The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of the greatest 3-technique defensive tackles in NFL history in Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.
Now they have a worthy heir to his spot in fourth-year defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
Like Sapp, McCoy plays the 3-technique in the four-man line. He lines up opposite the outside shoulder of a guard and tries to penetrate into the backfield on each play.
McCoy, the third overall pick in 2010 out of the University of Oklahoma, made the Pro Bowl for the first time last year. This year he already has six sacks, one more than last year. He has been a consistent terror to opposing offensive lines.
“He’s having a heck of a year,” said Bills guard Kraig Urbik. “He’s one of the best D-tackles in the league, period, not just the NFC. From what I’ve heard he’s gotten good pointers from Warren Sapp. It shows this year. He’s just trying to cause havoc. He penetrates quick.”
McCoy said he speaks regularly with Sapp.
“We have a very good relationship that’s been building over the years,” McCoy said on a conference call with Buffalo reporters. “Now it’s to the point where we just talk to each other like we’ve known each other since we were kids. He calls me and tells me straight up how it is. He doesn’t try to turn me into him. He takes what I do and tries to make it better.”
Bills punter Brian Moorman quietly had a good day in Toronto. He had three clutch punts from his own territory in the second half, and they went for hang times of 5.1, 5.0 and 5.07 seconds, unofficially. The first of those was from his own end zone and went for a net of 45 yards to get the Bills out of an awful field-position spot.
Another good punting day will help against Tampa, which ranks seventh in punt-return average.
Vincent Jackson, the Bucs’ top receiver, is questionable for Sunday with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice Friday. Schiano was cautiously optimistic he would play. Backup defensive end Da’Quan Bowers (knee) is questionable. Cornerback Darrelle Revis (shoulder) is probable.
Tampa rookie QB Mike Glennon had just one interception over a six-game stretch. Then he had two INTs against Carolina last week.
“I think that’s the best thing he’s been able to do,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano said of protecting the ball. “The fact he’s been able to let a bad play die and get onto the next one. Often times with young quarterbacks, that’s the biggest challenge. They’re such great competitors, that’s how they get to be the starting quarterback, and that same competitive spirit gets in the way a little bit. When the play is not a good play and things have gone off course, throw it away or scramble or worst-case scenario take the sack. But don’t turn it over. He’s done a very good job of that.”
Long-time Bills place-kicker Rian Lindell is 18 of 24 on field-goal tries for Tampa. He has missed four kicks in the last three games. They have come from 55, 50, 48 and 35 yards.
“It’s pretty disappointing because I felt better on them,” Lindell told ESPN.com. “Sometimes, I can look back on my career and I was sick or the laces weren’t turned right or there was weird wind. But I felt better than the results.”
Lindell made 21 of 24 kicks for Buffalo last year.