With just three days until the Buccaneers play their first game of the season in New Orleans, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy spoke to the media about their upcoming game. And about a certain player who has been to a few Pro Bowls of his own.
“Well, this is my 9th year. To be blessed enough to see the 9th year in the NFL is huge,” McCoy. “To be blessed enough to be on the same team, that’s a team I love, is even bigger. Even more than that, I’m competing against one of the greatest players to ever do it, Drew Brees.
“So, I would have to say opening day is a pretty big one. I look forward to it, I couldn’t wait for tonight actually, football is back. I love it, I get an itch every time, my wife is like, ‘football season coming, you starting to scratch your neck’ I’m like ‘yeah, I love it,’ it’s going to be fun.”
Much like the other Bucs who spoke at the Advent Health Training Center on Thursday, when discussing the game at hand, McCoy couldn’t say enough about quarterback Drew Brees.
“I love to watch him play, I love to watch him compete,” McCoy said. “He’s one of the most fierce competitors I’ve ever seen, or ever been around, period.”
But respect for his accomplishments isn’t the only reason McCoy has good things to say about Brees. He stressed that he not only respects Brees, but being a fan at heart, he truly loves watching the way Brees plays the game. Even with the kind words, McCoy knows there is business at hand.
“People think once you get to the NFL you lose sight of being a fan of the game,” McCoy said. “I think sometimes even the players think, ‘Oh, I can’t be a fan anymore because I’ve got to compete against them,’ or, ‘I’m in the NFL too.’ For me? That’s not the case. I love Drew when we aren’t preparing for him. Right now I hate him and I don’t care if he knows. He knows I don’t like him when we’re preparing for him. When we’re playing against him I don’t like him, but overall, I never want to see him retire.”
Saints head coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees – Photo by: Getty Images
Taking on the Saints in New Orleans on Week 1 won’t be an easy task for the Bucs. On top of the injury and suspension issues they’re already facing within their own locker room, playing in the Mercedes Benz Superdome adds a whole other challenge entirely and this is a new-look Saints team.
Their defense has been overhauled, their offense – with weapons like Brees, Michael Thomas and Kamara – is as deadly as ever and Brees was sacked only 20 times last season; the fewest total sacks he’s taken since 2009.
“With Drew you can’t get frustrated, you can’t get flustered,” McCoy said. “What you have to do is keep playing the game. Drew is almost 40. What’s made him so great over the years is he doesn’t get hit much, he doesn’t get sacked much because of how well he prepares. He’s one of those guys, when you play against him, you have to just keep going, keep going, keep going. If you do things the right way, not just doing it, doing it the right way, basically it’ll open up.”
But all the odds against them doesn’t seem to bother McCoy. Good teams are the norm in this league, and in his words, if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
“It’s [a tough division], but that’s what we want. That’s how you get respect,” McCoy said. “You want to snatch your respect. You don’t want people to give it to you, you want to snatch it. You’ve got to beat the best team.”
– Article by Taylor Jenkins