Tim Ryan Has Harsh Words For Bucs’ CornersFebruary 11th, 2013
Late on a non-football Sunday evening after watching a glut of the “America’s Game” marathon on the NFL Network, — in order for Joe to get his football fix (man, what a long six months we have ahead of us) – Joe tried to think of a more intelligent football show than “Movin’ the Chains,” co-hosted by Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan, heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio. If you like X’s and O’s chatter, there is no better show. Joe had a chance to talk to Ryan at Super Bowl Media Day and, always gracious to Joe, Ryan completely went off on the Bucs’ corners. Notice how Bucs fans said if the Bucs could only pressure quarterbacks it would have helped the secondary? Hogwash, Ryan told Joe. He said the Bucs’ corners were so awful, the Bucs ‘defensive line never had a chance to rack up many sacks. Ryan, also an NFL game analyst for FOX, discussed other Bucs goodies.
JoeBucsFan: Gerald McCoy. He was finally healthy [in 2012]. Obviously he made the Pro Bowl. Is he finally starting to show what he is capable of?
Tim Ryan: Gerald has shown what he is capable of throughout his career. Problem was, he was unable to stay healthy with the biceps tears. Look, you have to link up the rush with the pass coverage behind it, with the linebacker coverage, with the corner coverage. It hasn’t been good. Look at who was covering [receivers]. Put it this way, if [GMC] had top-flight corners or Ronde [Barber] in his prime and Aqib Talib or Brian Kelly when he was playing great, Gerald McCoy would be a double-digit sack guy. Dominant, dominant player and he makes it work up front for Tampa.
Joe: Well, a lot of fans have said about the Bucs corners, if the team got any kind of a pass rush …
Ryan: No, that’s garbage.
Joe: It is?
Ryan: That’s garbage. Look, if Gerald – the ball is coming out [of the quarterback’s hands] in two and a half, three seconds with most teams and Gerald is close a lot. Watch him defend the run. Watch him do the things he does. Watch his pad level. Watch his ability to get to the edge. He plays football like a traditional defensive lineman. I have said it all year. I have studied Tampa a lot and I have studied the Lions a lot. Ndamukong Suh is a great player. He’s a different kind of player. But Gerald McCoy is playing better football than Ndamukong Suh.
Joe: Better rookie: Lavonte David or Doug Martin?
Ryan: Ooohhh, that’s a hard one. Hard to compare and contrast a run-and-hit linebacker to a running back. I would say that running back is so instinctual and innate and those guys are born with it, not taking anything away from Dougie Martin who is fantastic, but I would go with Lavonte David.
Joe: I think I may be the only guy in America who has written this, but the unsung hero on Greg Schiano’s staff is front seven coach Bryan Cox. The Bucs were horrid at stopping the run in 2011 and this year they were the best. It seems Cox had a major hand in that transformation. Your thoughts?
Ryan: He has a great hand in it. Look at how dominant they were in defending the run, understanding gap control and where the linebackers fit. Bryan Cox didn’t cover a lot of people in his time. He defended the run and rushed the passer. He needs to help those linebackers figure out coverage because they were lacking, no question about it, especially right down the middle.
Joe: Anything to add about Josh Freeman? Is he going to turn the corner or is he going to be who he was this past year, when you didn’t know if the good Josh or the bad Josh would show up?
Ryan: Yeah, I don’t know; that remains to be seen. I’m a big fan of Josh Freeman. I think if he can completely get himself right off the field – I know he is a hard worker – but in terms of – I know he works on his body and all that – but really make football his life. I’m not saying it isn’t, but if he does what the Tom Bradys of the world do and the Peyton Mannings, some of these guys, he certainly has the talent to be right up there.