Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs struggle to get sacks

TAMPA

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy got off to a hot start as a pass rusher, registering three sacks over his first three games this season.

But in the eight games since? Zilch.

The season-ending knee injury to DE Adrian Clayborn has allowed opponents to slide protection McCoy's way. Although disruptive of the quarterback at times, the Bucs rank 28th in the NFL with only 18 sacks, seven from DE Michael Bennett. A year ago, Tampa Bay finished last in the league with 23.

"There's never just one thing. If there was, you'd get it fixed and there wouldn't be a problem," coach Greg Schiano said of the Bucs' pass rush. "One time, a guy makes an assignment error. Or there could be a technique error. He has him beat … and doesn't finish the rush.

"Another time, it may be a different scenario where he didn't have the rush where he can go from speed to power and he didn't. So there are so many different things. It's not just, 'There's the quarterback and go get him.' "

Pressuring the quarterback won't get any easier for the Bucs today against the Broncos' Peyton Manning, an offensive savant who throws with such great anticipation that he is hard to get to the ground. Manning has been sacked just 16 times this season, the same as the Bucs' Josh Freeman. But Manning has thrown 60 more passes.

"We just do what we're coached," McCoy said. "We've got to start owning plays that are called more. We can't always look for a different call. Whatever they call is what we have to play. Last week (against the Falcons), I don't think we played as fast as we have in the past or as physical. That's going to be highly necessary (today)."

What does, "Whatever they call is what we have to play," mean?

At times this season, McCoy has asked defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to cut down on the number of stunts and twists they run on the line.

"I think sometimes if you're not having the success that you planned on or you're playing for, you tend to look for reasons why," Sheridan said. "We are, too. We brainstorm all the time trying to find new ways to rush and put together pressure. I think he's referring to that.

"The thing nowadays is people aren't going to sit back and take a seven-step drop and wait for the ball to be thrown all the way down the field. They're getting rid of the ball, and the guy we're playing is as good as anybody. (Manning) is not going to sit in there and dare you to pressure him. He's always going to have a route to get the ball out."

ALTITUDE OR ATTITUDE? Any team that plays at the Broncos has to deal with the thin air of Denver, which is more than 5,000 feet above sea level. Fatigue and dehydration can be issues.

But Schiano says because his team is going to spend only about a day in Denver, it should not be a factor.

"The facts are actually favorable," Schiano said. "We get in, and we get out, and you're fine. As long as you hydrate, you're fine. Now if you're going to spend an extended period of time there and your body gets acclimated and there's a whole medical thing that occurs, it's a different story.

"Our humidity (in Tampa) was 55 percent. Out there, it will be like 25 percent. That's a big difference."

Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

For months, NFL fans have wondered what the Bucs might do with the No. 7 pick in Thursday's draft, producing a wide range of answers, each with passionate support from some of their fans.But as draft nears, and as the interest level in a talented gro...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Vita VeaPosition: Defensive tackleSchool: WashingtonHeight/weight: 6-4, 347Draft projection: Round 1Why Vita Vea makes sense for the Bucs: Vea's combination of size and quick feet is rare. He ran a 5.1 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 40 tim...
Published: 04/24/18
Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

The final days leading up to the NFL draft can be a busy time, but rarely do you call someone you trust from a team and say: "What can you tell me about the parrot?"Yes, the Bucs will have a parrot — specifically a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa ...
Published: 04/24/18
Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

So much of the attention Monday surrounding the Bucs' announcing who'd be announcing their late-round draft picks was, of course, that a parrot would be delivering the name of the fourth-round pick to the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium.But late...
Published: 04/24/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

On today's Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the NFL draft with the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer.Farmer coordinates a mock draft with beat writers around the league, and it's usually one of the most accurate prognostications...
Published: 04/24/18
NFL Draft: Date, time, TV schedule and draft order for the April 26-28 draft

NFL Draft: Date, time, TV schedule and draft order for the April 26-28 draft

The NFL Draft starts Thursday from Arlington, Texas, with coverage of the first round beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Here's a look at the broadcast schedule for all three days and the draft order for every round:Schedule(all times Eastern)Thursday, April 26...
Published: 04/24/18
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Published: 04/23/18
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Published: 04/22/18
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Published: 04/22/18
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely able to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother, S...
Published: 04/21/18