Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has plenty of respect for the St. Louis Rams, whom Tampa Bay will host on Sunday in Week 2 of the 2014 NFL season. Like the Bucs, the Rams are also coming off a season-opening loss at home, falling to the Minnesota Vikings, 34-6. St. Louis beat the Bucs last year in Week 16.

“They run the ball well,” McCoy said. “People please, don’t base the Rams off last week’s performance. They can run the ball and they can run it well. They have a great running back in Zac Stacy. They can mix it up with Tavon Austin in the backfield and do a lot of things. They can run the ball and we have to stop them from doing that.”

Last year as a rookie, Stacy rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries (3.2 avg.). This year, Stacy has former Bucs Pro Bowler Davin Joseph blocking for him. Joseph was released this offseason by Tampa Bay and signed a one-year deal with St. Louis.

McCoy said he’s looking forward to squaring off against his former teammate and Oklahoma alum, but indicated it won’t be a friendly reunion.

“Not on Sunday,” McCoy said. “He’s my friend now, but not on Sunday. I don’t believe that. In between the whistles and during timeouts I’ll smile at him, but once the ball is snapped I don’t know anybody.

“I’m so happy for Davin. He mentored me for four years and he really still is. He checks in on me. He’s a great guy. I’m so happy that he landed somewhere and is actually starting. His leadership ability just helped the line and the whole team out. He’s a vet and a great guy off the field. He’s a hard worker. He can completely change their whole offense and their team.”

One player McCoy won’t be facing is another former Sooners teammate, Sam Bradford. The Rams’ former first-round pick in 2010 tore the same ACL in the preseason that caused him to miss most of the 2013 campaign. McCoy will miss playing Bradford twice over the past two years.

not for my sake, just for his,” McCoy said. “I feel bad for Sam. It would be great to compete against a great friend of mine, but I’d rather be going up against him for his sake because he’s out there on the field. He’s fresh off the same injury. He came back and he’s injured again. I’ve been there. I feel bad for him, but he’s a tough guy. He’ll bounce back. He’s from Oklahoma – we’re tough people.”

The two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle showed his toughness in last week’s 20-14 loss to Carolina, recording eight solo tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack while being a marked man.

“Are you talking about the extra man or the extra two men?” McCoy said. “I’m not surprised . This was supposed to happen. We have to do better consistently across the board. Getting more than one guy on me is not a surprise anymore. That’s what I expect. I don’t really complain anymore.”

McCoy got the Bucs’ lone sack last year, and although the vaunted Rams defense had just one sack – split by linebackers Jo-Lon Dunbar and Alec Ogletree – he has a ton of respect for St. Louis’ defensive front.

“You’ve got to respect a group like that,” McCoy said. “It didn’t show last week, but like I said, do not based last week’s performance on the type of team St. Louis is. St. Louis is a very, very good team, a very well coached team. They have a lot of talented players and their D-line is awesome. I respect them. They have a lot of great players and they play together. It’s going to be tough for our O-line this week. That D-line they have up there is great. Aaron Donald is going to be great in this league.”

Donald, the Rams’ second-round pick, had four tackles, including two tackles for loss, in his NFL debut to lead all St. Louis defensive linemen. The Rams notched seven sacks in last year’s win against Tampa Bay, including three by Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn, who led the league with a career-high and franchise-record 19 sacks in 2014.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Buctebow
Buctebow
6 years ago

Here is a question, which team will get the most sacks Sunday, Bucs or Rams? Predictions?

Benchwarmer#1
Benchwarmer#1
6 years ago

Rams.

If you figure that glennon is a quicker thinker, and then understand that he was sacked several times through a line that had time to gel, you’ll understand why mccown the jibblethead will, well, ..look like he did last time.

And we got to Anderson, ..once. yay!

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

There’s little doubt that the Rams should get the most sacks based on their vaunted defensive line and our less than stellar blocking corps. But, I’m looking for our offensive line to play better than last week and for McCown to be in less of a panic.

nmkinley
nmkinley
6 years ago

No question the Rams will get more sacks. The better question is whether or not McCown will be able to throw those quick passes instead of fumbling them….