THE OPTIMIST: Defending Gerald McCoy

November 5th, 2011

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe also brings you THE OPTIMIST

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, 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.

21 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Defending Gerald McCoy”

  1. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Hey Niko- Thomas and his ilk call shenanigans. If you are a DT draft in round 1 and you aren’t Sapp you are a bust. Maybe they should just stick to their Sports Illustrated Bucs Super Bowl season DVD’s cuz nothing else will ever measure up to them. Unless of course these current Bucs eventually bring us to the promised land and then they will vehemently claim how they believed from day one.

  2. leroy Buttermilk Says:

    keep rotating the beef fresh produce produces productive results. he’s not a sack master or a speed rusher but will conrtibute in helping establish the ends and backers to get sacks.Miller Price and Oakam need to shed blocks and disrupt the passing lanes. inconsistancy in stuffing the run and minimal pass rush will keep this team out of the playoffs again. Gap integ and consistancy in safety play will need to improve sean jones is helter skelter over persueing and taking terrible angles. We need another Tjax Dexter Jackson or John Lynch.The Buccaneers never repleneshed some of the best safties from the superbowl era Dexter Jackson John Lynch Dwight Smith cory Ivy. I see Grim being a kid thats going to find himslef off the field for a majority of his short career great undersized player but not your average durable nfl player.

  3. Capt.Tim Says:

    Thomas- read, digest, repeat until you get it. McCoy’s job here is to disrupt The offense, by getting penetration up the middle. He is perfect for that Job, because he posesses unique quickness. McCoy is often in the backfield as quickly as the football. He is already a disruptiveforce, and continues to improve. Nothing is more important in our Defensive schemem than pressure up the middle. Nothing. We are very lucky to have acquired a player with the exact skill set needed for key position. The key to our success for years to come will be Gerald McCoy. With the offseason training and hard work he’s already put in, I couldn’t be happier about that

  4. Jonny Says:

    I don’t even know who this Optimist guy is trying to convey the message. Fans that watch and understand the game know that McCoy has been impressive this year, even though it does not show up in stats. If his message is to guys like Thomas, he is again wasting his time. Unless the stat sheet has all attractive numbers these guys do not get satisfied.

  5. thomas 2.2 Says:

    It is not just sacks, tackles, TFL’s and pressures on non-trap / screen plays that Softy is not producing.

    Last year Softy had 28 total tackles (including assists) to Suh’s 66.

    The fatal flaw in this new “disruption” stat is that it is purely subjective. Those with an agenda will disagree with the objective about what constitutes disruption. That is why we grade performance on objective criteria. Before Softy was drafted, the measuring stick was always the same. Now you have player who stinks by objective criteria so the sheep must change the criteria to have any argument at all.
    Most of you sheep have no clue what a trap, screen draw or play designed to allow the tackle an outside release to “pop” the tight end or slot “z” receiver through the D tackles vacated gap. That is what the Pats were doing with Welker and I was hearing idiots bragging about Softy’s penetration on those plays – foolish.

    Get this through your heads: Mccoy is a gap jumper, offensive coordinators design plays, both pass and runs, to take advantage of this – you allow penetration by pushing him the direction he wants to go and hit the play, trap screen, draw or pop pass, right through the vacated area. It is basic playcalling that you will see today.

    Price and Okam both are strong enough to beat the guard physically so it is MUCH more difficult to trap, screen or draw them
    Bc they may choose to go through the guard. One day you sheep will figure this out.
    Clay, Price and Bowers are perfectly capable of being evaluated objectively like the rest of the league.

  6. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @THomas Everything you wrote about Price and Okam was subjective, so how do you quantify them being evaluated subjectively? It is just odd that most people see it as I do, yet you believe your opinions are objective.

  7. BigMacAttack Says:

    Good stuff Nick.

    T2, back with Suh thing again. Suh will never be a Buc, had no shot at becoming a Buc. Thomas your best bet is move to Detroit and just get all the way up in that band wagon. This is Tampa Bay, this is our team, these are our Coaches, and if you don’t like it, you know where the door is. I can only imagine a week helpless being like yourself walking up to GMC and calling him “Softy”. He’d probably just laugh it off, pat you on the head and buy you an ice cream. Woe is you, what a miserable life you must lead. You know if you can’t get a woman, you can always rent one, or go plastic. Just save up your allowance, or let me know, I’d gladly throw down if it helps get you laid.

  8. Capt.Tim Says:

    And don’t think that Suh is some great player. He was invisible here. And he’s catching alot of heat in Detroit. He has gotten a lot of stupid personal foul penalties. Several at the end of games, that have really hurt his team. He may have great raw talent, but he isn’t dominating any games, and his his penalties are affecting games more than his play.

    McCoy is taylor made for this defense. It’s rare to find someone who fits a team that perfectly. There is a LB that we will be desperate to draft this year, for the same reason- he is a perfect fit.

    I would chose McCoy over Suh everytime. McCoys speed is something you don’t see in DTs, and that’s what will drive this defense for years.

    Again, Thomas ole buddy, you picked the wrong guy to bash. Lots to chose from. Just pick one, and let the McCoy thing go. It hurts whatever credibility you still cling to.

  9. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Capt Tim: what you just said is so ridiculous I almost fell over laughing.

    A recent article had Suh as one of the top players to start a franchise with. Suh was first team All Pro, voted starter of the pro bowl, and top 10 NFL defensive player of the year. McCoy by at least one group I linked to previously was labeled the biggest “bust” of the 2010 draft. Google it.
    Suh is catching heat for being too physical. Recent poll had Suh as the 3rd most feared player in the NFL by players and coaches. Google it. Not surprisingly Softy’s name wasn’t mentioned. He is probably on the most fearful list. Nobody has ever mentioned Softy
    As far as Suh being off to a slower start than last year, that is true, he has 3 sacks through 7 games (the same amount McCoy had all of last year) but his tackles are on about the same pace (also his tackle numbers are about McCoys for all of last year). If you compare them, so far Suh is three times more productive. Let’s wait until year end to see what Suh’s stats are. I will bet anything he is named all-pro again.
    Softy was not my branding, that came from a local radio host.

  10. Leighroy Says:

    Thomas your an idiot, because your 100% correct, but don’t see the next step in the bucs defensive playcalling. Yes, McCoy is a “gap buster” and the lineman direct his flow one direction to open up a hole.

    HOW IS THIS A FLAW?? Mason Foster’s job is to then come downhill (something Ruud couldn’t do) and blow up the running back who thinks he has a hole. McCoy has now taken away a cutback lane.

    No one is measuring pressures on screen passes (what the hell is a “screen draw” btw?), and your offensive coordinator speak is frankly offensive. I have never EVER EVER heard of a play where a slot receiver runs through the DT’s.

    You make me laugh, please never go away. Youre either the worst devils advocate or the biggest clown alive, and i could never live without you, just as you could never live without McCoy being on this team, bc you’d have nothing to talk about.

  11. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Btw- every former player except arguably SGW has come out to say that McCoy has not met expectations. Now the only real argument is: will he develop into a productive player?

    He still may I grant you that. I have acknowledged that the jury is still out and he deserves two years to learn how ton play at this level.

    My point is and has been: he does not yet play like a number 3 overall being paid 50 million. He plays like a 4th rounder. Well he has been outplayed by a 4th rounder Geno Atkins from the same draft. I would straight up make that trade today. Atkins is a force.

  12. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Leigh Roy: the slot receiver of course does not run through the b gap, that is the passing lane for the pop to the z.

  13. flmike Says:

    You’re never going to give GMC his due, so I am no longer going to try and make that argument. But your love of all things Suh is kinda wack. We have seen Suh before, in many shapes and sizes, Bosworth comes to mind. Incredibly college player who in their rookie season was all pro caliber and had a ceiling as high as anyone, but then teams began to scheme and gameplan him and he didn’t grow or expand his game, obviously Suh hasn’t expanded his game as he is being easily handled by scheme and plan this season, but that could be due to no off-season time with his position coaches, hmmm, that no off season thing again.

  14. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    Thomas ‘micropenis’ 2.2’s obsession with McCoy is a case example of phallic envy, his constant compulsion to note Gerald’s penetration”pop” and sac(k) capacity is evident Gerald’s Dravidian manhood threatens his pencil eraser to having erotic attractions and “subjective” thoughts of phallophilia. No hard feelings, 2.2, Bucs fans love to be reminded of how great a “gap jumper” McCoy can be.

  15. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    THomas- glad you think being voted to the pro bowl means something. Everyone who knows a damn about football knows the pro bowl is nothing but a popularity contest. Suh is not considered a strong run defender. Thats where his sacks come from. Selling out against the pass while he ignores his run responsibilities. A defensive tackles #1 responsibility is to stuff the run period and McCoy has done that better than Suh this year and still managed to get plenty of pressure. Not sure why you still post here. Just go root for the lions and then you can bandy about with lame ass Lions fans about how great Suh is. Oh by the way dumbass- Suh has all of 3 sacks this year. I see you getting nervous. The better McCoy gets and the more Suh continues to come back to earth the more irrational and ludicrous your arguments against McCoy get. You must be stretch armstrong with how far you are reaching these days to bash GMC. You are the ONLY person on earth that thinks McCoy is purposefully being let into opposing backfields with “trap” blocking.

  16. thomas 2.2 Says:

    Bkny: some of that was funny but you sure seem obsessed with male genatalia.

    Beckles: there is no disputing when a trap, draw or middle screen is run, and yes you do release the tackle into your backfield.

    Every pro and college offense runs an A gap trap against a 4-3 one gap defense where the tackle is released to be trapped by a pulling guard or tackle with the playside guard putting his hands on the tackle, releasing the tackle and having that guard get out on the backer which frees up the fullback or tightend to pick up the will backer or safety. You will see this play today. Teams also like to run the draw out of the shotgun with the back on the opposite side of mccoy taking the handoff and crossing to mccoys gap. This is a great play against the bucs on 3rd and 4-7.

  17. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    @Micropenis: I’ve an obsession? Obsession is your shortcoming.

  18. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Thomas- those plays aren’t being run idiot. You are just making crap up. Of course you will continue to do so no matter how obvious it becomes that McCoy is a good player. I find it hilarious that you refuse to admit the Bucs have gotten exactly ZERO penetration from inside pass rushers(Okam, Price, Miller) since McCoy went down. We are all tired of you PRETENDING to think McCoy sucks just so you dont have to admit you were WRONG. I have zero doubt that you root for the Bucs to lose every week just so you can be “right” about Raheem. If the Bucs won a Super Bowl with Raheem you would probably commit suicide. I sincerely hope you get some pyschiatric help. A good anti-psychotic will help clear up those delusions. What a fan you are guy.

  19. thomas 2.2 Says:

    Great having mccoy back, 100 yards rushing allowed through a quarter and a half.

  20. David Clark Says:

    Yeah I totally agree.

  21. Paul Says:

    Give GMC some credit. Lets all I am going to say!