Panthers used Gerald McCoy’s knowledge of Jameis Winston against him

AP

The Carolina Panthers sacked Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston seven times on Sunday, and they forced him into throwing four interceptions. Former Tampa Bay defensive lineman Gerald McCoy had a major role in that.

Apart from the 2.5 sacks from McCoy himself (he’d had none through five prior games), McCoy told PFT via phone from London after the 37-26 win that he knows plenty about how Winston plays, and that he spread that information to the rest of the defensive line.

So what’s one specific thing that McCoy used against Winston?

“He likes to step up in the pocket,” McCoy said, adding that the Panthers defensive line deliberately pushed the middle of the pocket to disrupt Winston. It worked.

The defensive line has been a huge part of the turnaround in Carolina. After losing two home games only four days apart to start the season, the Panthers have won four in a row. With quarterback Cam Newton out for each of those wins, what has the defense done differently in his absence?

Not a thing, McCoy said.

“It doesn’t matter who’s at quarterback,” McCoy said. “We do the same thing every day. It’s not what we hope to do, it’s what we expect to do.”

McCoy said that defensive coordinator Eric Washington and defensive line coach Sam Mills III have a simple message for the defensive linemen, each and every week: “We are the game plan.”

Coach Ron Rivera had a different message for the team after those two losses to start the season.

“I refuse to let you believe you’re not a good team,” Rivera told the Panthers, according to McCoy. McCoy said that the players took that to heart. Aware that people outside the locker room were writing them off, they believed in each other and came together.

It culminated in four straight wins, capped by Sunday’s victory over the Bucs in London. McCoy said he had wanted to play the game in Tampa, but that Rivera had a different message for the Panthers at the beginning of the week regarding the inconvenience and annoyance of traveling to London instead of Tampa.

“We’re playing a game this week,” Rivera wrote on the board, “and we’re playing that game in a football stadium.”

That’s the attitude the Panthers have brought to each of the four different stadiums where they have won games in the past four weekends, whether it Arizona, Houston, Charlotte, or London.

After the bye, the Panthers go for five wins in five cities with a trip to San Francisco.

14 responses to “Panthers used Gerald McCoy’s knowledge of Jameis Winston against him

  1. Lots of NFL Qbs like to step up in the pocket, including the GOAT (a/k/a Tom Brady). The issue is that Winston can look like a good NFL QB one week, and a bust the next two or three weeks. This was one of the bust weeks.

  2. I would’ve taken only $100 to give the same advice. Not like he gave the secret recipe to beating Brady and the Patriots. And if McCoy had to tell his coaches or defense Winston steps up into the pocket then those coaches need to get fired. Their job is to learn how to opposing QB/offense plays so they can play against their weaknesses.

  3. McCoy is soft and I am glad he is gone. Winston sucks….I will be glad when he is gone after this season too.

  4. So, does this make the Panthers cheaters? That’s what y’all would say if it was the Patriots. Excuse me, meant to say, that’s what y’all say when it IS the Patriots.

  5. Why didn’t McCoy do this the first time that they played? Because the truth is half of the Bucs O Line was out and McCoy was playing against scrubs this time. It’s one of those things that I never liked about GMac. He’s always trying to take credit for things that he doesn’t deserve.

  6. Thankfully McCoy was there to give them the inside info. Not like they have a whole team of coaches whos only job is to watch film, break down opponents strengths and weaknesses, and apply that to a some sort of a plan for the game….

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