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CB Vernon Hargreaves III left

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TAMPA Jarrad Davis Jersey , Fla. (AP) — Gerald McCoy says he’s approaching his ninth training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the same way he has all the others.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection really doesn’t feel there’s any reason to change because attitude is a big part of his success.

“I always try and stay in the rookie mindset, always willing to learn more, knowing I can learn more, and just do my best to learn more,” the 29-year-old defensive tackle said.

“I’m not Gerald McCoy. I’m No. 93 on a 91-man roster, trying to make the team. Once I make the team, then I’ll be Gerald McCoy. … Until then, I’m just another guy trying to make the team.”

It’s not the first time a player of his stature has claimed the same thing, but there’s no disputing the 6-foot-4, 300-pound McCoy’s desire to get better and help the Bucs re-emerge as contenders.

Tampa Bay has missed the playoffs the past 10 seasons, the second-longest drought in the NFL behind the Cleveland Browns, who haven’t earned a playoff berth since 2002.

McCoy, who has 48½ career sacks and has been selected to play in six consecutive Pro Bowls, was the third overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Personal success Youth James Daniels Jersey , however, has been bittersweet.

A year ago, Tampa Bay’s defense ranked at or near the bottom of league rankings in several key categories, including passing, total yards and points allowed, as well as sacks and third-down efficiency.

General manager Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter are counting on the trend changing after upgrading around McCoy with the offseason acquisition of veteran defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul, Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein, as well as first-round draft pick Vita Vea.

Pierre-Paul had 58½ sacks over the past eight seasons with the New York Giants. Allen and Curry were productive members of a deep defensive line rotation that helped the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl last winter, while Unrein was part of Denver’s AFC championship team five years ago. Vea was the 12th pick of the draft.

Understandably, McCoy is excited.

“We brought in four new guys that have all played in a Super Bowl, and three of them have won it. That’s a lot of experience. Guys who know what to do and how to do it — do it the right way,” the ninth-year pro said.

“Just the (defensive line) room overall is different, a lot of experience Dorance Armstrong Jr. Jersey , and a lot of knowledge. Guys bouncing ideas off of each other, things you’ve never heard before. … It’s only just going to make us great in the long run,” McCoy added. “But, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Curry, who started every game for the Eagles last season, said the linemen are building chemistry and learning more and more about each other every day in practice.

“My biggest thing is I’m telling everyone: winning is contagious,” Curry said.

“It’s the National Football League, everybody is good,” Curry added. “It comes down to discipline and how bad do you want it.”

McCoy is doing his part, too.

In addition to picking the brains of the veteran newcomers, he has been spending extra time after practice helping some of the younger players trying to earn jobs.

McCoy recalls the early years of his career, when there weren’t any experienced defensive linemen on the team to take him under their wings.

“I can honestly say I had no help. When I say help, I mean guidance as far as how to play this (pro) game, at least from a defensive line standpoint http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/patrick-dimarco-jersey ,” McCoy said. “I don’t want any D-linemen to come through Tampa, while I’m here, and be able to say that. … I never want guys to have to experience what I did.”

Back in a game for the first time in 20 months, Ryan Tannehill had plenty of time to throw Thursday night.

"The protection was awesome," coach Adam Gase said. "He was back there peeling an orange."

An untouched Tannehill completed passes on the first four plays in his return from two serious injuries to his left knee, and the Miami Dolphins lost their exhibition opener to Tampa Bay 26-24.

Tannehill, seeing his first action since December 2016, led a 40-yard drive that ended with a missed field goal in his only series. He was off-target on his final two throws and finished 4 for 6 for 32 yards.

"We didn't end up with points, which is what you want to do," Tannehill said. "But I thought for our first time hitting the field, my first time hitting the field in a long time, it felt good to be back out there."

New Buccaneers kicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 26-yard field goal with 23 seconds left to cap a 67-yard drive and give them the win.

Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston played the second quarter against Miami's second team and led a group of reserves to 10 points on drives of 32 and 40 yards. He went 11 for 13 for 102 yards in four series.

"Man, it was just great to play against another team," Winston said. He's suspended for the first three games of the regular season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bucs on a 57-yard Devon Kennard Jersey , six-play touchdown drive on their first possession. It was capped by Peyton Barber's 4-yard run.

BACKUP BATTLE

Miami's David Fales, battling Brock Osweiler for the backup quarterback job, led the second-string offense to a field goal against the Buccaneers' first-team defense. Fales also directed a 75-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, and he finished 8 of 11 for 115 yards.

Osweiler went 10 for 21 for 83 yards. Gase didn't give either reserve QB an edge in their competition.

"This is going to take all of training camp," Gase said. "It's going to take all preseason."

ROOKIE RUSHERS

Dolphins fourth-round draft pick Kalen Ballage rushed for 37 yards in 10 carries and caught three passes for 23 yards. He also lost a fumble.

Bucs second-round pick Ronald Jones was held to 9 yards in eight carries, but scored on a 2-yard run.

KICKING RESULTS

Catanzaro missed his first extra-point attempt and missed a 53-yard field goal try, but also made two field goals.

"It was great to see him have the chance to get the game-winner," coach Dirk Koetter said. "The good news is he got that missed extra point out of the way so we don't have to repeat that again. He mishit one, and I know he'll be his worst critic."

Rookie Jason Sanders, battling rookie Greg Joseph for the Dolphins' kicking job, made field goals of 29 and 23 yards but missed a 53-yarder. Joseph made a 48-yarder.

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn protested during the anthem. Stills and Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Quinn stood and raised his right fist. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers.

Stills kneeled during the anthem during the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest movement by NFL players.

INJURIES

Bucs: CB Vernon Hargreaves III left in the first quarter with a groin injury and didn't return. ... First-round draft pick DT Vita Vea didn't play. He has missed most of training camp with a calf injury.

Dolphins: Reserve LB Mike Hull left the field on a cart in the second quarter with a left knee injury.

UP NEXT

Buccaneers: Tampa Bay plays at Tennessee on Aug. 18.

Dolphins: Miami plays at Carolina on Aug. 17.

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