Tampa Bay Buccaneers go back to basics a week after losing a lead to the Giants

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy waves a towel around in this picture (Associated Press)

The Bucs have been in the news this week, which really isn’t something you said in 2011. But with the last-second kneel-down vs. the Giants drawing a discussion, that’s reality. In fact, there will be a fascinating interview with Bucs coach Greg Schiano by Melissa Stark on Sunday morning’s First on the Field.

Lost in all this is that the Bucs let a late lead slip against the Giants, losing after being up 11. Now, they’re gearing up to face the Cowboys, which is the game I’m covering Sunday. For some prep work, I spoke with Bucs DT Gerald McCoy about the week.

First of all, he began the phone call with a memorable introduction: “Iaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn!!!!” McCoy said. “If you heard anything about me being awkward, it’s all true.” Then, he laughed heartily. It was hilarious. Second of all, McCoy just got engaged.

But McCoy also talked about the week of practice, a very serious week. He wouldn’t discuss the kneel-down, a show of focus that probably bodes well. When I asked him, he simply said he had offered all he had in post-game. Fine. Noteworthy was the slight change in gameplan for preparation. We were talking about how to stop Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray, and McCoy offered his view.

Do our job,” McCoy told me. “Coach told us to do our job, they’ve given us a very simple game plan. And if we go out there and execute, we think we have a very good shot to stop the run.”

That’s how the Bucs will respond. By going back to the drawing board and getting back to simple football stuff. It’s what Schiano, the former Rutgers coach, harped on during the preseason.

Yeah, I mean, we have to get back to the basics,” McCoy continued. “I think we kind of got away from the basics for a second and we have to get back to the basics. Playing through our man and not looking in the backfield and trying to make the play. Just do our jobs and let the plays come to us.

Aside from a woeful fourth quarter against the G-Men, the Bucs have been impressive. Certainly, for a team that bottomed out last year, the future seems bright. More people are talking about them, at least, though McCoy said, “People going to notice what they notice.” Yeah, he doesn’t care about the attention.

But he does know they have a real opportunity with a reeling Cowboys team, but they have to seize it.

Well, the Cowboys, they’re America’s team a lot of people like to say so,” McCoy said. “You never want to underestimate them at any point, whether they’ve been playing well or playing bad. And that’s not to say whether they’ve been doing either one. That’s just the general way you have to view the Cowboys.

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