The Buccaneers have a new coach, a new G.M., and a new attitude. With Lovie Smith back more than a decade after leaving for the Rams (where he served as defensive coordinator), a new-old attitude has returned to the Tampa defense.
“Everything is about changing the mentality of the Bucs, and bringing a different sense of urgency and a different mindset to the team,” defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told Thursday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN. “They say it’s about to be a track meet, meaning we’re going to run on defense, that’s what we’re going to be about and, you know, I love it. I’ve watched a lot of the old tapes with [Warren] Sapp and [Derrick] Brooks, those guys when they were in that team, and you know, if you look at them at practice it looks like a game, because you’ve got 11 hats to the ball, and it looks they’re just trained soldiers. And Lovie was around the system, coach [Leslie] Frazier was around it, so the mix of those two is going to be a lot of fun.”
McCoy thinks the end result will be that he and linebacker Lavonte David will be playing like Sapp and Brooks once did.
“I think I’ll have a lot more freedom, honestly,” McCoy said. “You get me and Lavonte David partnered up and we cover each other up, the same way Sapp and Brooks did that made their careers so great. Of course, they did a lot of other things individually, you know, preparing the stuff, but just on the field as far as covering each other up I think that’s what me and Lavonte are going to have the opportunity to do. They’re going to put us in the best positions to make plays for the team, the rest is going to be on our backs.”
McCoy and David already have shown they’re highly competent. It’ll be intriguing to see what they can do in the defense that brought the Bucs their only NFL title.