Make us your home page
Instagram

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 rookie Moore accepts comparisons to Sapp

Dre Moore, the Bucs’ fourth-round pick, will compete to start at under tackle.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Dre Moore, the Bucs’ fourth-round pick, will compete to start at under tackle.

TAMPA — Dre Moore could try to avoid the inevitable, but why bother?

Because here's the deal: When you play defensive tackle for the Buccaneers, you are judged against just one man.

"Warren Sapp is a beast. He's one of the best to ever play the position," said Moore, the team's fourth-round pick from Maryland. "No one will tell you that they're comparing you to him. But you know in the back of your mind that when you get tired and wear down, you have to keep pushing because that's who you're being compared to."

And so for the umpteenth time since Sapp's departure after the 2003 season, we must ask: Who will replace No. 99?

The likely answer is, simply, no one. But that doesn't mean the Bucs will end their seemingly perpetual quest for a three-technique defensive tackle who can be the sort of disruptive force the Tampa 2 defense relies on so heavily.

"The three-technique is the whole deal," said assistant head coach Larry Coyer, last year's defensive line coach. "Eventually, you're going to find a guy with those traits you need. They'll never be Sapp. But you can at least find a guy who is similar. (Jovan) Haye did a great job last year, but the competition has to step up.

"Sapp was a big, powerful man. That's what (Moore) is."

But that alone isn't enough, even though Moore had an impressive showing during the three-day rookie minicamp that ended Sunday.

He is getting an earful from Coyer and coach Jon Gruden about the need to be in better condition. At 6 feet 4, 305 pounds, it takes a lot to keep Moore's motor running.

"He's an explosive big man," Gruden said. "But I think he'll be the first to tell you his stamina is going to be an issue. He's got to get conditioned. That's why we have that big factory over there, that weight room. We'll get him in there."

That should help Moore build on what is already an impressive body of work. Playing various positions, he led the Terrapins with six sacks and added 63 tackles in 2007 despite handling some tasks that are not asked of linemen in Tampa Bay.

"I think here it's a lot simpler," he said of the Bucs defense. "You just line up and go. At Maryland, we kind of had different responsibilities — spying running backs, dropping into coverage and things like that. Here, it's just line up, read your keys and make a play."

Sapp was the best at that, but Moore possesses some of the same qualities that made Sapp a freak: intimidating size, brute strength, deceptive speed and quickness (he ran a remarkable 4.82 seconds for 40 yards at his pro day).

"He really flashed some things out here that are uncommon for a big man," Coyer said. "He's very quick. He really has a chance, and he has the skills."

Moore will be thrown into what coaches hope is a heated competition at under tackle with last season's starter, Haye, Greg Peterson and perhaps new acquisition Marques Douglas, who also plays end and spent the past seven seasons with the Ravens and 49ers.

Moore hopes to distinguish himself with his repertoire.

"I think I'm definitely a power guy," he said. "Bull rushing is definitely one of my better moves. That's the trick I have up my sleeve when things aren't going well. The bull rush sets up other things like speed rushes. … I think a lot of bigger guys get stuck just going forward. But I got lucky. I got a little rhythm when I was born, so I can do some things laterally."

As for playing the same position as Sapp in the city where he rose to fame, well, Moore likens it to playing shooting guard in Michael Jordan's old stomping grounds.

"They're always going to remember (No.) 23," he said.

Will anyone remember Moore? Maybe, though probably never as much as everyone remembers Sapp.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]

Bucs rookie Moore accepts comparisons to Sapp 05/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2008 5:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL Week 7: What we learned

    Bucs

    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  2. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  3. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17

    College

    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]