TAMPA – Yes, the defense has been winning out here at Buccaneers training camp. As noted by coach Dirk Koetter, it has been winning a lot.
For those keeping score at home, the Bucs have held six camp workouts so far. The defense, it can be argued, has won every one of them.
The oft-maligned Gerald McCoy is one of the reasons.
Perturbed for reasons we’re still not sure of, McCoy came to camp with a chip on his shoulder this year, and from the looks of things, it’s driving him.
We’ve noted before here that the defense appears to be operating in a higher gear. There’s no doubt that within that defense, McCoy is doing the same.
Koetter has noticed.
“No one ever talks about it, but the guy who dominates practice every day is Gerald McCoy,’’ Koetter said. “You can’t block that guy.
“You think he’s offside, (but) I’m sitting up there (in my office watching the practice tape) and I’m clicking the tape back 20 times.
“I mean, the guy has got the best get-off. He’s tough to stop. He wrecks half of practice. And Robert Ayers is right there with him.’’
This is of course great news for the Bucs, who are frustrated internally by all the negative talk thrown McCoy’s way.
Like most around the NFL, the Bucs know they’ve got one of the two best defensive tackles in the game, a true game-wrecker as Koetter put it.
They don’t even want to think about what their D-line would look like without him, but now they’re starting to generate move positive thoughts.
Though part of McCoy’s improved play comes from self-motivation, part of it also comes from the fact he has better players around him.
It’s often been said that part of McCoy’s job is to make other players better and that is part of the D-tackle’s gig.
But if the likes of Ayers, Chris Baker and Noah Spence can make McCoy better, he really could take his game to a new level this year.
You know, when people talk about the next Buccaneer to reach double-digit sacks, McCoy’s name is seldom if ever mentioned.
When he first got here a year ago, Ayers was immediately considered a candidate for that honor. So was Spence. But what about McCoy?
He’s only led the team in sacks each of the last four years with an average of eight per year over that span.
And based on how he’s looked in camp so far, he might your best bet to reach that rarified air last inhaled by Simeon Rice in 2005.