Buccaneers confident revamped pass rush will be better

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Gerald McCoy knows better than to draw any conclusions from preseason success.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the NFL with 16 sacks — one more than the Denver Broncos, however the four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle isn’t ready to declare the team has fixed its pass rush.

“It’s only preseason, it doesn’t count until Sunday,” McCoy said looking ahead to the Bucs’ regular-season opener against NFC South rival Atlanta.

“Yes, it’s a positive and we can build off that. We’ve shown that we can get there, but … everything changes when it counts,” he added. “Game plans, matchups, tempo all that stuff changes. So, it’s a positive we can build off of, but it doesn’t matter until Sunday.”

Bolstering an inconsistent pass rush and improving a porous secondary were the team’s top priorities during the offseason. The Bucs finished with 38 sacks last season, when opposing quarterbacks completed 70 percent of their passes and threw for 31 touchdowns.

General manager Jason Licht signed defensive end Robert Ayers Junior, four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes and linebacker Daryl Smith in free agency, then used the club’s first two picks in the draft to select cornerback Vernon Hargreaves the Third and pass rusher Noah Spence.

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