Gerald McCoy: Bucs' defense needs to establish identity

Gerald McCoy says the Bucs must develop a stronger identity on defense this season. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. -- One thing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense lacked last season was an identity.

The Bucs didn't excel in any defensive area and ranked 25th in total defense. All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Tuesday that has to change this season and he has a clear picture of what the Tampa Bay defense should look like.

"When the ball is thrown or the ball commits, all 11 hats to the ball," McCoy said. "Those guys just swarm the ball and if you're not careful with the ball they'll take it from you. That has to be our identity and we have to make people fear coming to [Raymond James Stadium]."

With rookie Jameis Winston starting at quarterback, there will be additional pressure on the defense.

"We want to make things as easy as possible for him," McCoy said. "He's a great talent, a very smart guy. But any opportunity, not just for a rookie but any quarterback you have, if you have a talented playmaker at quarterback you want to give him as many opportunities as possible. We've got to have each other's back. It's our job to score or get the ball back. Put it back in the offense's hands. We just want to do that as much as possible."

McCoy already has had a successful career but he said he needs to do even more this season.

"Just take my game to the next level," McCoy said. "That next level is when we have an opportunity to get off the field or we have an opportunity to end the game, help put my team in the best position to do that. I don't always have to be making the play. Whether it's taking on double teams or causing some type of disruption to help somebody else to make the play. Whatever it may be, just putting our team in the best opportunity to finish games or get off the field. That's just all I can do. Go out there every day and give it my all."