A driven and focused Gerald McCoy has organized some workouts for the Bucs DL. McCoy talks about that, how he wants to be a team captain, how he has been a quick mentor for Adrian Clayborn, and much more.
A year ago at this time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were watching a franchise quarterback emerging in Josh Freeman. Right now the Bucs could be benefitting from the same experience with a dominant defensive lineman, although they can’t watch it person due to the NFL lockout. Nevertheless, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has taken his work ethic to a new level and is taking his NFL career seriously.
McCoy is grinding away through workouts to get ready for a breakout 2011 season, and also is leading the way with his teammates. Just like Freeman has organized some practices for wide receivers and tight ends, McCoy has gotten a group of Bucs defensive linemen together to workout this week in San Diego, including rookie first-round pick defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
“It has been great being out here in San Diego. I actually organized a workout for all the D-linemen to come out here,” said McCoy. “We’ve been out here working out this past week. It’s going great.
“I got a few of the other guys. A lot of guys are working where they work out at. Some guys couldn’t make it. It is good to have Clayborn out here with me. Even though we are the same age, I can show him the ropes a little bit. I’ve been through it a year so I know it with the fans, the media, the coaches, and the expectations of a first-round pick. I had him do some drills in front of me. I felt anything he could learn from when I came here I want him to know. That way he won’t have to go through what I went through. Even though he still will a little bit, I wanted to help him out as much as I could.”
McCoy said six of the Bucs defensive linemen made it out to San Diego. Some other teammates were unable to make it and are working out elsewhere in the country. Clayborn, the 20th overall pick in last month's draft, has impressed McCoy in their early work together.
“He is a hard worker. He definitely is. I can definitely see why he was the [Bucs'] first pick,” said McCoy. “He definitely is a hard-worker that has been trying to keep up with me every step of the way.”
After selecting Clayborn and defensive end Da’Quan Bowers with their first two picks this year, the Buccaneers have used two first-round picks and two second-round picks on defensive linemen in the past two drafts. McCoy was the third-overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and Tampa Bay picked defensive tackle Brian Price with their first selection in the second round of that draft. Adding in 2009 third-round pick defensive tackle Roy Miller, and the Bucs are trying to build a dominant defensive line like the one that led them to a Super Bowl championship season in 2002. McCoy knows the expectations are high given that particular group’s success.
“I can’t be [Warren] Sapp. Clayborn can’t be Simeon Rice. Roy can’t be [Anthony] McFarland. Bowers can’t be [Greg] Spires. But we can be McCoy, Clayborn, Bowers, Price, and Miller. That’s all we can be,” McCoy said. “That’s all we are going to be. We are going to play it our way within the scheme, but we are going to play our game. We can’t be everybody else. We can’t be those legends. We are going to be like us. We plan to fix the whole defense this year.”
Last year, the Bucs struggled to stop the run at times and ranked 28th in run defense in the NFL. They also were last in the NFC in quarterback sacks with just 26. Tampa Bay is hopeful that new defensive line coaches Grady Stretz and Keith Millard will mold the Bucs' young defensive line into a dominant unit. As the three technique defensive tackle, McCoy is charged with being the leader to cause disruption for the offense.
In his rookie campaign, McCoy started 13 games before ending the season on injured reserve with a torn bicep. After a slow start, McCoy came on strong in the second half of the season. He recorded three sacks in two games against Baltimore and San Francisco. Against the 49ers, he had two half sacks, so one could say he two multi-sack games back-to-back. For the season, McCoy recorded 43 tackles with six tackles for a loss, three sacks, 17 quarterback pressures, five passes batted down, and one forced fumble. McCoy says he is nearly 100 percent healthy from the bicep injury.
“I’m all right. I’m not quite there, but I’m getting there. I’m getting there real fast,” said McCoy. “I work out five times a week. I’m constantly rehabbing. I do pilates two times a week and I get massages two times a week. I stay pretty busy. It is strictly business. I’ve been out here in San Diego for what’s going on four months. It is hard work, man. This lockout thing is a little strange for everybody, but all I can do is be ready.”
After playing his rookie season around 300 pounds, McCoy is working to redefine his body for the 2011 season. He plans on trimming down to maximize his speed and explosiveness.
“I was playing heavier than I wanted last year. I’m going to be under 300 this year,” said McCoy. “Just with kind of the scheme we play in I felt like early in the season like my game was slowed down. Once I started to realize what they wanted me to do and actually get the hang of it, I realized I was too heavy for that, so I’ve been slimming down and doing lots of speed, power, and turning explosiveness into power. I’m just working on my game overall.
“I’ve been watching film constantly. I got some film before the lockout to take with me. That’s all I’ve been doing. This offseason everybody has been like, 'Why don’t you take a break?' I tell them I don’t have time for breaks.”
By organizing the defensive line workouts, McCoy is trying to lead the Bucs defensive line to develop its camaraderie during the lockout. That is an example of how driven he is to be a team captain. After being a two-time captain at Oklahoma, and the first sophomore captain in the program’s history, McCoy can’t wait to have the captain symbol sown on his jersey for Tampa Bay.
“When I got drafted, Mr. Dominik and Coach Morris showed me their vision. The key to a Tampa 2 defense is having a dominant under tackle,” McCoy said. “They had to find some guy to be a dominant under tackle, and need him to be that, and not to be average for the defense to be great. They put all the confidence in me by picking me. They told me they want me to be the leader of the defense because that is what I’m supposed to be.
“They had that with [Derrick] Brooks or how [Barrett] Ruud is now, but they needed a guy up front to be the leader of the defensive line. That’s what they drafted me to be. They drafted Clayborn to come in and help to be another leader in the defensive line room. That’s why you get picked in the first round. I’m looking forward to taking on that role ASAP. Whether it is this year or next year, I’m looking forward for years to come. I want it. It is something crazy inside of me. It drives me. I love the game. I love my team. I love my teammates. So yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m working for it. I promise you that. I’m definitely working for it.”
Check back tomorrow as Pewter Report will have more from McCoy on how this offseason has changed his life and made him a more focused worker on and off the field.
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