bucs Report

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy will be a game-time decision

In addition to punting, Michael Koenen (9) adds to the Bucs’ special teams with deep kickoffs. He has 14 touchbacks on 27 kickoffs in 2011.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

In addition to punting, Michael Koenen (9) adds to the Bucs’ special teams with deep kickoffs. He has 14 touchbacks on 27 kickoffs in 2011.

BAGSHOT, England — Bucs DT Gerald McCoy wore a sweat suit Friday and did not participate in the team's final practice at the Pennyhill resort and spa. But coach Raheem Morris said he will wait until before warmups Sunday to determine whether McCoy will play in London at Wembley Stadium against the Bears.

McCoy missed Sunday's game against New Orleans with a sprained left ankle. He participated in limited practices Wednesday and Thursday.

"I feel good," McCoy said. "We'll just have to wait and see what the coach says" about playing Sunday.

Though he is listed as doubtful, RB LeGarrette Blount will miss his second straight game with a knee sprain.

"He didn't practice this week, so we have a chance to see Earnest (Graham)," Morris said.

Graham rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries in the 26-20 win over the Saints.

The Bucs will also be without C Jeff Faine (biceps strain) and WR Sammie Stroughter (foot). Jeremy Zuttah will start at center, and Ted Larsen will take Zuttah's spot at left guard.

TE Luke Stocker (ankle) is questionable but practiced all week. DE Michael Bennett (groin) is probable.

Following practice Friday, the Bucs moved to the Grosvenor House hotel in London.

SPECIAL K: The Bucs might have the antidote to Bears kick return master Devin Hester.

Punter/kicker Michael Koenen has played a huge role in the Bucs' 4-2 start with his punting and his ability to consistently blast kickoffs through the end zone.

Against New Orleans, the Bucs were clinging to a 23-20 lead in the fourth quarter and backed up on fourth down at their 16-yard line. Koenen flipped the field position by hammering a 58-yard punt that was fielded by Darren Sproles, who lost 10 yards on the return to the Saints' 16-yard line.

"He's been very large for us this year," GM Mark Dominik said. "I love the line from the coach who said 'I never paid much attention to a punter before until I got this guy.' Michael has been everything we've wanted to be as a kickoff specialist. He's been a great holder, little things you don't think about."

No team was more opposed to the NFL's decision to move the tee up 5 yards for kickoffs this season than the Bears, who believed the rule conspired to neutralize Hester.

Morris said this week the Bucs have no plans to kick to Hester. However, Koenen said directionally punting the ball out of bounds is not as easy as it looks.

"It's hard, especially when you start thinking about who's back there," Koenen said. "So I try not to think about who's back there. I try to game-plan for it.

"You've got rushers coming off the edges, and that makes it difficult. Yeah, it's easier said than done."

With Hester, kicking the ball into the end zone is not good enough. He is confident enough to return a kickoff even when he catches the ball with his feet walking a tightrope at the back of the end zone to keep from going out of bounds.

"The guy is the best returner who ever played football," said Graham, who has covered him before.

"Honestly. I've never seen any other guy as good. He's a guy who can change the game in a minute. I think he's the best in the business, and if you don't get him under control, he can win the game for them. So there's a lot of focus on him."

Bucs vs. Bears 1 p.m. Sunday, Wembley Stadium, London TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy will be a game-time decision 10/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 9:32pm]

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