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michael89156

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: December 15, 2012, 11:51:22 PM




Bucs' McCoy wants to finish the job



 CLIFF MCBRIDE/STAFF
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy is on the verge of completing an injury-free season for the first time.




 By ROY CUMMINGS| The Tampa Tribune
Published: December 15, 2012


NEW ORLEANS --

 When Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy lines up for his first snap against the Saints today at the Superdome, he will reach a career milestone he never intentionally set.

Derailed by a torn left biceps 13 games into his rookie season and a torn right biceps six games into 2011, the third-year pro out of Oklahoma will play in a 14th game for the first time since he was drafted third overall in 2010.

McCoy doesn't really plan to celebrate the milestone.

While most NFL defensive tackles were setting their sights on having more tackles, sacks or pressures this year, McCoy set a goal for 2012 of simply playing a full slate of 16 games.

That may seem simple, perhaps even silly, but after spending his first two offseasons rehabbing arm injuries and fending off accusations of being injury prone, he dialed things down a notch.

"To be able to say that I finished my first NFL season, I don't think people realize what that would mean to me,'' McCoy said. "After all the work I've had to put in to get back the last two years, it's going to mean the world to me.''

It probably will mean more if McCoy can finish with a couple more games like the one he had in last week's 23-21 loss to the Eagles.

McCoy recorded five tackles, three tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks and three quarterback hits in that game. Bucs coach Greg Schiano thinks more of the same could be on the way if McCoy can stay healthy.

"There really is no substitute for playing games,'' Schiano said. "Practice is great, but the way you learn is in the fire, and he's gone back to the fire over and over this year and he's gotten better and more consistent because of it.''

The improvement didn't always show up on the stat sheet, but Schiano and his staff saw it consistently in film study.

"I think he's played at a high level all year,'' Schiano said of McCoy, whose five sacks and nine tackles for loss are career highs. "He's been very disruptive and he's allowed other people to make some plays as well.

"In the run game he's been dominant at times, so I think what he's doing is just like what we need everybody else on our whole team to do, which is become a more consistent performer.''

On the run

Josh Freeman seldom gets mentioned in a conversation about the most mobile quarterbacks in the league, but perhaps he should.

When Freeman ran for 13 yards and a critical first down on third-and-9 from Tampa Bay's 44-yard line against the Eagles, he improved his career rushing total to 875 yards, which is fifth best among active QBs since 2009.

Only Philadelphia's Michael Vick (1,667), Carolina's Cam Newton (1,346), Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (1,163) and the Jets Tim Tebow (974) have run for more yards during that span.

Freeman's per-rush average of 4.7 yards is fifth among active QBs during that span, but his 73 first downs and 42.2 first-down percentage are each third behind Newton, Vick and Rodgers.

Saints be praised

Saints QB Drew Brees has thrown 18 interceptions, so can't be too thrilled about going up against Bucs S Ronde Barber today. Barber has picked off Brees in each of their past two meetings.

Barber has recorded three interceptions in a game twice in his career both against the Saints. It happened at home in 2001 and at New Orleans in 2005.

Benchwarmer#1

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#1 : December 16, 2012, 02:12:50 AM

Well... He's played better than last season anyway.  ::)

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.
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