TAMPA — Gerald McCoy was drafted third overall by the Bucs in 2010 to inflict some pain on opposing quarterbacks. But the only memorable thing about his first two NFL seasons is that they both ended prematurely because of injuries.
For the second straight year, McCoy was placed on injured reserve on Monday with a torn bicep, this time in his right arm.
In the first quarter of Sunday's 27-16 loss to New Orleans, McCoy reached to make a tackle of running back Chris Ivory. He immediately grabbed his right arm then raised his left hand to signal he needed to come out.
It was the same injury McCoy suffered in his left arm in a Week 14 game at Washington last season.
"It's football," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said of McCoy, who has four sacks in 19 career games. "(Quarterback) Matt Stafford missed two seasons with the Detroit Lions and he's probably putting up his best season right now. He's got to come back, he's got to go rehab, he's got to get his mind right, come back ready to play and get ready to play a 16-game season."
Morris said he isn't sure why McCoy sustained a torn bicep two years in a row but suggested Sunday's injury might have been the result of poor technique.
"He got off the ball, he had a chance to make a play on the back and he kind of reached out rather than putting his face involved in there," Morris said. "You've got to move into the ball, sky your eyes and hit on contact. He reached at the guy, which is a common mistake when you're coming off a block."
McCoy's absence had an impact on the Bucs' ability to stop the Saints, who utilized running backs Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles to combine for 175 yards rushing.
With McCoy out, the Bucs could not get much rest for defensive tackles Roy Miller and Brian Price. Frank Okam was inactive with a calf injury he suffered in practice last week.
"On defense, losing Gerald (Sunday) hurt … you can see the difference in our play up front when he's out of the game, and how it affects our get-off and some of the things we're able to do positively on defense," Morris said.
Although McCoy has detractors, there's no denying his impact. Despite missing two games, he recorded 13 tackles, one sack, four tackles for loss and 13 quarterback pressures, second on the team.
"When he's played, he's played really well for us," Morris said. "He's done a great job for us vs. the run. He's done a great job as far as the explosion and the get-off. He makes game plans change."
In the four games McCoy has completed this season, the Bucs recorded 10 of their 12 sacks and held opposing rushers to 4.2 yards per carry as opposed to 5.3 when he has been sidelined.
Okam is hopeful he can play Sunday against the Texans. But Morris indicated the Bucs will add another defensive tackle to the active roster. The Bucs don't have a defensive tackle on their practice squad.
"We have to add somebody to the roster," Morris said. "How fast we can implement him and put him into our Rosetta Stone of coaching and get him going, it's obviously going to be my challenge. We'll handle that."