Gerald McCoy taking leadership role with Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers worked to revamp their defensive front a year ago when they selected Gerald McCoy third overall in the draft and followed up with another tackle in the second round, UCLA’s Brian Price.

The work wasn’t done, though, as general manager Mark Dominik grabbed defensive end Adrian Clayborn in the first round this year, infusing more youth into the line.

So when the Bucs wrapped up their player-run minicamp this week in Bradenton, what did McCoy say his biggest concern was for the defense? The line, of course.

Honestly? I’m concerned about us up front,” McCoy told Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report. “My coaches and my teammates and even Free (quarterback Josh Freeman) called me and a few of the other guys called me and told me to make sure I got the defense out there. Davin (Joseph) texted me and told me to get the D-line out here. Apparently these guys feel that I am the leader of the D-line room so I take it upon myself that if the D-line isn’t running right it’s something I need to get together.

“My focus is on us up front. If we can get going – if the D-line can get rolling like we’re supposed to it will change the whole team and not just the defense.”

Only three D-linemen showed up on Thursday, the final day of the workouts. It’s impossible to read anything into that, though, as individual players have individual schedules. What’s impressive is the leadership role McCoy is working to take on defense.

“The O-line was in the weight room working out together and then they came out on the field together,” McCoy said. “They eat together and they do everything together. That’s what I want, man. That’s the only way we’re going to be dominant on the field as a defensive line. Everybody wants to be dominant and talk about it, but nobody wants to be about it.

“Don’t get me wrong. I love my D-linemen. I love those guys to death. I would do anything for them, but me being a leader I’m concerned about them. It’s just like me being a parent. I’m concerned about my kids – my pack or my group.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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