Two Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive starters undermined by injuries the past two years have impressed a new coaching staff through the first week of training camp.
Head coach Greg Schiano praised the efforts of cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy after Wednesday's practice, which ended just before a heavy rain shower doused the fields and soaked fans departing the team facility.
Talib has been plagued by hip and hamstring issues while McCoy tore a different bicep in each of his first two pro seasons.
"I think he (Talib) has done a very good job,'' Schiano said of the talented fifth-year pro who has been troubled by off-field issues. "He's trying to do some things that are new, but he's very coachable.
"He's getting in better football shape, which is important at corner. You run all day and nobody cares, but there's five or six plays that your whole day is based on. It's not easy.''
Talib said he's eager to be a factor in run support for a unit that finished last in the league in rushing defense in 2011.
"The first thing you want to do as a defense is stop the run and that's 11 guys to the ball,'' Talib said. "I'm included.''
McCoy has missed 13 games since the Bucs selected him out of Oklahoma with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft.
"Gerald's really practiced well,'' said Schiano. "I think he's got elite get-off. I haven't been around a lot of guys like that, maybe two or three. We just need to keep working and developing technique. He'd be further along if he hadn't had the injuries the last two years. I think he can be a really special player.''