McCoy: Pass rush needs to be better
As much money as the Bucs invested in their secondary in the offseason, they were still relying on their defensive front to apply the pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
And lately, Tampa Bay hasn't done enough.
After racking up 12 sacks in the first three games, the Bucs have just two in the last three, including none in Sunday's loss to the Falcons. Just six of the 14 sacks have come from defensive linemen.
"We've got to get much better, collectively, as a group," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "You see sprinkles here and there, but as a unit, we need to be better."
Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan says it starts with the individual defensive linemen being more productive. Sheridan said he can also, strategically, call for more five, six-man pressures on first and second downs.
That lack of pressure played a big role in the Bucs 31-23 loss to Atlanta.
"There's no doubt, our conventional four-man rush wasn't effective enough," Sheridan said. "Their offense did a quality job, there was additional blockers, tight ends and backs did a good job of chipping. But bottom line is we didn't affect teh guy enough and obviously it was a major factor in the game."
McCoy said he takes it upon himself to make something happen this week, and knows it'll be a unique challenge against the athletic Panthers QB Cam Newton.
"I think he's the best escape artist we have in the league," McCoy said. "Because you can hit him, full forced, 315-pound defensive linemen. We just watched Kevin Williams hit him square in the middle and he bounced off and kept on running. It's like he can escape in so many ways, you just really got to wrap this guy up. He's a big guy just like we are, but twice as athletic, so we got to get our hands on him and make sure we hold on."