New DT John Hughes eager to help injury-depleted Bucs
With Gerald McCoy sidelined with a calf injury and multiple injuries at defensive end, the Bucs have added former Browns defensive tackle John Hughes, who will hit the ground running this week to be ready for Monday's game at Carolina.
"Just working hard and competing, and doing whatever you can do to contribute to the team," said Hughes, who was with the Browns and briefly the Patriots last week before joining the Bucs on Tuesday. "I've played it all. I'm a jack of all trades: 3-4, 4-3. I really appreciate the opportunity they've given me in Tampa, to come out here, compete, have fun."
Hughes, 27, played four years in Cleveland, totaling 108 tackles and 5.5 sacks, but was cut after one game this season. He actually has a good history with Bucs defensive line coach Jay Hayes, who was an assistant with the Bengals throughout Hughes' college career at Cincinnati, the two even attending the same church. While at Cincinnati, Hughes was part of the Bearcats' recruiting efforts with Hayes' son Jesse, who ended up playing at Wisconsin.
"I've known John. I used to see him a lot," Hayes said. "He'll get snaps the way it's lined up. I think he'll be fine. He's a pro, he's played in the league. He knows what to do. If we need to use him, we will."
Asked how the defensive line has handled the daunting challenge of playing without McCoy, Hayes had an encouraging response, suggesting his calf injury may not be a longterm problem.
"We've had to do it for two and a half quarters, and I don't know that we'll have to do it very long," Hayes said. "Our attitude is next man up, regardless of who it is. It doesn't matter if it's Gerald or whoever. Next man's got to go."