TAMPA — Defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh have been linked ever since they were chosen with consecutive picks in the 2010 draft.
On Sunday at Ford Field, they compete to see who emerges as a more disruptive force when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) take on the Detroit Lions (6-4).
“I think both of them have lived up to their draft status,’’ Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday. “You can’t judge one against another. They’re different style players, they do different things, but both are outstanding at what they do.’’
McCoy, chosen at No. 3 one pick behind Suh, is coming off a three-sack effort against Atlanta. After two injury-marred seasons for the Bucs, McCoy made the Pro Bowl last year and he leads Tampa Bay with six sacks in 2013.
Since entering the league, Suh has posted the most combined sacks and tackles for loss on rushing plays (48) among NFL defensive tackles.
“Suh plays hard and he’s physically gifted,’’ Bucs guard Davin Joseph said. “He’s athletic and when he’s on, he’s on. I’ve been saying for a long time that Gerald’s the best defensive tackle in the league. This is nothing new for me because I go against him in practice.’’
While Suh imposes his will with sheer power, McCoy relies on quickness and rare burst off the snap.
“There is no comparison — he plays for Detroit and I play for Tampa,’’ McCoy said. “There’s not going to be a faceoff between me and Suh because we’re both on defense. I wish him the best and I’m sure he wishes me the best. He’s a cool cat, laid back. He’s a real physical football player. He’s not dirty, just physical.”
Bucs RB Bobby Rainey, who rushed for 163 yards and scored three touchdowns in Sunday’s 41-28 victory against the Falcons, was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Rainey was claimed off waivers from Cleveland a month ago and sparked Tampa Bay to its highest point total against Atlanta since 1987.
“It’s really the offensive line, the way they came out and blocked is huge,’’ Rainey said. “It’s something to build off, it’s a great feeling.’’
Rainey has made the most of his opportunity in an overhauled backfield, following season-ending injuries to Doug Martin (shoulder) and rookie Mike James (ankle).
“For me, it’s just going in and proving yourself every week and having a chip on your shoulder,’’ Rainey said. “I have a lot to prove, not just to everybody else, but to myself.’’
Matter of interpretation
Bucs coach Greg Schiano spoke to Lions reporters on a conference call Wednesday and at least one member of the Detroit media came away believing Schiano hung up suddenly after a question about how the team is dealing with the MRSA issue.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Schiano ended the call abruptly, just shy of the six-minute mark, after he was asked whether MRSA has been cleared up in the facility. Three Bucs players have been treated this season for MRSA, a highly contagious form of staph infection.
After Schiano’s 45-second response, he signed off.
Bucs spokesman Nelson Luis disagreed that Schiano ended the call in abrupt fashion. On an audio tape of the session, Luis can be heard informing reporters that Schiano would field two more questions. The second question pertained to MRSA.