Looking more like a ghost town than a locker room, the player’s sanctuary at One Buc Place was fairly deserted one day after the Buccaneers’ 27-20 opening day loss to the Detroit Lions. Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, as usual, was willing to share his thoughts on what went wrong on Sunday with regards to the defense.
The second-year tackle talked after the game about how some different looks the Detroit offensive line showed the Bucs caught Tampa Bay off guard. On Monday he expanded on those thoughts.
“When you game plan for protections a certain way, and they are not there, you have a bunch of young guys up front, the communication is kind of off,” McCoy said. “Guys are still trying to rush like we planned, but you can’t do that. The defense has got to make game-day adjustments. We have to communicate better when we get into situations like that. We got what we were looking for [overall with regards to the game plan]. The one thing I can say is how those guards were sitting. As deep as they were sitting, I don’t think that was legal. I really don’t. We said something to the refs. They just let it go.
“But we said, 'Hey, we have to play with the conditions we are in and keep playing.' As far as up front when I say it was different, was how they were sitting. They didn’t slide protect like we planned. Everybody was sitting back. They game-planned our speed up front. But with us seeing that, it is a good learning experience. Now we can go work on that. I’m sure this week Coach [Keith] Millard will take us through some stuff in case it happens again.”
McCoy and his Buccaneers teammates hadn’t had a chance to look at the film and McCoy wasn’t ready to pin the blame on any one thing as Detroit racked up 431 yards of total offense, including 126 on the ground, and held the ball for 36:25.
“Honestly, I don’t know yet. I can’t speak on that until I see the film,” McCoy said. “Honestly, they just had guys that made [our] guys miss. And we missed tackles and there were times when we just didn’t get off blocks. A little bit of everything in there. So it just means we have to be better. Detroit is not bad at the run by any means, but now we are about to face a Minnesota team that has the $100-million man [Adrian Petersen]. We have got to be better.”
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford came into Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay as advertised. After leading the Lions to a 4-0 preseason, the Detroit signal caller picked up where he left off and kept the Bucs off balance for much of the game, completing 24-of-33 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns.
McCoy commented on the difficulty of facing a quarterback like Stafford, who takes three-step drops and gets rid of the ball quickly.
"[We] kind of do a “crush rush” where everybody bull rushes and gets your hands up,” McCoy said. “You just have to try and make the pocket close off. In my words I call it the 'Peyton Manning rush.' That’s what you have to do with anyone that gets the ball of quick. Just kind of get your hands up.
“He’s good. He put the ball where it needs to be. The scheme was great. He played to their game plan. He played well.”
The Buccaneers defense didn’t help itself Sunday with penalties, committing three neutral zone infractions, including two by McCoy. The former Sooner explained getting off the ball quickly is part of his game.
“It’s that itch,” McCoy said.” It’s not even the cadence. You just see little things. The quarterback’s foot moving. Linemen looking to the right and left. Guys kind of rocking. Then at the same time, my edge against any player, my quickness is going to be my edge. You are always going to see that from me because I’m a smaller defensive tackle. So when I take on a double team I'm not one of those guys that can let the double team hit me and hold it up. I have to hit it before it hits me. So when I see something coming where I know I need to get off. That’s kind of where that comes.”
McCoy isn’t listening to all the doomsday fanatics on the Internet message boards and calling the local sports radio talk shows about how the season is already lost after a 0-1 start to the 2011 season.
“Fifteen [games] left,” McCoy said. “This isn’t college anymore. In college you lose a game and you are like, ‘Oh no, the season is over.’ It’s the NFL and it’s a long, long season.
“You don’t want to come out opening day and let that happen. Clearly, we didn’t get the results we wanted. But nobody’s heads are down and we are just going to go back to the drawing board and try and be better this coming week.”