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October 18, 2010 @ 2:17 am
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McCoy: "If The Defense Isn't Playing Well It's All My Fault"

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Bucs rookie defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said that he takes personal responsibility for the Bucs ranking last in the NFL in run defense and sacks. McCoy, who was drafted third overall, has 16 tackles, three tackles for loss and no sacks on the season.
It’s Gerald McCoy’s fault that the Buccaneers defense is not rushing the passer, not stuffing the run and not playing well overall. That’s the way the rookie defensive tackle that was selected third overall in the 2010 NFL Draft feels.

“I know I am young, I am a rookie, but I am kind of one of those guys that has so much pride even though I am one of the youngest guys on the defense besides Brian Price,” McCoy said. “I feel like I am one of those guys who puts it all on my back. If the defense isn’t playing well it is all my fault. That’s how I feel. I’ve been in the film room early and stayed late. I don’t know what it is. I am going to keep working. I just need to fix it. I’m watching old tape, watching other pass rushers, other defensive linemen, watching everything and working on it. It’s one of those things were we just have to get better.”

After a humiliating 31-6 defeat at the hands of New Orleans, which dropped Tampa Bay to 3-2 on the season, McCoy said that he felt responsible for the team allowing the Saints to amass 477 yards, including a season-high 212 yards on the ground. The Bucs had allowed Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall to rush for 143 yards and Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson to roll up 144 yards on the ground in the last two games, but Tampa Bay gave up 158 yards on 15 carries (10.5 avg.) to Chris Ivory, an undrafted rookie from Tiffin University, who came into the game with just 119 yards on 29 carries over the last three games.

The Saints came into Sunday’s game with the league’s 31st-ranked rushing attack, while the Bucs had the NFL’s 30th-ranked run defense. After surrendering a total of 785 yards on the ground through five games, Tampa Bay’s run defense has fallen to dead last in the NFL, which is where it ranked a year ago when it allowed opponents to rush for 2,531 yards on 529 carries and average 158.2 yards per game. After Sunday’s loss to the Saints, the Bucs defense is surrendering an embarrassing 157 rushing yards per game.

In an effort to improve against the run, McCoy has watched countless hours of game film from Tampa Bay’s glory days to try to pick up some tips to help shut down opponents’ running games. But McCoy noted that the Tampa 2 scheme run by former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, which was generally successful in stopping the run from 1996-2006, is different than the one deployed by head coach Raheem Morris, who serves as the Bucs defensive coordinator.

“It’s the old Bucs defense and how they played it,” McCoy said. “I sit and I watch it and I watch it and I watch it and say, ‘We can do that.’ But the thing is about the old Tampa 2 and how we play it, we are attack and react, and theirs was a little different [and they got upfield more]. We can play our gap and get upfield, but it’s not like when Booger [McFarland] and [Warren] Sapp jumped their gap and whether they reached him or not it was okay. It’s not like that now. I just have to learn to play the way we play it. That’s why I’ve been watching so much tape. I just put so much pressure on myself that I put a lot of the blame on me personally. Even though I am young I don’t want to use that as a crutch. Every time the defense plays bad I blame it on myself.”

McCoy, who had three tackles on Sunday and has 16 stops and three tackles for loss on the season, said that being too concerned with maintaining gap integrity is slowing him down, and that missing tackles from the front seven are hurting the defense.

“We play as a whole on defense, but the better I play the better the defense is,” McCoy said. “Some of those plays [on Sunday], if I fall back I make it. I was trying to be so gap sound, I need to just be a football player, fall back and make it. I’m so worried about playing the thing the right way instead of just making the play. It’s slowing me down.

“It’s not like we’re not in our gaps because we watch film and we’re in our gaps. We’re just missing tackles. Then it comes back to one of those things where you have to be a playmaker. You are in your gap, but you have to make that impossible play. You have to make that extra play. That’s what I’m working to do. I’m slowing myself down because I’m young and I’m trying to do it the way the coach says to do it instead of just letting it go and releasing it and being so gap sound and play within the scheme of the defense. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

While McCoy has yet to make an impact in Tampa Bay, fellow rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who went second overall to Detroit, has 4.5 sacks and an interception in six games. The former Oklahoma star admitted that he has not played as well as he expected to, and is struggling to learn how to play Morris’ defense correctly.

“I would have liked [to be better], but the thing is that I learn a certain way,” McCoy said. “Just like I did at OU. I started as a redshirt freshman, but I didn’t get my first sack until the sixth game of the season. By then I just started to learn what to do and how to do it. Once I learn the game and stop playing – okay, stay here – and just go make a play, then things will start to change.

“The thing is that I was pushing my man and I was falling in my gap, but I was falling out too late. If I stay in my B (gap) and fall back to the A (gap), in this league, running backs can cut and come back to the B (gap). Then it’s out of the gate and it’s my fault. I’m just so worried about controlling my B gap that I’ve got to start learning to get the feel to fall back. Once I get that down it will change a whole lot. I’m still trying to learn when to fall back and when to stay in my gap. The thing is that I’m working at it. I don’t accept the way I’ve been playing or the way we’ve been playing. I go home, think about it, come back and say, ‘How can I get better?’ I watch certain things and go to Coach Wash and say, ‘Okay, this week we’re rushing these two guards. What pass rush moves do I need to work on?’ These are the things I’m doing to get better. Eventually it will come.”

The fact that he is not just playing the three technique defensive tackle spot where he thrived at Oklahoma, but is also playing defensive end in the 3-4 and 3-3-5 Redskin packages could also be stunting McCoy’s growth. Some NFL pundits prior to the draft raved over McCoy’s pass rushing ability with a few even boldly saying that his ability to get to the quarterback trumped Suh’s – even though the statistics and production didn’t support those claims. Still, it is concerning that McCoy has yet to record a sack through five games after failing to notch one in the preseason, too.

Not only is the Bucs defense struggling to stop the run, Tampa Bay ranks dead last in sacks, too.

“We have three sacks on the D-line and four sacks total and we’re last in the league,” McCoy said. “That’s unacceptable. Once again I put it all on my back. That’s just the type of person and the player I am. I don’t point fingers or say, ‘They’ll come’ or ‘They come in bunches.’ I don’t believe that. There is no reason we have four sacks. I put the blame on me. That’s just how I feel.”

After Sunday’s loss, McCoy was his lack of production due to his inexperience and the woeful play of the defense were causing him to get discouraged.

“I take a lot of the blame. I don’t care that I’m young,” McCoy said. “That doesn’t mean anything. I don’t care about that.

“I’m not getting discouraged. Getting discouraged has not even crossed my mind. I just have to get better. I’m not getting discouraged. I just have to get better. What is this? Game 5? I just have to keep playing. You can’t get discouraged. That’s one thing I can’t do. If I get discouraged then I definitely won’t play well. Even though I put it on my shoulders, I have to take it as a challenge and keep working.”
Last modified on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 13:54
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    Yeah...I like it, Accountability! The whole team should skip their day off and watch film all day Tuesday. I hope the Bucs don’t mess this guy up…
  • avatar

    1st thing is you cant say Sue is doing better than McCoy... maybe through stats but he also has a very undrated DE in Van din Bosh. Freeman is no Payton Manning or an ellite QB but i think he can have a chance to be Great. its his 1st full season compared to Manning.. hist first season he sucked. i think Feeman will be good. i think he is having a good season so far. AND the whole Bradford thing look @ that divison it blows. S jackson is a big help as well. we can turn it around.. Go bucs
  • avatar


    Hey Buccaneers1978, Do you want a shovel, because with each comment you make you are digging yourself deeper into the depths of stupidity.
  • avatar


    At least GMC owns up, he will get better, and has ZERO help at DE and MLB and it's looking like Black and hayes aren't alot of help either. McCoy is 1 of 11 and seems we have 10 others not doing their part. Talib looks awful, our S player is pathetic. We have NOTHING at DE. I appreciate GMC's acceptance of responsibility, but it ain't all on him. Our CB's can't tackle or cover. I'll be at this weeks Rams game and can't wait to get a good look at the whole field, and who's gettin' blown up and who's not. Got 4th row upper deck tix on the 40 yd line and will have excellant view of entire field. Morris had to take the majority of the blame, as hid "guys" Talib and Tanard, Black and Hayes, Ruud, White,are not gettin' the job done. By the way, what the hell is Caddy doing out there!?! Where was Blount?
  • avatar

    Mc Coy can't do it himself. He needs defensive end that can take the pressure off him. He can't be doubled and triple blocked and hope to succeed. Right now we don't really know how good he will be. Another unknown is Freeman. Is he really the franchise qb we think he will be. Without an offensive line that gives him time it is almost impossible to judge how good he really is. That offensive line needs a complete overhaul. After playing together for several years, this is the best they can do. It's also hard to judge the defensive backs when they get no help from the d line. We need QB pressures and sacks.
  • avatar

    I agree that we should trade Ruud to the Texans for a 2nd round pick but some people are just being way to negative. A young team will have a bad/awful game once and a while and Bucs fans just need to get some patience. Bucfan1978 you are being way to negative about Freeman. Freeman has been playing great and you also have to remember that a young QB's best friend is a good running game which Bradford has and Freeman does not. Hayward should get a chance and hopefully he can be a thumper we have been looking for. Also I agree Morris you need to be more simple in the defensive calls. The Bucs are to young an inexperienced for that right now. Just go back to the Tampa 2 and you will be fine. If we do trade Ruud for a 2nd round pick then I think the Bucs should draft 1) Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina 2a) Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma 2b) Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina 3) Rodney Hudson, G, Florida State
  • avatar

    I say if they do trade Ruud this year to the Texan's for a 2nd round pick that they move Quincy Black to ILB and start Dekoda Watson at OLB to see what he got's. Also with the first four pick's they should draft 1) Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa. 2) Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State. 3.) A DE, OLB, or G. 4) RT. Also for there offensive line next year I think they should keep Penn at LT. Release Vincent. Bring up Brandon Carter from the practice squad to start at LG. Trade Faine cause he is always hurt. Start Zuttah at C. Give Davin Joseph a new contract to keep him starting at RG. Then release or trade Trueblood and draft someone to start at RT. Hopefully they will get better at Protecting the run and the defense get's better at stopping the run.
  • avatar

    I think McCoy will be fine. It takes time to learn the position. It would help if he had good outside pass rushers to help take the pressure off him.
  • avatar

    We need to stick to the original Tampa 2. Four man front that goes down field. None of this read and react crap because our players are too young. We are built for speed. I still believe Price is the better DT. McCoy and Price need to start with Miller in the rotation. I dont know what to say about Talib. It seems like he looks for the pick too much, thats why he is always trailing. Seems like he wants the qb to under throw it or throw it in front instead of over the top to make the pick. Grimm is too slow to play the single high saftey. I say we shoudl still start Grimm because he is a sure tackler. Sean Jones needs to be bench, he is just as garbage as Sabby! I want Lynch to get a chance especially on passing downs. Most importantly our front 4 just needs to shoot throught gaps! Talib needs to stop getting beat deep for whatever reason. He is starting to loook like every other corner. TRADE RUUD!!!!!!!!!! Texans might be looking for another backer because demeco ryans got hurt. I am willing to give Heyward a try.
  • avatar


    Gerald, just a suggestion; quit looking at old Buc film and look at the present teams you are going to play and look for the OL weaknesses. That's how you'll learn. Don't beat yourself up too much. You are 1 of 11 defensive guys on the field at a time. You're learning. I hope you have already started working on your upper body strength. You'll be okay, lighten up on yourself. You are just part of the help that is coming.
  • avatar


    Raheem needs to just keep Mccoy at the 3 technique and put Price at the other 3 technique. We need to run the tampa 2 amd stop trying to run all these different fronts like we have elite players. Mccoy got to get in the weight room and put on some size and strength. He is getting blown off the ball. I think Price is actually playing a little better. We need alot of Key free agents for our defense and i never knew i would say this but Sabby is better than Sean Jones. Jones is not a big hitter and looks like he has no awareness.
  • avatar

    Is it just me or do we have a bunch of nice guys on Defense? be a nice guy off the field. Have some pride for crying out loud. You are getting run over by scrubs. That is why I was pumped to have Blount in our backfield, big power RB who has a mean streak... And why was he inactive Sunday?
  • avatar

    I didn't know a running game helped the QB from over throwing the ball 8 out 10 times. Freeman had time yesterday to throw and came up lame. Peyton Mannings team doesnt have a huge running game but dude can pick apart defenses. Freeman does not know how to check down and stares down his players check the tape. FREEMAN SUCKS Go Bucs
  • avatar


    Your ignorance is laughable. LOL
  • avatar


    If you've been a fan since 1978 like your moniker implies you should be familiar with a QB who "sucks". But to say that about arguably the best player on the team and who shows obvious signs of future stardom is ridiculous. Compare him to Manning's 13th game.
  • avatar


    Some of the best D-line highlights this year have been from McCoy in the 5 spot. Look at the game--I've read the articles too, but the eye in the sky does not lie. Since everybody's licking thier wounds, and sure that game sucked, seeing Ruud get run over on the screen late in the second half was aweful. Meanwhile on TV 2 #55 for the Patriots is handling his buisness after only 6 games. I agree that the Bucs' need an enforcer. McCoy will lead the line in time, but the LB core has issues. Also, somebody get Talib some smelling salts for the pregame.
  • avatar


    Talib gets beat once per game. He's got talent, but no recovery skills. Once he's beat he's toast. Not hatin' just statin'
  • avatar

    Ndamukong Suh 21 tackles, 4.5 Sacks, 1 Int ..............................................Gerald McCoy 8 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 turnovers
  • avatar


    Unfair comparison. The Lions have DL talent around Suh. We have McCoy whom is surrounded by Price. BIG DIFFERENCE.
  • avatar

    Is it me or does Bradford on the Rams already look like a better QB then Freeman ever will and Freeman has K2,Williams and Benn. Rams lmao have no real wideouts and dude is getting it done.
  • avatar


    Can you imagine how good Freeman would look if we had a running game as good as S Jackson & the Rams...?
  • avatar


    It's you. Freeman is having a great season. Go complain more why don't you.
  • avatar

    It's not helping Mcoy any that radio keeps moving him durning the game let him play his position and put Price next to him and better things will come. Hey Aquib if the wide out doesn't stop running his route you shouldn't either. Every week you get smacked for a TD because you fall off the wideout and leave Grimm out to dry, Grimm is there over the top to help you not be the main guy idiot.
  • avatar


    I wish you were our coach man. I'm sure we would be 5-0 if you were because you clearly know how to run the team better than the coaches do. Lets just throw everyone under the bus who makes a mistake and call them idiots; that will surely help.
  • avatar


    So I'm not sure how this defense is made to work. Is it penitration and get up feild, or is it very GAP dependent and react for the d line with LB's used to make the tackle. Either way it is not working. From the sounds of it, it is the hybrid Tampa 2 and Bates system that Rah wanted. I believe the concepts of the two are very different and we need to get back to a more traditional Tampa 2 but with some blitzing.
  • avatar


    Just get to the QB!
  • avatar


    I think McCoy will get it in the end. But I disagree that the D-line's problems should be called 'missed tackles'. When a DT (including Sims, Miller, Price) gets pushed 3-4 yards laterally or backwards and the RB runs through the hole, that's not a missed tackle. That's a hole caused by poor line play. It then puts the LB's and DB's at a huge disadvantage to tackle a ball cariier who can run full speed and have room to cut either way. Our D Line issues make it difficult to fairly grade the rest of the defenders. Hopefully we will look back on these two losses and consider them the bottom.
  • avatar


    Agree, the problem is that they are pussy weak compared to the other teams (along with being rookies), so they get blown up consistently and that won't change until after the offseason wieght training.
  • avatar

    He can say it's his fault, but I think it falls more on Raheem than anyone else. It is the scheme and the game plan. how does a team ranked 31st come in and lok like they are the best running team in the NFL?
  • avatar


    McCoy, be a man stop crying. You are a high draft pick play like you belong in the NFL. If not you can continue to cry on the fans shoulders.
  • avatar


    It's not all on him and it's unfair to compare him to Suh at this point. Suh has a supporting cast around him. We don't have even average DE's.
  • avatar

    I appreciate GMC's rookie struggle. He'll get it eventually... (sooner, I hope rather than later.) What was evident to me for this game was there's no enforcer (Black is the closest thing we have to one.) A hard nosed leader on the line, A hard nosed leader in the LB'r corps... it's a big hole that ya either have or ya don't... at this point in time we do not.
  • avatar

    You will get there McCoy. Just keep at it. Hopefully Morris wises up and stops using you as a five technique defensive end.
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