Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs among league leaders in penalties

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says the Bucs have taken an unacceptable number of penalties. He is unhappy with the number of neutral-zone penalties he has taken and says he needs to stop trying to guess the snap count. “Cotton in your ears and move when the ball moves,” he says.


Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says the Bucs have taken an unacceptable number of penalties. He is unhappy with the number of neutral-zone penalties he has taken and says he needs to stop trying to guess the snap count. “Cotton in your ears and move when the ball moves,” he says.

TAMPA — Foul play is ruining the Bucs' season, particularly their pre- and post-snap penalties that have extended drives for opponents and crippled Tampa Bay's offense.

Only the Bills had committed more penalties than the Bucs (96) entering Thursday, a pace for the Bucs that would represent a 26 percent increase in their penalties over last year. Their penalty yards (655) are on pace to finish 39 percent higher than 2014.

"Unacceptable," DT Gerald McCoy said. "Way too many penalties, man."

Too many have come from McCoy, who may be among the biggest offenders when it comes to neutral zone infractions. The Bucs have six, only two fewer than they had all last year.

Teams walk a fine line when it comes to wanting defensive linemen to get off the ball quickly on the snap and tolerating encroachment penalties.

"You don't want to mess with their get-off, for sure," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "But those penalties, they extend drives, make it difficult for you on defense. It's first and 10 (for opponents), and all of a sudden it's first and 5. It's third and 5, and now it's a first down.

"You want (the defensive line) to get off the football and attack the line of scrimmage, but the penalties hurt us."

McCoy said he has no business trying to predict the snap count and the problem is easily fixed.

"It's simple. You stop guessing, myself in general," McCoy said. "I've been blessed with an ability to get off the ball. I don't have to cheat the count. I don't have to try and get an advantage on any offensive lineman in this league, because I have the ability to move as soon as anything budges. I have the ability to get up field in a hurry. It just comes with discipline.

"Cotton in your ears and move when the ball moves."

Referees always prefer for the players to decide games, but not vigilante style. The Bucs have eight unsportsmanlike penalties this season, as many as they had all last year.

"The coaches are going to say what they're going to say, but that's an issue we've got to address in the locker room because with us going out on the field believing we're a tribe of men, when you do that, you hurt your brothers," McCoy said. "That's a selfish act, getting a penalty of that magnitude. We're all professionals.

"You've got to swallow your pride and just move on because there will be the next snap. Do it legally."

TIES THAT BIND: Two Bucs have close ties to Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant, whose team will be at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

FB Jorvorskie Lane played high school football with Bryant in Lufkin, Texas, southeast of Dallas, and said Lane remembers him as a promising free safety before coaches came to their senses and put him on offense.

"That's my boy," Lane said. "I remember when we first found out he was Dez Bryant. He was a free safety my senior year, and he kept making plays. As an offense, we couldn't throw the ball deep because he was always going to get them.

"They put him on offense, and I threw his first touchdown. Dez is an unbelievable talent, and we saw it. The rest was history."

LB Orie Lemon played with Bryant at Oklahoma State and in Dallas in 2012-13, and the two share a house in the Dallas area, where Lemon calls home in the offseason.

"That's my best friend," Lemon said of Bryant. "We're both competitive players, so we know we're going to go at it when the ball's out there. It's all (family) outside the football field, but when we step inside those white lines, we're all against each other.

"Big week for me. I've got to make some plays."

INJURIES: WR Vincent Jackson (knee), DE Jacquies Smith (ankle), G Ali Marpet (ankle) and S D.J. Swearinger (toe) did not practice Thursday. CB Alterraun Verner (toe) returned to practice after missing Wednesday.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report. Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected] and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. Follow @NFLStroud.

Bucs among league leaders in penalties 11/12/15 [Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2015 8:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Charlie Strong, Gulf High and the best (old) Jon Gruden-Tennessee rumor


    As Butch Jones keeps losing, Tennessee Vols fans are turning to one of the media's favorite pastimes.

    Jon Gruden coaching rumors.

  2. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  3. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  4. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve


    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  5. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.