THE OPTIMIST: Defending Gerald McCoyNovember 5th, 2011
THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the Buccaneers goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of BucStop.com, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.
THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.
Ask your average Bucs fan what he thinks about Gerald McCoy, and you’ll get every grade in the book.
You’ll hear what a future star he is, and you’ll get the “bust” word, too. He get’s compared to Booger McFarland and, of course Warren Sapp. The truth is, he is all of those, and none of them.
McCoy only has 18 games to his credit. He started from Day 1 in 2010, but was injured and his season was over after week 13. Some would say McCoy was just starting to come on around week 9 playing Carolina at home. He had his first five-tackle
day, with two passes defended and a fumble. The next week he got his first sack against the 49ers, then two more sacks the next week against Baltimore. After that McCoy went down.
This year McCoy got a sack in week 4 vs. the Colts, part of a six-tackle night. He got hurt the next week at San Francisco and should be back for the Saints game this tomorrow. What is not measured, however, is the penetration that McCoy gets and the
disruption that makes QBs feel uneasy. It’s exactly what he did in college, and it’s exactly why the Bucs drafted him. It’s also the same reason Bucs fans are calling him a bust.
To understand we have to do a little history lesson; Gerald McCoy’s best year at Oklahoma got him 6.5 sacks, his junior season. He went down to six in his senior year, with a grand total of 14 sacks in all three of his years with the Sooners. The Bucs did
not draft a sack machine; they drafted a defensive tackle that brings an explosive first step, quick penetration, major disruption; everything the Bucs covet from the position.
The problem in all of this is a fella we see on the NFL Network who is headed to Canton one day. Warren Sapp played the 3-technique on the Bucs D-Line just as McCoy does, but as I said, Sapp is headed to the Hall of Fame one day. Sapp is one of a kind,
once in a lifetime. To expect GMC to be another Sapp would be the same as the 49ers to expect Alex Smith to be another Joe Montana, or Bills running back Fred Jackson to be another Thurman Thomas.
Will Gerald McCoy play better? Truthfully he’s not playing that bad right now.
He is causing disruption, and that’s what the Bucs want. In the future, you’ll hear his name more and more, but it may not be sacks, it may just be pressures, which do a lot of the same thing — create turnovers.
This info. is not lost on the Bucs; they know quite well what kind of player GMC is. And yes, spending a top pick on a DT who can
control the line of scrimmage and do what you want him to do IS worth the pick.
What the Bucs are doing is drafting defensive ends around McCoy who can bull rush to the QB. The sacks won’t come from the defensive tackle positions, but from the ends instead. You can only double team one or two players; someone else is going to get to the QB.