TAMPA — DT Gerald McCoy didn't make his mark in the official stat sheet, but that doesn't mean he didn't have an impact on the Bucs defense in Saturday's preseason opener at Miami.
The first-round pick from Oklahoma was stout against the run. When the Dolphins went into their two-minute offense, McCoy was turned loose as a pass rusher. He didn't get to the quarterback, but he drew a double-team and enabled DE Michael Bennett to beat the blocking.
"My wish came true that we'd get a two-minute (situation) and we could put him out there and get some two-minute rushes," coach Raheem Morris said. "Unfortunately, he got a double-team every time.
"Michael Bennett was able to go out there and get a sack because of it," Morris said. "That's a part of it. It was awesome."
McCoy was not completely satisfied with his performance: "It was all right. I just wish we had won the game."
Ru-dy, Ru-dy: Third-string QB Rudy Carpenter, claimed off waivers from the Cowboys last season, had a solid start Saturday. He finished 6-of-12 for 72 yards but probably deserved a better fate. Twice he drove the Bucs in the fourth quarter to within striking distance of the winning touchdown.
But his passes to WR Terrence Nunn on third and goal then fourth and goal from the 3-yard line were knocked away by CB Nate Ness.
Carpenter later completed a 31-yard pass to WR Chris Brooks, who was headed to the end zone before Ness stripped the ball at the Miami 9.
Slip sliding away: C Jeff Faine prepared to play on the baseball infield portion of Sun Life Stadium by wearing virtually flat shoes. Then during the national anthem, the skies opened.
"It was sloppy out there. I started with the wrong footing to begin with," Faine said. "If it's dry, that (infield) is hard as hell. The Star-Spangled Banner is being sung, and it starts to rain. I'm like, 'Oh, no. Here it comes.' And I'm sitting here in flats. But once we got down there, it was messy.
"I had to send guys in here to get my spikes to get that second series down. It was a lot better, but it was still sloppy. It was a shame once we got down there in the red zone, in the diamond part of (the field); the running game kind of goes out the window because you can't really get the drive (blocking) going. But we took advantage of it, went to the pass game and made it work."
No joshing: Backup QB Josh Johnson went 0-4 as a starter last season, and one reason was his failure to protect the football.
It happened again Saturday night. Playing in miserable conditions, Johnson threw a deep pass to WR Reggie Brown. But Brown looked outside while the pass sailed, and CB Sean Smith intercepted it. Johnson later had the wet football slip out of his hands, and the Dolphins recovered the fumble.
"It was just a miscommunication," Johnson said of the pick. "It happens, but as a quarterback, I can't make that throw. I was glad I was able to come back and get us going again.
"The conditions were what they were. It could happen to us again. One thing Coach is preaching to us is learn from things, continue to grow from them. Next time, if we get stuck in that situation, we've got to be able to stay within our plan. If it's me just dropping back and hitting the check downs, then that's what I have to do.
"That's the only thing right now that's bothering me. As an offense, we turned the ball over in situations where we had an opportunity to get points."
(All games on Ch. 8)
Saturday: Kansas City, 7:30
Aug. 28: Jacksonville, 7:30
Sept. 2: at Houston, 8
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