The start of NFL training camps is fast approaching, and HBO has released another trailer for ‘Hard Knocks’ featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After narrowly missing the playoffs last year with a 9-7 record, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team on the rise and a trendy pick to make the postseason this year. HBO doesn’t always wind up with a team like that for Hard Knocks, their show that goes behind the scenes of training camp. But the Buccaneers fit the league’s criteria to take part, and they lobbied for the invitation from HBO.
In early May, HBO released the first trailer for this year’s edition of Hard Knocks, featuring Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston prominently. On Thursday the second trailer was released by the network, with a player on the other side of the ball featured prominently in the clip.
If the Buccaneers are going to win more games and make the playoffs this year, some statistical improvement from the defense will be absolutely necessary. They were just 23rd in the league in total defense last year (367.9 yards per game), but they were top-10 in sacks (38) and interceptions (17) with the third-most takeaways in the league (39).
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had two forced fumbles and recovered two fumbles last year, but his sack total (6.5) fell below 8.5 for the first time since 2012 as he played through multiple injuries (shoulder, calf, foot). A healthy resurgence in McCoy’s pass rush productivity will be key for Tampa Bay in 2017, and the second Hard Knocks preview clip exclusively featuring him shows his importance.
McCoy has made five straight Pro Bowls, with only nine players in the league topping his 37.5 sacks over that span. He’s also not really a major household name on a national level, but that may be set to change when Hard Knocks starts on Aug. 8.