Former Bucs great and current linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson told some of the media last week that it took he and the rest of the 1996 Bucs defense until Week 9 of that season to really feel comfortable in the Tampa 2 defensive scheme installed by then head coach Tony Dungy.
On Monday defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was told of Nickerson’s comments, and seemed somewhat surprised.
“For them, Week 9?” McCoy said. “Dang. I guess it’s okay that we don’t have it by week six. I don’t know how many times I have to say it, but I guess when fans want to see a winner, they’re patience gets shorter. And I can understand that. You know having a game going into the bye week like the one we finished with, I can see how fans can get impatient and be upset. It’s very understandable.
“However, the same mentality that the fans keep claiming we need to have like those guys (90s defense) had, if you look at the history, they went through the same thing we’re going through. Like I said, this Tampa 2 does work. Dallas was last in the league last year and they’ve turned things around. It just takes time. We’re going to keep working.”
But McCoy also added that the issues the Bucs are having defensively somewhat has to do with an attitude.
“I can’t say that it’s assignment (related). There are a lot of times when we’re out of place, but guys know what they have to do. They’re just not doing it. That’s a mentality thing. It’s about being better than the guy you’re facing or more physical the guy you’re facing or playing harder than the guy you’re facing. You want to be smarter than that guy. It’s just simple things. It’s not like we’re going to out scheme them or try to trick them. If I have a reach block with a guard, I have to beat him, make the ball carrier cut back and let everything else fall into place.”