Let’s go back to the 2010 NFL Draft:
Tampa Bay is on the clock. The commissioner is walking to the podium as Bucs Nation watches with excitement. With the 3rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Defensive Tackle- Gerald McCoy from the University of Oklahoma. Every Buccaneers fan around the world went crazy with excitement. The Buccaneers may have finally found the heir apparent to Warren Sapp.
Now, let us fast forward to the 2017 season, where those same fans are now criticizing Gerald McCoy for not playing up to expectations. As I began to look into McCoy’s stats, the first thing that pops out to me is how unbelievably durable he has been for the past 10 years. McCoy has only played in less than 13 games one time in his career. He has over 200 solo tackles, 48.5 Sacks, and 269 combined tackles. He faces double teams every week and is an unbelievable teammate. His personality really came out during this past season of Hard Knocks. Free Agent Chris Baker was supposed to aid McCoy in the number of double teams he saw, but he couldn’t stay healthy enough to complete his task.
Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks has stepped up and come to the aid of McCoy. Last season, McCoy had 33 tackles and 6 sacks. The best defensive tackle in Tampa Bay history was hands down, Warren Sapp, who played 13 seasons (9 years w/TB and 4 years w/Oak). Sapp had 435 solo tackles, 136 combined tackles, and 96.5 sacks. He was also very durable for his career only playing in fewer than 15 games one time. McCoy stats are very similar to Sapp. If McCoy stays healthy and continues to do what he is doing, he will surpass Sapp by the end of his career in solo tackles and possibly sacks. We also have to remember that Sapp played on one of the NFL’s greatest defenses.
Derrick Brooks is the consummate professional. He wasn’t the biggest, fastest, or strongest at his position, but he played at a high level every year. Even when Tampa brought in younger, stronger, and faster linebackers, Brooks took on his new role and played when he was called upon. Derrick Brooks mentioned to the Orlando Sentinel, “McCoy hasn’t had the best team around him since he has been here, but yet he continues to compete at a high level.” This couldn’t be truer. People complain about this past year, but the stats show McCoy had his second best year statistically speaking. He had more combined, solo, and total tackles than his last 3 years. He had 6 sacks in 2017, which is one less than last year and 2.5 less than the year before.
Moral of the story is that fans need to appreciate greatness while we have it. Once McCoy hangs it up, who knows when we will have that dominant of a defensive player again. He is the anchor of our defensive line and he gives 100% every time he takes the field. He is the reason guys like Brent Grimes, Robert Ayers, and Chris Baker came to Tampa. Let’s try to remember that.
Edited By: Morgan Adele