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Gerald McCoy: We can be Sapp and Brooks

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will run to the ball with their versions of Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.


Gerald McCoy talked to Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, discussing the team's new defense under Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier.

"I think I'll have a lot more freedom, honestly," McCoy told Pro Football Talk. "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."

In the old Tampa 2 defense, Warren Sapp played the three-technique defensive tackle, and Derrick Brooks lined up right behind him. That gave Brooks the room to run free, and allowed Sapp to get to the passer on every down. It's exactly what the Bucs will try to get out of McCoy and David going forward.

Pro Football Talk themselves focused on McCoy saying it was going to be a track meet. "We're going to run on defense," McCoy said. "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 Sapp and 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 like they're just trained soldiers."

Of course, this is not actually new. Raheem Morris tried to instill that in the Bucs' defense -- and failed. Greg Schiano focused on running to the ball as well, to much greater success. That led to a dominant run defense in 2012 and a still pretty good one in 2013. Running to the ball was not an issue for the Bucs the past two years.

There will be other new things, though. The focus will be on rushing the passer with the front four, from a 4-3 alignment. Gerald McCoy will get to play three-technique on every down. Stunts won't be gone, but they'll make more sense and they'll actually take advantage of McCoy's abilities. There should be far fewer communication issues, given the fact that discipline and communication have always been hallmarks of Frazier's and Smith's defenses.

In short: this defense should be lots of fun to watch.