McCoy and Price show promise; McCoy predicts 'trouble'
Based solely on numbers, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard had a decent game against the Bucs on Saturday.
But the truth isn't revealed by numbers alone. Those 211 yards on 24-of-31 passing came at a steep price for the Jaguars starter.
Garrard was pummeled by the interior of the Bucs’ defensive line, specifically the rookie tandem of tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. It was a performance the Bucs hope is a foreshadowing of things to come from a duo they drafted with hopes that they’d do exactly this.
Price decked Garrard twice and McCoy once, but Garrard managed to get the ball away just prior to the hit in each case. There were several other instances in which the two tackles applied pressure and forced Garrard to deliver the ball prematurely.
The Bucs didn’t manage a sack, which is never considered acceptable, but the presence shown by the interior linemen was something not seen Tampa Bay for years.
"(Coaches) told me I needed to make the quarterback uncomfortable and that the quarterback needs to feel us," said McCoy, the team’s first-round pick. "So I made sure I stayed in his face all night."
It was McCoy’s best performance of the preseason, after running into a series of double teams during the previous two contests.
"You keep pushing," he said. "Every week, starting in Miami, I’ve been closer and closer. This week, I just kept hitting the quarterback and getting back there. My goal is, if I build every week, eventually, there’s going to be some trouble."
Price debuted in the previous game against Kansas City but was clearly out of shape after missing extensive practice time with a hamstring injury. On Saturday, he had his legs back, in some cases splitting double teams.
"Our mindset is to get in there and wreak havoc," he said. "Every time we’re in there together (Price and McCoy), that’s our goal. It’s time to get after it."
The Bucs have just three sacks this preseason and were lacking in that regard in 2009. Without question, that has to change -- fast. But pressure can have an effect even when the quarterback doesn’t go down.
"We’ve got to get the sacks," defensive end Kyle Moore said. "Garrard did a real good job of getting rid of it right before we got there. But, of course, he did throw one of those for a pick."
Garrard’s hurried throw in the second quarter with Moore in his face resulted in a Barrett Ruud interception and 80-yard return.