Bucs Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy spoke to the media during Tuesday's open locker room session and as always had a lot to say. McCoy commented on a number of subjects including the criticism that quarterback Josh Freeman has received lately.
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has been noticeably quieter this training camp than in previous years. But on Tuesday, Tampa Bay’s defensive line leader held court during open locker room, and spoke on a number of subjects including what the preseason is for, his relationship with guard Davin Joseph and also took time to defend his quarterback Josh Freeman from the seemingly long list of critics, both locally and nationally.
“Preseason is, I have to be careful of how I say this because fans are fans and true fans, the definition is fanatic, and at any moment - they don't want anything to look bad,” McCoy said. “But for clarity for the fans who may see this or hear this, we use the preseason as a grading scale for certain things, not necessarily a game. It's a brush up on things. They're always like, ‘You didn't do this, you didn't do that.’
“Well there's a difference between now and a real week. You don’t game plan for everything. There are certain situations where you do different stuff. That's not what preseason is for. It’s not to win the game it's to brush up on other stuff so that you're ready for the game.”
McCoy went on the explain further.
“You try to brush up on your technique,” McCoy said. “Coach always says use it to get ready for the season. Everybody needs training camp because everybody gets ready in different ways. A guy like Vincent Jackson, I don't think he's ever not ready. But a guy like me, I have to brush back up on my technique get my hands right, get my timing right with the pass rush give my moves down. When you see the things are starting to run smoothly that's when you kind of say, ‘Alright it's time to go there.’”
Tampa Bay’s No. 1 draft pick from 2010 also commented on his ability to flip a switch when he walks onto the practice field.
“People always used to make fun of me because they said, ‘You’re a Christian, you’re a nice guy; you can't be mean.’ I feel personally if you're playing for the Lord you should be the hardest working person on the team or definitely the field, and that's just what I try to be. That’s why I go nonstop in practice. I always tell the D-line, if you can't do it full speed during these drills at practice there's no way you're going to do when the lights come on.”
McCoy danced from subject to subject, but his eyes lit up when talking about his relationship with guard Davin Joseph.
“Davin is the man, I love going against Davin,” McCoy said. “Every time he took a rep I was there. If they said Gerald get out, I said no I'm not getting out because Davin is up. That's my partner. When it comes to getting prepared for the season that's just one thing we agreed upon. When we go, we go and that's kind of the mentality we have at Oklahoma.
“He's just been mentoring me since I got here staying on me. If he thinks I'm having a bad practice he’ll come up to me and say, ‘That's not good enough, pick it up.’ And that's what we do. We go at it that's why I couldn't wait for him to get back and when he got back he was looking for me. Every rep that Davin goes, I go out there, that's what we do. He's a very aggressive player. He's not dirty by any means but he's very aggressive and if you can handle it get off the field that's how it works.”
McCoy was asked about quarterback Josh Freeman and his impressions of how he looks this year compared to season’s past, while also sticking up for him.
“Before, Freeman he was our leader, but now it's just like he's really taking control," McCoy said. "You can hear him, ‘Listen we’re not doing that, we're doing this.’ You can hear it out there on the field; you can see his focus. I heard that someone had something not too nice to say about my quarterback and I'm not going to feed that crowd. I don't like it. If you can hear me I don't like it. I hope I don't see you.”
McCoy, who posted a career-high five sacks and earned a Pro Bowl berth last season, said being the quarterback automatically makes you an easier target of fan’s frustration and scrutiny from the media.
“Yeah, the thing is when you get named quarterback you automatically get thrown into the spotlight,” McCoy said. “If a quarterback messes up, everybody knows it. That's the way it is for any quarterback. That's why I gratefully respect them. If I mess up you'll only know if the ball goes in my gap. If the quarterback messes up everybody knows, so you have to respect those guys and I think it's an unfair target. He is a franchise quarterback but so what? There are a lot of players on the team. And the reason I think I'm so sensitive about it is because I got it for two years. They talked bad about me for two years. That's why I don't take it too well when they talk bad about my teammates.”
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