Gerald McCoy says Schiano’s drills are teaching him how to tackle


Gerald McCoy played high school football so well that he was USA Today‘s defensive player of the year as a senior, and he played college football so well that he was the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. But through all that, and through his first two seasons as a defensive lineman for the Buccaneers, McCoy says he never really learned how to tackle.

McCoy told the Tampa Tribune that he never had a coach show him proper tackling technique until he started playing for Schiano this offseason.

“We do a tackling circuit before every practice, and I’ve never done anything like that before,” McCoy said. “I realize now that, before, I was just playing football. Now, I’m really learning how to tackle and I think it’s going to help me a lot.”

Offseason practices aren’t full-contact, but Schiano loves to stress proper form in detail-oriented practices that also include cornerbacks working on stripping the ball, safeties working on recovering fumbles and defensive linemen rushing the passer with their hands held high. Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber says that’s something he hasn’t seen in his previous 15 seasons in Tampa Bay.

“Everybody talks about fundamentals, but he hammers it,” Barber said. “We get fundamentals every day. He’s definitely a teacher and that’s a good thing.”

It’s certainly a good thing for a coach to be sure his defensive players know how to tackle.

53 responses to “Gerald McCoy says Schiano’s drills are teaching him how to tackle

  1. Well, now we know why he has torn his biceps 2 years in a row and it’s because he doesn’t know how to tackle and just grabs at running backs as they run by him.

  2. Let’s hope this translates into an injury free season for him. 2 years, 2 torn biceps due to arm tackling.

  3. To be fair, does anyone in today’s NFL know how to tackle? Most guys just throw their shoulder into someone and hope they go down. When was the last time a guy squared up on a ball carrier, broke down, drove with his legs, wrapped up and took a guy down? It really is lost on most of today’s “get me on ESPN’s big hit segment” players.

  4. Football coaches aren’t harvested from the top branches of the IQ tree. In high school, many are gym teachers. Think about that.

  5. This really is an indication of how most coaches are more worried about their ego and their fancy offensive and defensive schemes…just watch any game and most teams are fundamentally flawed, it’s absurd. Look at how many coaches Ronde Barber has been through in Tampa Bay and this hasn’t been a focus? It’s an indictment of coaching in general. Who knows what will become of Schiano as a coach, but everything sure sounds good now coming out of camps. Should be interesting.

  6. How is a DT picked 3rd overall in the 2010 draft and defensive player of the year in college not know how to tackle?

  7. Love how all these scrub players on every team think that this is the offseason where they find that magic bullet that will propel them to the Super Bowl and untold riches. Fast forward to early December when they have either been cut, benched, or are bitching about how the coach misused them, and that next year is going to be different.

  8. That’s odd. I learned in first year of Pop Warner when I was eight. If you have not learned how to tackle by now, you will never learn. See you later Bust.

  9. Maybe he should go around the league and show all the other coaches this technique, because tackling has been terrible for past ten years. It’s a lost art.

  10. It wasn’t just Morris that Barber was talking about. He has had 3 head coaches and a myriad of assistant coaches in those 17 years. That would include Dungy and Gruden as HC.

    It’s a damning reflection of the coaching level of the NFL AND the colleges.

    How many more feel the same way but haven’t said anything-so far?

  11. I’m a huge, huge Bucs fan, but Gerald McCoy talks way too much. For 2.5 years now he is always talking about what he learned or what great coach he has while taking non-intentional shots at old coaches. He should stop taking lessons from warren sapp ( because he has not accomplished what sapp had at this point) and start taking lessons from Ronde barber- a silent 16 year hall of fame career where he showed up and did his job, everyday with no fan fare!

  12. Schiano is a great coach and he will turn the TB franchise around.

    I expect a breakout season from McCoy and a huge rookie season from Doug Martin.

  13. McCoy is a bust. He was overrated coming out of college and has done nothing to prove he deserved to be the 3rd overall pick. Are you kidding me? What NFL player would admit to lacking the common sense needed to understand basic tackling technique.

  14. The new CBA, the culture of turnover generation vs. tackling technique, and lack of fundamentals throughout football, make improvement in this area difficult.

  15. With Schiano teaching proper technique and fundamentals on a daily basis (and it takes a lot to impress Ronde Barber like that), and Eric LeGrand on hand to remind everybody what can happen in an instant, I expect the Bucs to be a much more sound football team. That may not translate to wins right away, but Schiano will make sure they play the right way.

  16. Agreed about poor tackling in the NFL. The Rams have one good tackler now-Long-and have had one great one-A. Williams-since being in STL.

  17. wideright91 says: Jun 17, 2012 2:14 PM

    That’s odd. I learned in first year of Pop Warner when I was eight. If you have not learned how to tackle by now, you will never learn. See you later Bust.

    how did that NFL career work out for you? If you think you actually learned to tackle when you were eight years old, you’d have been better in ballet.

  18. Jesus the haters are out full force. He has town his bicep twice based on bad tackling and yet the coaches never said a thing. This isn’t a bad thing and look at the NFL, bad tackling is every where. Bust? Based on his play?Don’t think so. When healthy he has been pretty damn good and actually was a key component to the Bucs D stopping the run at the beginning of the year. He went down, then guess what happened? They went from 70 YPG to way above 100. So just shut up saying things you know nothing about.

  19. If McCoy played the 3-4 in high school and college, I can see why he wouldn’t be very sharp at tackling. As a big DT, I bet he was told to clog up lanes and take on more than one guy. I’m not sure what Schiano runs, 4-3 or the 3-4, but working on your form while tackling can save your body from injuries, and Its a great coaching move. Schiano seems like an old school coach, which are the tough but very thorough one’s.

  20. Must have been a slow day at Bucs OTAs. I wonder if players float these stories to see who’s pathetic enough to run with them.

  21. It should be pretty obvious that McCoy must know a bad tackle technique from a good one by now. After two seasons of bicep injuries I hope he has learned what not to do. Maybe a little more work in the weight room will get toughen up those guns. I think Coach Schiano is what this team has needed for a long time. He has the time to pay attention to detail because he has one job. Being the head coach is all he needs to focus on . He has the time to get involved with the fine points of both defense and offense. GO BUCS

  22. The word “coach” sometimes means CEO of a program. And not teacher.

    Schiano is a teacher and a leader. Not just a coach.

    Tampa Bay will shock the world.

    And this coming from a Redskins fan.


  23. It’s awesome to know that Gerald McCoy, a DT, and 2010’s 3rd overall pick is finally learning to tackle. We should all be so proud!

  24. You are kidding, someone in the NFL is really trying to teach players how to Tackle?
    If only they could get someone to teach Corners and free Safties how to tackle also.

  25. Tackling, like CPR certification, should be reviewed every year. Bottom line, they both can save lives. It is a disgrace (at any level of football) that tackling would be under addressed.

  26. I am a GIANTS fan, and I can tell you Schiano really reminds me of a young Tom Coughlin. The Bucs made a great hire, and they have been stacking up some talent. I think they will shock some people this year and be very good. Josh Freeman can do it, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are very good players. They have some real good O-Lineman. I think the SAINTs take a big step backwards this year and the Panthers and Bucs take some steps forward.

  27. If you watch football and know anything about the sport, I think it’s been pretty apparent for 10 years that most teams don’t teach proper tackling technique or practice it. Look at any linebacker or defensive back in the league that lunges with a shoulder or helmet, this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone… and we wonder why concussions are out of control all of a sudden? Start teaching proper tackling technique again… or take away helmets, that’ll get most players on offense and defense to stop leading with that fragile casing protecting their brain. You telling me Asante Samuel or Brandon Meriweather practices tackling?

  28. Rutgers has been praised through out the league for having their athletes pro ready. That is a testament to Schiano and his teaching fundamentals . Not a Bucs fan but I am a Schiano fan and he will have that team playing solid ball across the board

  29. Raheem let his players and “friends” get away with a lot. There is no wonder why McCoy didn’t know how to tackle properly in the NFL.

    Talib shooting at people, Winslow not participating in practice (because of his knees), and even Raheem himself was nearly dragged out of games by refs a couple of times.

    He fired coaches at wrong times. Jagz was sent packing (because the “ZBS” was suppossedly not working correctly with the players they had, in PRE-season nonetheless) right before the season started, for a never-impressive Greg Olson.

    Despite that, he also fired Bates for having a bad defensive scheme, halfway through a season I might add. Funny though, because Raheem’s hybrid “defense” did MUCH worse.

    Ultimately, there is no wonder why Buccaneer players are surprised about the amount of “real” work they need to be putting in. Schiano isn’t “talk.” McCoy should be thanking Schiano for that type of hard @$$ attitude. It may just save his career.

  30. Am I the only one that thinks it isn’t the coaches job to teach tackling once at the NFL level? Pivoting, footwork, cuts, etc.? Yes. Tackling? No.

    At the NFL level you should already be tackling with the right technique. You shouldn’t even be allowed into collage football if you can’t tackle correctly.

    Yes players throw tackling out the window for the “big hit” and that is where football has started to go downhill. At this level Defensive Coordinators have much more important things to focus on than having to reteach these morons what proper tackling is.

  31. No, actually I learned how to tackle properly at 8, too. And my two sons learned how to tackle properly at 6 and 7 respectively. Blocking and tackling are the basic fundamentals of football and learning how to properly block and tackle is not just to help you play better, but play safer.

    This is troubling because this guy is in the NFL and JUST NOW learning how to tackle properly. That means that all throughout his playing years- Youth, High School and College; he was playing ball in an un-safe fashion and no one spent the time to help him correct it. WOW!

    Let me say this: I’ve coach kids as young as 5 years old and if you can’t properly block and tackle by 10 years old, that’s a major problem. And if I was President of an association and I see 5th Graders out there not knowing how to properly block and tackle, that head coach will not be the head coach next year. I mean, you gotta protect the kids.

  32. It’s the state of the game today. Kids are taught to throw their bodies around and try to strip the ball. To be proficient at tackling in today’s NFL is almost a specialty, not a given.

    Sad, really.

  33. Why should this surprise anyone. How long has James Harrison been in the league? The poster boy for “I lead with my head because I have no idea how to form tackle”.

  34. A lot of people on here dogging that he didn’t know how to tackle, and that he’s bust…
    Would you rather rip him for not listening to his coach, and learning to get better?
    He’s still a young player, it’s not that he doesn’t know how to tackle, it’s that he doesn’t know how to tackle properly, therefore, he was getting injured.
    Just sad that all these arm chair coaches that comment on this blog think they know everything. The Bucs new coach has got me excited to see what happens this year with the Bucs.

  35. “A nice indictment of the Raheem Morris Era of Crapulance.”

    No. Its a “big hit” kind of thing.

    The whole NFL is littered with players that think a big hit is a form tackle and blame their former coaches in HS and college, which is bs. Thats all they teach in HS is fundamentals, so i dont buy these ball players putting the blame on their coaches because they DONT WANT to form tackle.

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