Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

McCoy: Bucs defense starts on line

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — While Bucs fans obsess about the team's relative inaction in addressing a glaring cornerback shortage, one of the team's defensive captains says another position must produce if improvement is to come.

Pro Bowl tackle Gerald McCoy, fresh off the second day of official offseason workouts, said Tuesday improved line play will be the difference between a reliable defense and the one that blew multiple fourth-quarter leads and was abused by quarterbacks in 2012.

"We put all the pressure on our backs," said McCoy, replacing his typically jovial demeanor with a serious, no-nonsense tone. "When we were working out (Monday) and (Tuesday), one thing I was pushing and telling guys is this defense doesn't move unless we move. … If we don't get to the quarterback and pressure him, then we're not helping our (defensive backs)."

This would seem an odd time to ratchet up pressure on the defensive line. The Bucs have seen two starters from last season leave as free agents: Left end Michael Bennett joined the Seahawks, and nose tackle Roy Miller is now with the Jaguars.

"Those guys were great players," McCoy said. "But it's the NFL. It's a business. Things had to happen. They had to move on. But I think we have a great unit of guys right now. Somebody has to pick up the pieces."

It will fall to the remaining (mostly young) members of the line to intensify pressure on quarterbacks, particularly important for a club that ranked last in pass defense and 29th in sacks last season.

The Bucs are banking on McCoy and third-year ends Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn, both beset by major injuries in the past year. The draft this month might provide help, but the Bucs still will rely heavily on players with limited experience and accomplishment, excluding McCoy, who enters his fourth season.

"We're young, (but) we have an opportunity to be really good there," coach Greg Schiano said of his defensive line. "We have some players we're developing that we feel good about. And you have to look at every decision. It's not just that position. … You can't look at all these decisions in a vacuum. You have to look at it in a more global vision."

That youth makes McCoy's role critical. It has been difficult for McCoy to be a demonstrative leader in the past, given his season-ending injuries in 2010 and 2011. But after playing his first complete season in 2012 and being named a Pro Bowl starter, McCoy is more firmly established.

He's embracing the leadership role, too, knowing just what to say when asked about his status as an all-star.

"It's 2013. I haven't done anything," McCoy said. "That's my motivation. I'm not a Pro Bowler. Last year I was. This year I haven't done anything. We're on Day 2 in our workouts, and right now I'm just a guy.

"My leadership ability has to (increase) because I have enough years under my belt now where I can say that this is my defense."

That's a big responsibility, not unlike the one McCoy says is on the shoulders of the Bucs' entire defensive line.

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

Comments
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?Mike Evans is back from his su...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?’’ there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Both are defensive tackles. Both went to, what were at the time, Big 12 schools. Both were ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first? Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL players. S...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will play Sunday against the Dolphins without Vernon Hargreaves, who has been their nickel defensive back the past two games.Hargreaves, the 2016 first-round pick out of Florida and a former Wharton High standout, has been ruled out ...
Published: 11/17/17
Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

TAMPA — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016.Winston called the allegations "false" and contested the unnamed female driver’s assertion that he was her only p...
Published: 11/17/17
Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Tampa Bay Times has listened to a voicemail Jameis Winston received from Uber relating to the March 2016 incident in Arizona.The NFL is investigating the allegations that Winston grabbed a female Uber driver's crotch in 2016.In the call, someone...
Published: 11/17/17

Jameis Winston says groping allegations are ‘false’

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston denied allegations by an Arizona Uber driver that he groped her in 2016. The NFL confirmed it is investigating the incident.Winston released a statement on his Twitter account saying the driver was 'confused,' by the n...
Published: 11/17/17