Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't stopped the run, rank last in league in sacks

TAMPA — Gerald McCoy had just finished running extra wind sprints after practice Wednesday, and his chest heaved in and out as his lungs filled with air. Unfortunately for the Bucs, McCoy hasn't been breathing hard down the necks of too many quarterbacks this season.

One fourth of the way through his first NFL season, McCoy still is looking for his first sack.

The third overall draft pick from Oklahoma has earned respect and is routinely double-teamed. He has 15 tackles, two for losses, and has pressured the passer on five other occasions.

But McCoy's job is to get the quarterback on the ground, and he is one reason the Bucs are last in the league with just four sacks, all of them coming in a 20-7 Week 2 victory at Carolina.

"On Sunday, I hit Carson (Palmer) twice and was in his face three or four times," McCoy said of the Bengals quarterback. "But I've got to get him on the ground. I hit him, he almost fumbled, he threw it up and hit (linebacker) Quincy (Black). I hit him again as he threw it, and he dumped it off. I'm getting there. I'm getting close.

"It's easy to get discouraged. I've played four games, three in the preseason. I've only got one sack on the stat sheet (none in the regular season). It's easy to get discouraged, but you've got to put the right people around you."

Of the Bucs' four sacks this season, only three of them were produced by the defensive line, and two belong to Tim Crowder.

To make matters worse, the Bucs defense hasn't stopped the run, either. Tampa Bay is ranked 30th in rushing defense, having allowed 143.3 yards per game.

"I had two mistakes that make me sick," defensive tackle Roy Miller said. "It's disgusting. Just to know I had a part in that, that's disgusting to me. … It's not that we don't have the guys or the talent, we've just got to find a way to get it done."

Time out for a little perspective. The Bucs are 3-1, a half-game behind first-place Atlanta in the NFC South.

But in the offseason the Bucs invested heavily in the defensive line. In addition to McCoy, they used a second-round pick on UCLA tackle Brian Price, who has no sacks.

"I had a couple one-on-ones that I didn't win," Price said. "That's the game. But in your mind, you have to challenge yourself and tell yourself you're not going to lose a one-on-one, even though it's going to happen sometimes.

"I want to dominate and go hard. I wouldn't have been drafted here if they didn't think I could do it."

So how have the Bucs been winning? Credit the secondary, which has helped produce nine interceptions, tied for second in the NFL with Carolina.

Defensive line coach Todd Wash said despite the victory at Cincinnati, his players had a difficult time watching tape in which running back Cedric Benson rushed for 144 yards on 23 carries.

"Obviously, we're not too pleased about it," Wash said. "It's a different attitude up front coming out of that game than the previous three games. We won the game, but it was one of our worst performances of the year. We're not very pleased with it and hopefully have a little chip on our shoulder going into this one."

McCoy has at least created opportunities for his teammates. Despite being moved around from tackle to end in odd-man fronts, the Bengals were sure to point McCoy out by number and slid their protection toward him.

"It's respect, but (Warren) Sapp got the same thing, he made the best of it," McCoy said. "He still beat his man, beat two people, whatever he had to do. If I want to get to that level, I've got to be ready to do the same."

In addition to Sapp, McCoy will always draw comparisons to Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was taken one pick ahead of him. Suh has three sacks, one interception and 15 tackles.

"The only thing I do when I feel I've had a bad game or things aren't going right, I read my Bible," McCoy said. "I turn on my worship music or turn on a song that reminds me of my mother and it always calms me down."

But coach Raheem Morris knows McCoy and the Bucs defensive line is feeling some urgency.

"Gerald McCoy said it best to me the other day," Morris said. "He said, 'We're doing a good job of getting pressure, but that's not good enough anymore, we've got to start hitting these quarterbacks and getting them on the ground."

Anything else is just hot air.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't stopped the run, rank last in league in sacks 10/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 14, 2010 8:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.

  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Bucs, Jaguars both get blame for terrible preseason ratings

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst of a weekend in televised sports.

    Worst matchup

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Dixon (41) and safety Barry Church (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) JVS119
  3. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    This is the Blake Snell everyone has been waiting for. Working off his fastball. Challenging hitters. Staying focused regardless of how many runners are on base. Snell has pitched at least six innings for three straight starts. He had a rough start to the year, but it looks like he has figured it out.

  4. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]