Gerald McCoy rarely makes an appearance during open locker room periods at One Buc Place these days.

Occasionally he’ll make a quick trip to his locker while letting the media in attendance know that he won’t be available for them that day, but it isn’t personal, McCoy says, it’s just business.

“I heard Tony Dungy say something on TV,” McCoy said. “He said when you’re winning say little and when you’re losing say less. So, that’s kind of where I’ve been at with talking, because we haven’t been winning, the defense hasn’t been playing good, there’s not really a lot of talking that needs to be done.”

The Bucs defense is allowing a league-worst 34.4 points per game this season, they rank 29th in the league with 414.2 yards per game allowed and they have just one interception on the year.

Now at the midpoint of the season, the Bucs seem to still be searching for an identity.

“It’s very frustrating,” McCoy said. “I could go into all the negatives but I’m not a negative person, so I’ll focus on the positives. The positive is we’re only halfway through the season, we have a chance to turn this thing around, we just got to come out and play, man. Got to be more disciplined, myself included, especially me, we just got tackle better.

The secondary is young, injured and inexperienced, the linebackers are missing two of their three starters from last year and the defensive line – despite adding Beau Allen, Vinny Curry, Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul in the offseason – is still struggling to consistently get pressure on the quarterback.

The Bucs rank 25th in the league with 18 sacks, with eight of those coming from Pierre-Paul.

While the defense has yet to have a trademark game, they’ve looked improved (even if it doesn’t show up in the stat sheet) under new defensive coordinator Mark Duffner.

That could certainly be his simplified playcalling or his presence on the sideline, but most players, including McCoy, have pointed to the energy he brings.

“I’ll say about Duff,” McCoy said. “He immediately brought a different type of energy. Let me say this, first and foremost, I love Coach Smith. I love Mike Smith and what he brought but every coach is different, just like Coach Buckner is different from Jay Hayes, every coach is different. What Duff brings is energy, and it’s an aura around him that you can’t help but feed off of.”

When it comes to turning this season around, eliminating missed tackles and forcing more turnovers are going to be a crucial part of that turnaround and McCoy wasted no time emphasizing that.

“In 2016, when we got on that run, in that span we talk the ball away more than any team in the NFL,” McCoy said. “So, if we are going to make a run, that’s going to have to be a part of it. It starts with the mentality in practice, going after the ball from every level, D-line, linebackers, DB’s.”

When the Bucs return home to face the Redskins this weekend the timing seems to be right for the defense to prove that they can still make an impact this season.

Washington will be playing from behind the eight ball as two of their starting offensive guards – Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao – are facing season-ending injuries that they sustained this past weekend. In addition to Scherff and Lauvao on the offensive side of the ball, WR Paul Richardson will also be forced to miss the remainder of the season.

We know the Bucs offense can get it going when it has to, but this Sunday might be a very crucial, confidence-building chance for the defense to, as McCoy said, just come out and play.

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  1. Haha ok Gerald. You’ve been saying bv this for the last 4 years. Outside of a magical 5 game run, this defense had been inept for some time and it qont improve this year. We’ve all seen enough to know that.

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  2. Yeah I think we can turn it around too. But I’m not believing it till we see it.

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  3. Well, the Skins certainly are bad on offense so if there’s any hope for Gerald it’s going to be this weekend. If we can’t fill the stat sheet with sacks against 3 backup Olinemen, and pick off multiple passes with the series of practice squad level receivers that Smith will be playing with, then we really will have hit rock bottom.

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    • I remember all the talk about how our defense was going to feast on lowly Mitch Trubisky back in September … along the way to him throwing, what was it, 6 TD passes?

      Ever notice that we make the mediocre offenses look great, and the good offenses set records like most points ever in a half in franchise history by the Cats?

      We still have games left against Brees, Ryan, and Newton, so there will be some feasting yet to come. In fact, I would not bet against Eli Manning having his best game in years, Alex Smith too, and even the lowly 49ers just put up 34 points this week.

      We better plan on scoring at least 40-45 points a game the rest of this season

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  4. I agree with McCoy that a defensive turnaround CAN happen this year. I think they’re close. The misdirection, play-fakes and double reverses completely fooled our young defensive players and substitute LBs. I’d call this an “anomaly” game a lot more than the Chicago game!… because Carolina is a top 3 rushing offense in the NFL and they used a lot of trickery to get those yards yesterday.

    The biggest concern to me is the red zone defense and takeaways. Carolina was 5/5 in the red zone and our defense is 27/30 in the red zone for the season. That’s terrible! And we haven’t had a takeaway since the Pittsburgh game! Can the Bucs just practice on red zone defense all week this week?? And takeaway drills too! Needs to be some passion and urgency about these two defensive areas in practice.

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    • The trick plays did not work because some of our defensive players are young … ALL teams have young defensive players, and such college type plays are called that because college players see them all the time.

      The trick plays worked because Duffner’s defense was drastically dumbed down from Smith’s defense, as he put it himself, it only requires that players stick to their assignments, no communicating, no thinking on the field, just react. So the obvious response by NFL defensive game planners is to call plays exactly like Norv Turner called. The results were obvious confirmation of just how dumbed down the Bucs defense is … more or less playing like high schoolers, not even like typical college defenses, let alone NFL defenses.

      Every single opponent we are going to face the rest of this season is going to rely on misdirection, changing up plays at the line, trick plays, disguises, etc. until the Bucs gain some smarts and communication.

      It really really hurt a lot this year when we lost both Vernon Hargreaves, who was our playcaller for the DBs, and later on Kwon Alexander, the overall defensive playcaller. And now we’ve also lost the guy in the booth. There is nobody left to read the offense and call the plays.

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      • So you are saying we should have kept Mike Smith? Just asking…

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        • Yes – the least bad decision was to keep Smith. Blaming Smith was stupid. That does not mean Smith is a great defensive coordinator. But he was not the cause of bad defensive play. Bad defensive play usually is the result when you have bad defensive players on the team, for the most part.

          Far better to have fired Licht last January than to try and bandaid up the D in October.

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          • Agree to disagree. We should’ve fired Mike Smith earlier than we did. Better late than never though.

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  5. People are so hard on McCoy but the man never has had any real help in his younger years, he has been one of the very few bucs player who has gained the respect of other players around the league when going up against us..I know his play this season has been underwhelming, but he has been one of the only bright player we have had since he was drafted. It’s just too bad we wasted his career here with bad teams.

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  6. McCoy is on course to have 5 sacks for the year. He is surrounded by high priced free agents, and Rookie DT’s and Corners. And this Defense is absolutely the worst. I am tired of the excuses.

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  7. I used to feel the same way as you seat26 but in the last few years I have changed my mind.
    The first time was during his pregame speech in Dallas. I though he was preparing the team for a Tony Robbins seminar, not for an NFL battle.
    Then last year when he didn’t admonish Swaggy “Fatso” Baker about his attitude against the Panthers but Alexander and Winston did, I said that was enough.
    And therin lies the problem. McCoy wants to play well, but isn’t to concerned about leading others to play better or with more passion and discipline. He also isn’t much of an NFL leader if he doesn’t have the passion component.
    And finally there was the apologizing to Big Ben after he hit him.
    When Bruce Smith heard that he couldn’t believe it. Said he never heard of an NFL defensive lineman apologize to a QB for hitting him.
    Meet Gerald McCoy.

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    • I am with you. My feeling two yrs ago was that we should have traded him when he had some worth. Now he is worth less than a 2nd round pick. He is overrated. A good DT. But definitely not one of the best.

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    • Sorry, this is a man’s professional football league, not Pop Warner. Every player has to motivate himself to succeed in the NFL, period.

      It was never McCoy’s job to motivate his fellow players. And we’ve seen how well all of Winston’s W-eating so-called “leadership skills” caused his fellow players to play like champions, or even to motivate himself to play like a champion.

      McCoy must be judged entirely by his play on the field, along with (as all other players) his behavior off the field (where it at least his behavior has to meet some minimum standards of acceptability, like not sexually assaulting young women, or engaging in shootouts). That’s it. If his play does not justify his salary, then something needs to happen.

      But knock it off with the silly sophomoric notion that rah rah tomfoolery has any meaning whatsoever in the NFL.

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      • So it’s not mccoys job to be a leader of the defense? Just stop, hes been pounding his chest as such for years. And great players DO make others around them better no matter what you say and McCoy has been below average for years.

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      • When Sapp was here, he made everyone else around him play better. Marginal players became unstoppable when Sapp was playing. McCoy seems to be unable to bring that out in players. I think he is a good DT. He just is not the kind of player that brings out the best in others. And lord knows, if you can’t do it with this bunch of free agents and Vea, forget it.

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        • I’m sort of with @naplesfan on this one. Just play football, you’re all 20 or 30 something years old and shouldn’t need to hear about eating Ws to get you to play football. You’re enormous paychecks should suffice – listen to some Ozzie Osborne before the game if that’s what you need.

          Curious though – “Marginal players became unstoppable when Sapp was playing”, who did you have in mind? I can’t recall a single DLineman that was marginal on our team and became unstoppable? All I remember is how we had Sapp and nobody (certainly not anyone unstoppable) for years until we finally signed Rice (who definitely wasn’t marginal) and then we had Sapp and Rice.

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  8. I think it’s time to either redo Gerald’s contract or trade/release when season is over. He should have no hard feelings with the Bucs since he was overpaid from the get go as he was the last draft class who could negotiate their contract as their was no 1st round pay scale.
    Gerald can still play, but he hasn’t earned this massive contract. If I’m wrong prove me wrong, and All Pro or Alternate has little value anymore. It’s all about the wins and motivating his defensive teammates to help get the wins.
    Gerald is still a good guy, good family man, good person.

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    • You said it right Horse. Gerald is a truly nice man……….so was Lee Roy. A player doesn’t have to be like Warren to be great. The issue I have with #93 is that his play just rarely stands out. We always hear about how good he is and how he is so disruptive. However, in the five plus years he’s lined up, there have been only about a half dozen plays that were even remotely game changing.

      When things are going bad, the truly great ones “kick it up a notch”. Lee Roy, Simeon, Derrick, Warren, John and especially Ronde (it’s always Ronde) rose to the occasion. Not Gerald. He’s a good, not great player. We seem to have a lot of those.

      The team is void of stars on Defense with the exception of JPP. Until Licht or the next GM infuses the Defense with players recognized as the upper echelon, we are destined to remain at the bottom. Perhaps trading McCoy would be best for both the team and him. We can be last in the league with Mr. Magoo at 3 Technique.

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    • GMC is likely to be part of the housecleaning, unless he agrees to take a big haircut to stay on the roster. But more likely than not, some other team desperate for a DT will offer to over-pay him for his last contract in the league, and he’ll be gone. Whether we can trade him for a draft pick, I dunno – the new GM will have to figure that out.

      He’s a good man and a good teammate. His fellow teammates and opposing teammates respect him a lot. But his time in Tampa is probably drawing to a close.

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  9. Naplesfan, I didn’t see anywhere that McCoy was being called on to motivate anyone but I certainly did call on him to lead his defensive team and I have never seen or heard him do that, on or off the field.
    What I have heard is the same old drivel coming out of his mouth year after year.
    Frankly, I am weary of it.
    Leaders and captains sometimes have to kick a little ass. Unfortunately I think McCoy wants to be liked to much to do that. Hence the, “I’m sorry Ben.”
    I was never the one who cared if McCoy helped anyone up off the field. A lot of players have done that and added, “I’m going to be doing this all day, get used to it.” That’s both good sportsmanship and having fun.
    I doubt, with McCoy’s salary, no one will pick him up for even a 7th and the Bucs may just keep him because there is no one better out there to replace him with.
    Also your hatred of Winston is as well known as my displeasure of Donnie Trump. The only difference I’d Donnie gives me fresh material to work with every day.
    Enough with the eating Ws speech. Its old and tiresome and only haters bring it up. It really wasn’t that big of a deal.
    Besides, I will take Winston’s passion for the game and his hatred of losing over McCoy’ s go along get along attitude anyday.

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    • Can we please stop using the word “haters”! Just because someone disagrees with your opinion doesn’t make them haters. this is why our country is so screwed up right now everybody thinks it’s okay to throw out the word hate all the time. Be nice people if you don’t agree with someone.

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    • Stating that Winston’s fake leadership via rah rah stuff that cannot even motivate himself to play well, let alone other members of the team, is not “hatred”. It is stating facts. You just don’t like the facts, so you get yourself all “motivated” by claiming facts constitute “hatred”. That is the typical act of a propagandist who already knows he’s lost the argument on the facts, so resorts to propaganda. Thus your response.

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  10. I like McCoy as a player, but we need to trade him this offseason. His production doesn’t justify the cost. We have to many holes on defense. The money we pay him could be spread around the entire defense. Plus we drafted Vea to take his spot. I think we should go hard on defense in this years draft. Especially in the secondary.

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  11. GMC has lacked production for a long time. I get it, he has the great first step. But so what. When has he ever won us a game in the 4th Qtr. When has he elevated his game in the second half of a game. When has he ever taken over a game. That’s what the great one do.

    He’s a good guy, good talent, but not one of the great ones and in no way earns what he makes. Time to move on, whatever that means.

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  12. It does not matter one iota who the Redskins have injured. Not One! Bucs have been beaten throughout this season by 2nd and 3rd stringers. And the skins by in to what Gruden says. They are a tough team. At 5-3, they will play very hard against us. They will..bring it..despite who they have on the field. Not like us. Out 1st teamers go down and all hell breaks loose! Ruck up Bucs! Nobody feels sorry for you. This is the NFL. You are what your record says you are. NExt man Up!

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  13. And it’s trypical of a denier to call all facts “propaganda.”
    Popaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
    Sorry, but I don’t believe the three facts I stated were misinformation, anymore than your tired old example of Winston’s W speech was.
    But I will give you a good example of propaganda. How about this one, when you talked about off field character, “like not sexually assaulting young women, or engaging in shootouts.”
    The reader can only assume you are refering to Winston.
    But you talk about a “shootout.” OMG, was he involved in a drive by or trading shots with the cops after robbing a bank.
    He was in a “shootout” with a couple of freinds with BB guns. OMG, lock him up, lock him up.
    That, sir, is an excellent example of propaganda.
    But as usual, I never saw you refute any of the “facts” I stated which is normal for a denier.
    And if sexual assault is so terrible to you, which it should be, then please tell us you won’t vote for Donnie Trump in the election in 2020 and you disdain his behavior and it makes him ill equipped to serve as this nations moral leader.
    Because surely to god if you can’t be a QB because you made a drunken clumsy stupid pass at a girl, then you certianly shouldn’t be President.
    And your hatred of Winston and Licht are well known out here.
    I will check back periodically to see if you have enough moral character of your own to respond to my request.

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    • Drdneast, who are you referring too?

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      • I think DrD is responding to Naples Horse. Of course he had to somehow weave his political views into what could have been a thoughtful football discussion.

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  14. As the losing team is playing ping pong in the back. You guys winning those games at least? #wtf

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  15. You think the Patriots have a ping-pong table and their locker room?

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  16. I was responding to Naplesfan.
    Sorry, scubog. I admitted my logical displeasure with Donnie was almost as strong and well known as Naplesfans hatred toward Winston and Licht.
    The final post was in regard to Naplesfans saying I was using propaganda to support my points which I was not. I don’t view facts as propaganda but I do view omitting facts and spreading half truths like Winston being involved in a “shootout” with a couple of freinds with BB guns in college to be propaganda.
    Monday night against the Cowboys, we saw a very average QB win a game because he had everything Winston doesn’t.
    A great running game which is used often, an offensive line that can block and a very competent defense that can keep the score down where his team isn’t already down by 14 points on his second possession.

    I still think Winston can be a good maybe great QB in this league, but he is going to need those other components to succeed.

    We have picked up some good offensive playmakers in the past five years but it matters little if Winston doesn’t have the time to get the ball to them or is throwing the rock 50 to 60 times a game.

    Add to that a defense that has my holes in it my than 17 yo loafers and you have a disaster waiting to happen every week which is what we currentlyhave.
    I finally have to admit Licht is behind these failures, not the coaching, and just because he was better at drafting than Bruce Allen or Mark Dominick doesn’t qualify for him to keep his job.

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