Gerald McCoy & “The Perfect Defense For Him?”

May 6th, 2019


After Gerald McCoy absolutely blew up Lions guard and first-round draft pick Frank Ragnow on a run play in the red zone last year, Bucco Bruce Arians had a message for the nation.

“What a heck of a player; he’s one of the best D-lineman in the league. And [McCoy] is in the perfect defense for him, the penetrating 3-technique,” Arians told a CBS audience during the Bucs-Lions preseason broadcast.

Yes, the Gerald McCoy mystery continues to trudge on more than a week after the draft. Whether or not he’ll be on the roster come September is still unknown.

What really has many baffled is the way the Bucs have handled the whole situation. Jason Licht, Bruce Arians and the rest of the coaching staff have been extremely tight-lipped or non-committal on McCoy.

The question is, why?

Many speculate that it has to do with his $13 million salary. The Bucs still have to sign their draft class and could use McCoy’s salary to do so.

But what if it has nothing to do with his salary? There are other ways to free up the necessary cap space to keep McCoy and sign the rookies.

The real question is what if this coaching staff just doesn’t think he’s a good fit?

Arians’ comments above came a bit before the beginning of the end for former defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who drove this team to new heights in terms of being the worst defense man has ever laid eyes on. Yet Arians believed McCoy was in the perfect defense for his skill set.

With it known the Bucs are switching to a 3-4 scheme this upcoming season, does Arians truly believe McCoy can make the switch and be effective as a full-time player?

McCoy made it clear in past years that he doesn’t like being used as a 3-4 defensive end. With Vita Vea clogging up the middle at nose tackle, it’s more likely than not that McCoy would be at defensive end for a chunk of the snaps in 2019.

Todd Bowles has said his defense is sculpted by putting players in positions to do what they do best. Putting McCoy at defensive end would go against that philosophy if you believe what Arians said. (Yeah, Arians said this spring that he has a 3-technique in his defense, but it’s not quite the same as what McCoy is used to.)

So while McCoy’s Bucs future is unclear, it’s pretty clear this defense might not be for him.

In the spirit of Kramerica Industries, has a college intern for a few months. It’s a true rarity. In addition to soaking up wisdom from The Sage of Tampa Bay sports, Zachary Seifter has a pile of Bucs knowledge himself and you’ll see some of his work here occasionally.  

22 Responses to “Gerald McCoy & “The Perfect Defense For Him?””

  1. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Agree. Questions are

    -scheme fit
    -productivity vs salary & age vs our cap

    More than anything really IMO.

    He had some tweets or quotes after our coaching changes to suggest he doesn’t care about scheme but sounds like BS. Dude didn’t want Aaron Donald or any part of scheme changes historically.

    Was super happy / content to rack up meaningless stats/accolades as the centerpiece of the worst defense in the NFL the last 10 years basically. How dare we ask him to do something different if it may be in the best interest of the team but not his stats.

  2. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    I just hope they hurry up and do something… it is getting irritating to not know what is happening. I would rather they cut him now than wait all preseason before doing it. This is an unnecessary distraction for the team and for the fans.

  3. BucsFanInBroncosLand Says:

    Meanwhile Buccaneers signed another Running Back in Kerwynn Williams makes me wonder if Andre Ellington is healthy

  4. Rachel Watson's thong Says:

    Name 0ne, just one, signature play of 93’s. Just one game changer. (I know how horrible the coaching and drafts and free agent’s have been)
    I can tell you one signature play that is burned into my brain, “Sorry Big Ben! Can I get an auto graph after the game”

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If the Bucs have ways to make room for GMC….then that means not only could they cut/trade him and save his $13mil……but that means they would be able to free-up another $13mil……so, with the $26 mil….you find a replacement for GMC…..a top RG & a RB…….most problems solved…….that’s $8.7 mil per player.

  6. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Excellent write-up, Zach!!! Keep it up!

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Whoops!!! Forgot the 9mil for draft picks

  8. bucsfaninchina Says:

    He’s a goner. Bucs just biding their time waiting for the right opportunity to move him (fingers crossed)

  9. The Buc Realist Says:

    It does almost feel a little personal doesn’t it????????????? It’s almost like some of the higher ups feel burned for some strange reason!!!!!! It is almost like that they went to bat for gmc in 2016 when he and his agent complained about being in a hybrid defense that was seeing some success and was not featuring him as the defacto under tackle!!!!!!!! It also feels like that gmc and his agent complained when a solid trade was proposed and the higher ups panicked of the backlash for trading fan favorite gmc!!!! Then to make it up, the higher ups really built around him and forced to continue to running gmc favorite scheme, and it failed miserably!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now it feels like the higher ups felt burned and are taking gmc down a peg in the process!!!!!!!

    Sure wish some questions were asked and truth revealed!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Bucs are not going anywhere…McCoy might have to…
    Bucs don’t have a choice @13 million….McCoy does…
    the sooner McCoy comes to admit he is not going to get paid 13 million dollars to play football next year (anywhere)…the sooner this will be resolved
    # market price McCoy
    ball is in McCoy’s court but not for long..I think he wants to play in Tampa if possible otherwise he would not be riding the fence…so Gerald get a grip and make a decision
    Sheet or get off the pot !

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on May 2nd that he believes GMC will be staying with the Bucs. Beyond Vita Vea, Bucs really don’t have much of an interior DLine in his opinion.

    TBBF – RotoPass puts out something they call ‘Pressure Rate’. A little nebulous as to how they computer it, but it sounds like it reflects how often a team puts pressure on the play. Rams, Steelers, Bears, Bills, Jags, Pats, Ravens & Cowboys comprised the Top-8, leading the pack with pressure rates ranging from 36% down to 33%. The bottom-8 were the Jets, Titans, Browns, Bengals, Lions, Falcons, Bucs & Raiders, with pressure rates ranging from 28% (Jets) to 22% (Raiders. Bucs had 25% … #31 in the list. Fairly consistent with where our defense ranked overall. Point being: Bucs’ TEAM has to generate a lot more pressure to compete with the big boys for a playoff slot. Somehow, someway.

  12. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @Rachel Watson

    I think like 3-4 years ago McCoy batted a Matt Ryan pass on 4th down that sealed a win. I think there is maybe one other sack moment like that in the same period of time.

    But that’s it. I do recall many more times where McCoy was in on a sequence where the other team won the game at the end vs him being part of a stop at the end. Even specific goal line plays like vs the Panthers end of 2017 where we gave up a long TD drive at the end after taking a lead late and he was blown up at the goal line and completely taken out of the play on the score if memory is correct.

    Seems a lot of teams use his against him where they basically O-lay him like a bull off to the side away from the play – especially in the run game

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Yeah the pressure rate is interesting given how BA & company seemed high on our front 7 more than our secondary, when our front 7 was not naturally pressuring the QB at a top rate at all.

    They have to really believe in their schematic philosophies in terms of the idea of generating more pressure via many more nickle CB / LB blitzes in conjunction with mostly press physical coverage to eliminate the 1-2 second passes designed to negate blitzes.

  14. BetterBucFan Says:

    Good article Mr. Seifter! Very interesting read.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Lord C … It’ll be really interesting to see how Todd Bowles ‘attack philosophy’ plays out this season. He does have the reputation of blitzing more than anyone else in the league (which I like personally) but like you said, it is essential that we have ‘press physical coverage’ to allow the blitzes to be effective. If not, we’ll get ‘nickeled-and-dimed’ all the way down the field I’m convinced. NFL offenses are all very good at taking what you give them, and I think that largely because they’re very good at exploiting known weaknesses. Of which we’ve seemed to have had more than our share.

  16. Bobby M. Says:

    We’ve been losing very effectively for a decade with the dude….in some cases as the absolute worse defense in the league. Stays….goes….it doesn’t matter much. The time has come to change the leadership in the locker room on the defensive side.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If we can’t pressure the QB with the front 4……then it needs to be from the back 7……and, obviously we need to jam receivers on the line to keep them from getting open early…..for just once, I’d like to see us do this.

  18. Pickgrin Says:

    Its strictly a matter of economics.

    McCoy’s play no longer merits the $13M per year that it would cost to keep him short of GMC agreeing to a pay cut. Not for the cash strapped Bucs anyway….

    If the Bucs could have him for say $6M this year – then of course you want Gerald on your team and will find ways to utilize his talents within the scheme.

    Its not like the coaches and GM don’t want him. Its just that the Bucs can no longer afford to overpay McCoy – and at this point in his career – $13M per year is overpaying.

    If McCoy is cut by the Bucs because no suitable offer for a trade can be found – then the free market will likely wind up paying him less than $10M this year – more like $7-9M IMO.

    We shall see how it plays out – but it seems pretty obvious that McCoy is not willing to take a pay cut to play for the Bucs this year.

    The way I see it – it would be nice to have McCoy back (at the right price) but this organization no longer NEEDS McCoy in order to be successful pressuring the QB which is basically all that McCoy is good for these days…

    We’ve got some hungry young drafted and undrafted talent coming in later this week – and McCoy’s $13M literally pays for ALL of them – plus a bit left over perhaps to add a a reasonably priced veteran OL or DL player if the right guy comes available at some point over the next 4 months…

    Strictly Economics

  19. Reach87 Says:

    Denying the past. I posted at least 6 game changing plays from 2017 last year and didn’t get a peep. If you care so much and are that much of a student of NFL DT play, do a search of this site. Then come back and tell us all how you made those plays…in Madden. Go Bucs!

  20. coverdeuce Says:

    For like the billionth time: whether the front is 3-4/4-3 DOES. NOT. MATTER. Alignment and gap scheme matter more. See: the Rams and what Wade Phillips does with Aaron Donald.

  21. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    “But what if it has nothing to do with his salary? There are other ways to free up the necessary cap space to keep McCoy and sign the rookies.”

    Usually, those “other ways” involve mortgaging against future salary caps. One thing I agree with our front office on, is NOT putting off our responsibilities on future teams.

    Another good column, Zachary. Obviously, I like the blog format, since I am here all the time, but a good bit of original journalism mixed in occasionally (a la Ira) adds some variety. Maybe Joe should hire you!

  22. Mike Evans Goat Says:

    Breath of fresh air from the g arbage the J oes write.
    Keep this guy comin.