When the Buccaneers signed eight-year veteran end Robert Ayers as a free agent this past spring, they added to their defense what many of their players have described as a much-needed “angry’’ element. Already we’ve seen the former Bronco and Giant animated on the sideline not only with his fellow D-linemen but even on a couple of occasions “inspiring” individual offense players and even, offensive groups.
Ayers’ new teammates still haven’t seen just how angry he can get.
Ayers began the off-season program a few months ago working at one level of intensity and all he’s done is raise the bar through every subsequent phase of preparation for Sunday’s season opener in Atlanta.
“Yeah, I’m excited to see his in-season anger, because he’s already ramped it up again this week,’’ Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said of Ayers. “I mean, I thought he was angry before but now he’s real angry and we aren’t even at the game yet.’’
Buc fans are excited to see what their pass rush will look like starting Sunday with the Falcons. You can’t read very much into the pre-sason overall, much less the stats, but Tampa Bay did lead the NFL in sacks over the four games, including a 5 sack first half performance against the Browns in the third game where it was starters vs. starters for the whole half.
The team is still seeking it’s first double digit sack man since Simeon Rice in 2005. Buc fans are not happy at all about that.
Speaking of angry, now in his seventh year in the league, McCoy has reason to go into the new season angry himself. He’s only played on one winning team in that span, (10-6 in 2010) and has yet to play in a playoff game.
It’s no wonder then that the usually jovial McCoy seemed to get a little agitated himself when he was asked if he had set any goals, personal or otherwise, for the season ahead.
“I just want to win,’’ McCoy said. “That’s it. I want to win.’’