One big reason for Tampa Bay's stunning stop to the Carolina running game in Week 1 was Gerald McCoy, the third-year defensive tackle taken third overall in the 2010 NFL Draft but plagued with injuries. McCoy was out a total of ten games last season for an ankle injury and a torn biceps and the Bucs finished last in the NFL in sacks. On Sunday they had three, including one by McCoy (quote courtesy of the AP):
'Gerald is real instrumental,'' said first-year coach Greg Schiano, noting McCoy has a combination of strength and quickness that could help the former Oklahoma standout develop into a dominating player in the Bucs' new defensive scheme.
''He is a disruptive force,'' Schiano added. ''Even when he doesn't make the play, he's got such get off and penetration ability that he makes plays bubble, he makes plays redirect.''
One possible explanation for McCoy's improvement at the start of 2012? He's been hanging out with former Bucs lineman Warren Sapp, who had a "friendly warning" about QB pressures:
''Sapp called me and said, 'Look, if you've ever got a quarterback in your grasp like that and you let him out, me and you are going to fight.' I said, 'I don't want none of that,''' McCoy said, laughing.
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more in-depth coverage, visitBuccaneers blog Bucs Nation. And for more news, notes and analysis from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NFL hub.