With the Bucs drafting exclusively on the offensive side off the ball, the defense is temporarily the forgotten bunch. In the public eye, they've been under the radar.
"You say we're flying under the radar?” Gerald McCoy asked quizzically.
At OTAs there's no missing Gerald McCoy. Lovie Smith is keeping a keen eye on his two-time Pro Bowler.
"Gerald has been just the perfect student, number one, to just buy into the coaching that he's getting,” Smith said. “He's a great player, that's established, he's a great player, but what do you do from there? And he comes out every day, he's the first guy in every drill, he's running to the football, you can't ask for anything more in a defensive lineman than what Gerald McCoy is doing."
The Tampa 2 defense is good fit for McCoy and it's bringing high praise from a teammate on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
"You look at the team,” said Evan Dietrich-Smith. “I look at our defense. It's a top 10 defense."
Lovie doesn't mind the early compliment.
"Do I like that talk of us being a top 10 defense? Or top 10 offense for that matter? Evan has been around a long time, he's seen a lot of defenses, and I think we're going to be a good football team, offense, defense and special teams, said Smith. I would hope our players see the same thing."
McCoy agrees with the Bucs new center.
"It's a great defense to play in and once everybody figures it out and [has] the ins and outs of it, it's going to be scary,” McCoy said. “We don't even have [safeties] Mark Barron or Dashon Goldson going with us right now, you add those two and it's like 'sheesh.'"
Success for the Bucs defense starts up front with #93. It's Lovie Smith's priority to keep McCoy in a Bucs uniform for a long time. The Bucs have started contract extension talks with his agent. Which is good news to McCoy, even if it's not on the forefront of his mind.
"I don't know nothing about that,” McCoy said coyly. “I just come to work and practice. Until there is a paper to sign, I don't know nothing about a contract."
Told that his coach said getting him an extension is one of the priorities.
"That's cool,” McCoy said with a smile. “That sounds good, but hey, I'm not worried about that right now."
The Bucs believe they're working with the right pieces. The preparation is a long process that they're hoping leads them to backing up all of the talk.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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