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McCoy growing as a leader

Posted Jul 25, 2013 by Ira Kaufman

Updated Jul 25, 2013 at 02:43 PM

BY IRA KAUFMAN

TAMPA—It’s hard to lead from the sick bay.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy has natural leadership skills, but his ability to command an audience was compromised during his first two NFL seasons due to triceps injuries. In 2012, McCoy played in all 16 games and earned a Pro Bowl berth while anchiring the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense and posting five sacks.

One of the major themes in Tampa Bay’s second training camp under coach Greg Schiano involves McCoy’s new role as the undisputed leader of a young defenses eager to atone for a disappointing performance last fall.

“Gerald’s leading the whole group and it’s cool to see,’’ said assistant defensive coordinator Bob Fraser. “It seems like he’s more comfortable with the coaching staff and the system we’re playing. Don’t forget, he was hurt the previous two years. I don’t care how good you are—when you’re not in there, it’s difficult to lead. Gerald McCoy is going to be something very, very special.’‘

McCoy said he embraces an enhanced leadership role following the retirement of cornerback Ronde Barber.

“I’m just kind of filling in and taking the leadership I had to a different level,’’ said MCoy, who will have a new partner on the interior line following the free-agent departure of Roy Miller.

Third-year defensive end Adrian Clayborn, returning from knee surgery, said he has no problem with McCoy’s stature as the leader of the Buc defense. Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan welcomes the move.

“He had so much success last year and that gets contagious,’’ Sheridan said. “You can get addicted to that. He’s just ready to go off.’‘

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