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July 1, 2011 @ 8:13 am
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Frustrated McCoy Concerned About Bucs Defensive Line

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Just a day after lauding the attendance at Tampa Bay's unofficial mini-camp, second-year DT Gerald McCoy, who is quickly emerging as a team leader, was disappointed to see only two other D-linemen show up for Thursday's practice session.
BRADENTON – Second-year Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, whose body has been transformed into one that is leaner and more muscular this offseason, was flexing his muscles as a leader during Tampa Bay’s unofficial three-day mini-camp at the IMG Performance Institute in Brandenton, Fla. With no coaches present due to the NFL lockout, which has eclipsed 100 days, McCoy took it upon himself to serve as the leader and mentor to the Buccaneers’ defensive line.

Most of the players at the mini-camp were McCoy’s age – 23 – or just slightly older. Rookie defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick this year, may have been the only defensive lineman younger than McCoy, and the two were inseparable during the on-field workouts.

“I love what I’m seeing with the attendance and guys wanting to play,” McCoy said on Tuesday, a day in which the Bucs had over 50 players show up, including most of the defensive line. “I’m having fun.”

On Wednesday, McCoy, the Bucs’ first-round pick a year ago, was asked what unit concerned him the most and he was not afraid to point the finger at himself and his defensive linemates.

“The biggest concern, honestly? I’m concerned about us up front,” McCoy said. “My coaches and my teammates and even Free (quarterback Josh Freeman) called me and a few of the other guys called me and told me to make sure I got the defense out there. Davin [Joseph] texted me and told me to get the D-line out here. Apparently these guys feel that I am the leader of the D-line room so I take it upon myself that if the D-line isn’t running right it’s something I need to get together. My focus is on us up front. If we can get going – if the D-line can get rolling like we’re supposed to it will change the whole team and not just the defense.”

But on Thursday, the final day of the mini-camp, at least a dozen Buccaneers did not show up for the final day of practice, and the defensive line numbers dwindled from nine to just three. Only McCoy, Clayborn and backup defensive lineman Doug Worthington showed up for Thursday’s workout.

After practice, McCoy was clearly disappointed that the defensive line did not have the same type of showing that the offensive line did throughout the mini-camp.

“Everybody had their own offseason agenda and his own offseason schedule, but we almost had the whole team out here the first two days,” McCoy said. “It was great, but if I could have gotten the entire D-line to show up – everybody – on time every day like the O-line did it would have been even better.”

In his quest to become the respected leader of the defensive line in Tampa Bay, McCoy wants his unit to take on the personality and identity of the Buccaneers offensive line.

“The O-line was in the weight room working out together and then they came out on the field together. They eat together and they do everything together. That’s what I want, man. That’s the only way we’re going to be dominant on the field as a defensive line. Everybody wants to be dominant and talk about it, but nobody wants to be about it.

“Don’t get me wrong. I love my D-linemen. I love those guys to death. I would do anything for them, but me being a leader I’m concerned about them. It’s just like me being a parent. I’m concerned about my kids – my pack or my group. They’re my brothers, really. I’m not saying I’m above anybody by no means. We’re family. We’re brothers. I just want my brothers and I to be tight knit. My true family is very tight knit. I want my football family to be the same way.”

McCoy spent the entire offseason training hard in San Diego, dropping 10 pounds from his playing weight of 310 pounds last year and turning fat into muscle. He even tried to organize a defensive line workout for a week in San Diego earlier in the month, offering to fly guys in and pay their way in terms of travel expenses. Only a handful of players showed up, including Clayborn and defensive ends Michael Bennett and Kyle Moore among a few others.

“I didn’t get as much participation as I wanted, but I did get some guys to come, and the guys that did come out got some work in,” McCoy said. “One of the guys that came out was Clayborn and I got to spend some time with him and worked with him individually. I had a whole week to work with him then and I sat him down and talked to him about what he’s thinking and how he plays.

“All I’ve been trying to do is get our guys together and get that pack mentality. That’s why I showed up every day to this mini-camp because you can’t tell other people we need to show up every day and then you don’t show up every day. That’s why I went to every 9:00 a.m. workout and that’s why I came to every on-field thing we did. If I’m going to be a leader, I have to lead by example and not just talk about it.”

McCoy shook his head in disgust when talking about life as an NFL player and how the defensive linemen tend to go their separate ways in the pros, which is not what the Oklahoma product was used to back in college.

“I’m trying to get the feeling here in Tampa that we had at Oklahoma along the D-line,” McCoy said. “When it comes to football, it all starts up front on either side of the ball. I want our defensive line to come together like the offensive line has come together. They are so tight knit. God, I want the same thing. If you have two tight knit sides of the ball and you put those together to go play somebody else – man, you are going to dominate. Look at Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Those teams are tight knit as units. We have all the tools to do that, too.”

There is no doubt that McCoy has transformed his body this offseason by hitting the weights hard and doing an extraordinary amount of conditioning. But perhaps the most interesting and impressive transformation is how quickly he has embraced a leadership role in Tampa Bay. McCoy deserves a good deal of credit for trying to foster a greater sense of unity among the defensive linemen, even if his teammates aren’t necessarily following his lead just yet.

“I was always raised to be a leader and not a follower,” McCoy said. “The Glazers and Mr. Dominik and Coach Morris told me, ‘If we draft you, we bring you in to be the leader and not just put you on the side of the stadium just because.’ They wanted me to be the leader of the D-line and I took it upon myself to learn as a rookie because you have to serve before you can lead. I did my duties as a rookie and now it’s my time to take over. That’s what I’m supposed to do. If I had the role of a captain would I take it on? Of course I would. That’s me. You all know I love to talk. I’m not a shy guy. If I have to be a leader and speak up and take over I’m happy to do that because I love this sport and I love my team and I love winning.”
Last modified on Friday, 01 July 2011 08:25

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  • avatar

    As I wrote for my Washington Post piece, (The League), In 1982 and 1987 the two strike years, One particular team stuck together in both years, getting together without coaches and practicing. The team was the Washington Redskins and they won the SuperBowl in each year. Now I'm not saying SuperBowl, but I wont be surprised if I see our Bucs win a playoff game again for the first time in 9 years.
  • avatar

    Mac: It is a bit of sarcasm about having a legitimate excuse for missing something. Guess you didn't get it. You have a good weekend too.
  • avatar

    Hey Scub, I was with you all the way until you got about halfway thru your post and started directing this vignette from the Twilight Zone. Eat some ribs and have a cold one this weekend and er......try to get some rest.
  • avatar

    It's funny how over the past 35 years of being a Bucs fan how every OTA session or camp such as this one, the media always seems to look over the heads of who is in attendance in hopes of revealing the names of the absent players. Then the fans, who believe every player should spend 24/7 honing his craft without tending to their family and personal needs, feel betrayed to the point of wanting to jettison the player for choosing to attend his own wedding, continue his personalized rehabilitation, protect his body from uninsured injury (see Michael Crabtree), or any other explanation. Bowers was on 620 yesterday and explained his situation very articulately. Anyone who listened to the young man would better understand why he and his doctor believed continuing his rehabilitation was the better option. Of course the sign of solidarity of the entire team being together would be a positive. But come on guys, it's not up to us to see if the player's excuse for not being there is a valid one that we have the authority to approve or deny. ....................Hello Mr Reynolds, this is Scubog. Cough, wheeze, gasp. This tie must be choking me. Uh, I'm sorry but I won't be commenting on any articles today. Why? Uh, well ,let's see, I puked a few nights ago and I remember my head hurting from banging it on the toilet lid but I can't feel anything now. I remember seeing a bright light and Gaines Adams motioning for me to come and get a free autograph. I feel a little cold and stiff now and I seem to have peed my good pants. This bed is real narrow and it's dark in here but I do have a light Ap on my cell phone. I went to TBO.com with my phone and saw my name in the obituary so I knew I must be even sicker than I thought. I noticed my funeral is this afternoon and the family is expecting me to attend. I'll try to comment tomorrow but I'm starting to feel really hot all of a sudden. What do you suppose that means? Hey look there's the New Jersey hockey team mascot. Can I be excused?
  • avatar

    Starting to sound like Sapp calling out his line. EXCELLENT!!!!
  • avatar

    That is one of the things I said all along. Just show up for the solidairty if nothing else. If you have rehab or can't really hit... so what, it is only a couple days to show support for the entire team. I am excited to see McCoy, Clayborne, and Foster playing on Sundays. I am also interested to see who steps up on the D-Line because it looks like Price is going to be on the PUP list. Miller will start along with McCoy. At DE I see Clayborne and Bennett starting until Bowers gets into the mix. --------------------------------------- By the sounds of it, this lockout should be over within a week and then every team will a rookie mini-camp and the free agency period. I wonder if there will be one full team OTA before training camp or if they simply don't have time for that due to free agency being crammed into what should be about 2.5 weeks
  • avatar

    Just go out about 3 PM and run up and down a football field as hard as you can and as many times as you can and hit the weight room after that. At least when the season starts they won't be winded.
  • avatar

    I'm more concerned about the rookies than I am about the vets along the D-Line. From previous PR profiles, everyone is supposed to be in workout programs with professional trainers in different locations. Bennett and Clayborn in SoCal with McCoy, Crowder/Okam at U/Texas, and bowers at Clemson. If they all come to camp looking like McCoy, then we're good to go! McCoy looks like he went from a man-child to an absolute beast. GO BUCS!
  • avatar

    Everybody has to start somewhere. McCoy has what he wants and what he got. Now he has to take the proper steps to get those two things as close together as possible. He sounds like he is ready to do that. The participation is disappointing along the D-line, but a solid reminder when holding players accountable for their effort, once training camp starts. I'm excited about watching McCoy in his second year. I'll be using Free as the measuring stick; so it’s a high bar that's been set. PR, could you please not quote when coaches or players accidentally slip about talking to one another? I think we all know it’s going on, but it just seems better not to have it in print. Thanks for all the info from the past 3 days.
  • avatar

    Okam, White, Moore, Magee, Price, Miller, and yes Bowers should have been there in support of the team. If you are rehabbing just go to the pool or get your daily regimen in but the fact that people did not even bother to show is souring. I feel like it is the same thing that bit us in the butt like when Hayward came out and admitted that the team slept on Detroit. That's not only the coaches responsibility but the player should also understand the situation and again the youth of this team shows.
  • avatar

    Go get 'em McCoy. Round up that posse and have 'em ready because there's a storm coming in a couple months and we have to be ready for it.
  • avatar

    I agree with him. Guys like Okam, Magee & Woods should have been out there doing all they can. I understand Price & Bowers rehab but McCoy made a point about being tight ... they should be there just to get closer as a unit. Heck, these guys got out of several OTA's ... there could have been better participation from the D-Line.
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