Quarterback Jeff Garcia was long pursued by Tampa Bay prior to signing with the Buccaneers in free agency in 2007. New Bucs linebacker Matt McCoy has a similar story with Tampa Bay. On Mar. 4 the Buccaneers finally acquired the 25 year-old linebacker.
Tuesday was the first organized team activity for the 2008 Buccaneers and McCoy wound up being the first injury. McCoy was forced to leave the OTA just 25 minutes into the workout after slicing his hand.
"It's not doing too good right now," said McCoy. "I hit the ball. I must of hit it wrong and slit my, well, web lacerations is what they're calling it. So I got my fingers taped apart."
Wednesday the Buccaneers held their second OTA, and McCoy was limited during the workout.
"I got stitches in right now, so no contact, but I was going through the motions and taking mental reps," said McCoy.
The injury is not expected to limit McCoy much longer. The 5-foot-11, 230-pound McCoy is considered a special teams ace and has the speed to play in Tampa Bay's Cover 2 defensive scheme.
For the majority of his career the San Diego State product has been an outside linebacker, but Pewter Report has learned that the Buccaneers are playing McCoy as a middle linebacker. The Buccaneers may move McCoy to the outside later, but currently have him practicing in the middle behind starter Barrett Ruud.
The Buccaneers' pursuit of McCoy has also been an ongoing process over the past few years. Tampa Bay attempted to trade for McCoy a year ago when he was still with Philadelphia. Then last year the Buccaneers tried to sign McCoy when he was released by Philadelphia, but New Orleans was able to sign McCoy first.
Tampa Bay was also close to selecting McCoy in the 2005 NFL Draft. In fact, the Buccaneers staff was on the phone with McCoy the night before the draft discussing his NFL future, but he was ultimately drafted by Philadelphia.
Now, McCoy is looking forward to returning to action and learning the Tampa 2 defensive scheme that the Bucs are known for.
"We just started with the package now so we just got the basics. I haven't had the whole package thrown at me yet. I'm looking forward to that and the OTA's in May is when we're really going to get after it," said McCoy.
With Derrick Brooks, Cato June and Ruud established as starters and Tampa Bay's linebacking position featuring the likes of Ryan Nece, Antoine Cash, Quincy Black, Adam Hayward, Teddy Lehman and Leon Joe, McCoy will need to make an immediate impact on special teams in order to make Tampa Bay's 53-man roster. That's a facet of the game McCoy has previously excelled in.
"I've played a lot of special teams throughout my career since I've been in the pros and I'm definitely going to help the team in that area," said McCoy.
McCoy's second year in the NFL was his best. He started 10 games for the 2006 NFC East Division champion Philadelphia Eagles. McCoy had 66 tackles with two passes defensed. Injuries limited McCoy in his other three seasons in the NFL. Right now McCoy is most happy about playing in Tampa, something that has been in the works for a few years now.
"I love Tampa. I'm from California so its nice," said McCoy. "Right now it is. I haven't dealt with the humidity yet, but it's a beautiful area and I love being here."
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