Pictures of the Buccaneers during the 2016 preseason games.
The Buccaneers went into the 2016 offseason with a few goals - boosting the pass-rush and improving the secondary being two of them. The team addressed the defensive line in nearly every way possible: they signed a marquee free agent, drafted a standout pass-rush specialist and hired one of the best defensive line coaches in the league.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter got a preview of what that re-vamped unit will look like during the Bucs' four preseason games. He has all the reason to be confident in his pass-rushers after they accumulated 16 sacks, which were the most of any team. It wasn't a one-man show, either. Thirteen players were credited with at least one-half of a sack during the preseason.
"I think they proved in preseason that we have good depth on the D-line because we kept a good pass rush," Koetter said during a press conference on Monday. "Other than one of the four games, we had consistent pass rush and I think we do have really good depth.
"And I also think our defensive staff, led by [Defensive Coordinator] Mike [Smith] is doing a really good job of moving those guys around. They're really playing offense with defensive players. That's what offenses do, they move guys into different positions to try and get them on matchups and our defense is doing the same thing with the pass rush right now."
WATCH: MONDAY'S PRESS CONFERENCES
The Buccaneers are set to face one of the more dynamic offenses in the league when they travel to Atlanta to play Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and the Falcons on Sunday.
Whether it's Gerald McCoy, Robert Ayers, Jacquies Smith, Noah Spence or any of the other pass-rushers who stood out in the preseason, it would go a long way towards a Buccaneer victory if they could continue to build on the momentum they built in the preseason.
"We've shown that we can get there," McCoy told reporters on Monday, "but you guys have been doing this longer than I have, you know everything changes (in the regular season) when it counts. Game plans, matchups, tempo all that stuff changes, so it's a positive we can build off of, but it [doesn't] matter until Sunday."