The Buccaneers have undergone numerous changes to their roster, coaching staff and front office over the last seven years, but one constant has been defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s presence in the middle of the defensive line.
McCoy has made All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams over that span and established himself in the top tier of players at his position in the NFL. McCoy feels that there’s more for him to do, however.
McCoy said Monday that he spoke to three “credible sources” at the Pro Bowl in January who gave him a “reality check” about what he’s accomplished during his time in Tampa.
“The gist of what it is, is I haven’t done enough to lead this team,” McCoy said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “Simple as that. If this team goes to the next level, as much as you need a franchise quarterback and those things are great, this organization, this team to win a Super Bowl was built on defense. That guy in the middle is what makes everything roll. Of course, they brought 99 [Warren Sapp] to me numerous times. Any dominant defense had a dominant guy in the middle and basically, I just haven’t been enough for my team. I won’t get into the details, but I kind of took it personal. It’s something I need to address moving forward.”
One specific that McCoy discussed was that he needs to do more in fourth quarters of games. He said he went back over the fourth quarters of all his games over the last two years because that’s when “the great ones” make plays.
“Where is my energy in the fourth quarter?” McCoy said. “Is my technique dropping in the fourth quarter? Am I making the plays I need to make in the fourth quarter?”
Per the Times, none of McCoy’s 22 sacks over the last three seasons have come in games with a margin of eight points or less in the fourth quarter and the defensive tackle said his “approach to everything will be different” this year in hopes of making a bigger impact in the most impactful moments of games.