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Denver Broncos-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: An elite Bucs defense, in five easy steps

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) celebrates after tackling Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) for a third down stop to force a punt in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) celebrates after tackling Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) for a third down stop to force a punt in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Oct. 2, 2016

Building a monster

The Bucs get an up-close look at a Super Bowl defense today in the form of the Denver Broncos. Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Tom Jones maps out five ways the Bucs can build an elite defense of their own:

1. Get an elite pass rusher: The last time the Bucs had a great defense was probably 10 years ago. And the last time they had a pass rusher who finished with double-digit sacks? Back in 2005 when Simeon Rice had 14. Not a coincidence. The key to any good defense is a pass rush. This team still needs to find one.

2. Keep Gerald McCoy healthy: The third overall pick from the 2010 draft is one of the top defensive tackles in football, and he has been surrounded by very little in his career. As he is surrounded by more talent, just imagine how much better good he will be. Provided, of course, he stays on the field.

3. Find (another) shutdown corner: The team addressed cornerback in this year's draft by selecting Florida's Vernon Hargreaves. Eventually, it will need another big-time corner to pair with Hargreaves.

4. Fix the safety position: The Bucs have been chasing safety help every since John Lynch left in 2004. It remains a hole in the secondary and on this defense.

5. One more star: There's a theory that you need to have five stars on defense. This team has four at the moment: McCoy, linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander and, someday soon, Hargreaves. One more and the Bucs have something cookin'.