Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gerald McCoy: Bucs defense wanted to 'set the tone' vs. Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on 7 carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 win.

And they were disappointed.

"We want them to have negative-90, negative-80. We don't care," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "We want to keep it going. This is just one showing. We have to be consistent."

The Jaguars, with top rookie Leonard Fournette sidelined by injury, didn't have a run longer than 3 yards in the first half, but the Bucs said they need success against the run as the starting point for their defense.

"We've got to get better on stopping the run," said defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who had one of the Bucs' seven tackles for loss. "Our job is never done. We still have to work on things to improve and be a better defense. It's all about consistency in the NFL. You can't just come out and do it one night and expect to be a great team. We still have a long ways to go. We know where our mark is set now with what we did tonight. We have to do that every play."

McCoy said the team was motivated to come out stronger than last week, when Cincinnati was able to march down the field before their drive ended with a Vernon Hargreaves interception at the 1-yard line. The Bucs gave up just one first down in the first three drives, allowing the offense to build a 12-0 lead, a much more encouraging start than against the Bengals.

"I think it's obvious we didn't put on the performance we should have last week," McCoy said of the team's preseason loss at Cincinnati. "Coach has been talking about setting your will. That's what we want to do. We set the one. We dictate how the game goes. I think we were able to do that today."

McCoy pointed to the Bucs' success against the run in setting up third-and-long situations -- Jacksonville converted a third-and-3, then missed on third and 9, 11, 17 and 9 in the first half. He was most pleased by how the Bucs defense responded to adversity -- Bryan Anger had a 36-yard punt that was returned 31 yards, setting the Jaguars offense up at the Bucs' 23-yard line late in the second quarter. The Bucs gave up 1 yard in three plays, and a 40-yard field goal missed wide left to preserve the shutout.

"The biggest thing we did was the sudden change," McCoy said. "We came out and held them, and they missed the field goal. That was good. That's the kind of defense we have to be."

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