. We'd like to find a group that will work together. They are in there. We met again this morning. We meet every morning on protections and games and all that kind of stuff. They've got the will, they've just got to get there.''
McCoy has drawn the biggest percentage of double-teams among the defensive front four this season. So Wash said the Bucs will try to move him around more in rush packages.
"We're going to do some more things to give him some freedom,'' Wash said. "Maybe it's not exactly, I wouldn't say sound, or worrying about a quarterback scramble. We're going to make sure he can get where he needs to get to rather than slow him down in the system. What happens is, if he's in the three-technique, the center slides to him. In the odd front, he had two knockdowns.
"In our Redskins (package), Quincy and him and Stylez (White) and Michael Bennett showed up. We just can't put (McCoy) in one spot and expect them not to find him.''
McCoy has improved steadily and had a couple quarterback knockdowns last week at Altanta. He said Wednesday he expects a better second half.
"I was kind of feeling it out in the beginning, then I"ve started to come into my own the past three games,'' McCoy said. "Now I know what to expect the second half. I've played each conference team once and now I get a whole another eight games and I can change a lot of things. Like I said, I know what to expect so I don't have to do as much feeling it out anymore.
"From each team, you know what each guy is bringing. The thing about that is, some guys could get better as the season goes on, some guys could go down as the season goes on. But you know what those guys were when they were fresh.''