McCoy: Bucs can still leave their mark on season
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said his team has been eliminated from playoff contention, but that doesn't mean Tampa Bay doesn't have anything to play for in its final four games this season.
"We're not going to the playoffs. It's a fact. So what?" McCoy said. "Are we going to lay down, or are we going to finish off strong? We have four more weeks to leave our mark on 2013. What are we going to do with it? It's up to us."
McCoy said it's important to establish positive momentum for the offseason, remembering last year's season-ending win against Atlanta, which ended a five-game losing streak.
"Same thing: Our last four games, how we finish this season, that's the first thing you're going to talk about next year," McCoy said. "We've got four more guaranteed opportunities to leave our mark. We have to refocus and prepare to be able to do that."
McCoy was held without a tackle in Sunday's loss at Carolina, and the Bucs defense was held without a sack or a quarterback hurry. The Bucs face a rookie quarterback this week in Buffalo's EJ Manuel, and McCoy said it's crucial to contain him in the pocket and not allow him to scramble as Carolina's Cam Newton did last week.
"We don't want him using his feet. He's an athlete, and if he gets out in the open, he can make throws," McCoy said. "We want to put him in tight windows and make him beat us from the pocket. Same thing we wanted to do with Cam. We got away from that."
McCoy said the Bucs didn't look good on offense, defense or special teams Sunday, and he said that included himself, as he faced things he hadn't expected in terms of personnel blocking him on plays.
"That Carolina game just wasn't us, all around the board," he said. "They neutralized me in so many ways. I remember one time, I got hit by a receiver and a running back. I said 'What's going on?' I got around the tackle, got hit by a receiver coming across and a running back. Carolina just played a great game and Cam did what he did. We can't allow EJ to do the same thing."