TAMPA — Bucs DT Gerald McCoy took a deep breath and braced himself for the inevitable question about being compared with Lions DT Ndamukong Suh leading up to Sunday's season opener between the teams.
"It's about time the question came," McCoy said Wednesday. "I'm waiting on it.
"I play defensive tackle; so does he. He's going against our O-line; I'm going against his. It's Bucs vs. the Lions, not me vs. him. I'll leave it at that."
But as McCoy knows, it will probably never be left at that.
Suh was the second overall pick by the Lions in the 2010 draft; McCoy went a pick later to the Bucs. Both played in the Big 12, Suh at Nebraska and McCoy at Oklahoma. Both wear No. 93.
In his rookie year, Suh had 10 sacks, forced a fumble and had an interception, and was named All-Pro and the NFL's defensive rookie of the year. McCoy went sackless for nine games, finished with three sacks and tore a biceps, which forced him to miss the final month of the season, including a 23-20 overtime loss to Detroit that wound up knocking the Bucs out of the playoffs.
McCoy understands comparisons with Suh are inevitable.
"That's how the world works," McCoy said. "You come in out of college and you were ranked pretty high and the other guy is ranked high and has the same position, you're going to be compared. That's just how it goes. … Ah, get over it. It's Bucs vs. the Lions. It's going to be a great opening day."
Suh feels the same way.
"I felt I fell into a great situation and definitely am happy with mine," Suh said. "And I'm sure (McCoy is) happy with his."
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he studied both players closely before the draft and believes both will be successful. He also knows they have different games. Suh plays more with power; McCoy uses quickness and speed to get up the field.
"They're two completely different players, two completely different styles, two guys that we thought very highly of," Schwartz said.
"People can compare them all they want, but I'm pretty sure neither of those guys is comparing himself to the other guy. They're worried about going and being a productive player, fitting in their scheme and doing the very best they can every week."
MEDICAL MATTERS: Coach Raheem Morris said CB Myron Lewis (ankle) is the only player questionable for Sunday. Lewis sprained the ankle in the third preseason game against the Dolphins and didn't practice Wednesday. "I hope to play," Lewis said. "I'm going to go with the flow and see what happens. I don't want to go out and put bad stuff on film."
LEADING UP: The Bucs voted Tuesday on their captains: QB Josh Freeman, CB Ronde Barber, C Jeff Faine, LB Quincy Black and LB Adam Hayward were selected.
Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.
Prices for single-game tickets range from $40 to $115 (some youth tickets are $25) and are available at the Raymond James Stadium ticket window (starting three hours before kickoff) and through Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com or toll-free at 1-800-745-3000. For information, call the Bucs at (813) 870-2700.