Tampa, Florida -- The lion's share of the questions lately at One Buc Place have been about Tampa Bay's new-look offense. It's understandable given that the team spent all six of its draft picks on offensive players.
But, Lovie Smith, at his core, is a defensive mind. He made his living in the NFL as an assistant and head coach as a defensive genius. It's what helped get him and his Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl.
It's also what has him excited about the upcoming season with his new team.
"We're going to be a good football team and in order to be a good football team we have to play great, not good, but great defense and I think we will," Smith told reporters after Tuesday's team workout.
One reason Smith can feel so confident is because of the only man left from the 2009 Bucs roster: Gerald McCoy.
"Gerald has been just the perfect student, number one," said Smith. "He comes out every day, he's the first guy in every drill, he's running to the football, you can't ask for anything more in a defensive lineman than what Gerald McCoy is doing."
McCoy had the best season of his career a year ago racking up 35 tackles and 9.5 sacks. He's excited to be in Smith's new defensive plans.
"I love it. It's just up the field penetrating front, cover two coverage and it really just depends on the defensive line to take care of the pass game," he said. "They always tell us if you're not rushing, you're stealing. We've got to get to the quarterback and it makes it easier on everybody else."
McCoy returns to a unit that ranked in the middle of the pack last season in total defense but is optimistic about the 2014 season because of Smith's winning influence and attitude."
"It's a great defense to play in and once everybody figures it out and have the ins and outs of it, it's going to be scary," said McCoy. "We don't even have [safeties] Mark Barron or Dashon Goldson going with us right now, you add those two and it's like 'sheesh.' "