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The Buccaneers have invested a healthy, or not-so-healthy, amount of recent draft picks on building a defensive front that would mimic the days of Sapp, McFarland and Rice.
Injuries have limited DT Gerald McCoy, who has yet to finish an NFL season injury-free. According to Warren Sapp, they’re injuries that can be avoided by adjusting his playing style. The former All-Pro will work with McCoy prior to training camp.
“This ain’t rocket science. I'm not going to give him the formula to become the next tyrant on the field. But I promise you, you’ll see a much…more improved and a much more complete player on the field this year. I guarantee that,” said Sapp, via 620WDAE.
Problems in 2012 have already begun for the DL. DE Da’Quan Bowers suffered a torn Achilles tendon in early May. DT Brian Price has been away from the team for much of the offseason program dealing with the loss of his sister in a car accident.
Coach Schiano told tbo.com that this is a prime opportunity for other players to perform at the starting level.
“That’s the nature of team sports,” he said. “When someone goes down, it’s another man’s opportunity. We’ll work at it and Michael Bennett and George Johnson are going to step up. Certainly Adrian (Clayborn) on the other side. We’ll make sure we have a group out there.”
The Bucs' DL will need to perform far better than last year if the Bucs want any type of success in 2012. Last year’s DL registered just 17.0 total sacks. In comparison, the league leader, the Vikings' Jared Allen, single-handedly recorded 22.0 on his own. By all accounts, the offense should be better this season, which will keep the defensive unit off the field a little bit more than in 2011.