The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the PR Bucs Monday Mailbag. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.
Question: What is the beef with Gerald McCoy all about? Any plans to address it with him?
Answer: To quote Ron Burgundy in Anchorman – “Well, that escalated quickly.” Three weeks ago, in one of his SR’s Fab 5 columns, Scott Reynolds wrote an opinion piece saying essentially, McCoy needed to step up his leadership or step aside and let Pro Bowl middle linebacker Kwon Alexander become the face and leader of the defense. His reasoning was, McCoy was thrust into the whole “face of the franchise” thing as a rookie in 2010, and while he took on that role, it is one he never seemed completely comfortable with.
McCoy is a good solider. He understood after being the overall No. 3 pick in the draft that it came with the territory. McCoy has hinted at that a number of times over the years, including soon after Jameis Winston was drafted No. 1 and also thrust into that spotlight as the face of the franchise. The thing is, Reynolds never questioned McCoy as a football player or as a person. If anything, he went out of his way to praise him for it in his SR’s Fab 5.
“Let’s get a few things straight before we tackle this topic.
Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of the elite players in the NFL and has been for a long time. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler for a reason. McCoy is currently the most decorated player in Tampa Bay and he’s a future Bucs Ring of Honor inductee.
McCoy deserves to be a team captain for his accomplishments and his lead-by-example style. I have a great deal of respect for him professionally and personally. McCoy is a great community servant and role model. He represents the Buccaneers with class. McCoy deserves to be a leader in Tampa Bay, and no, the team shouldn’t trade him this offseason or anytime soon.
Now here comes the tough love.”
Reynolds went onto suggest Alexander may be better equipped, personality-wise, to take on certain leadership responsibilities on the defensive side of the football. Soon thereafter McCoy blocked @PewterReport on Twitter, as he has done with others from time to time when he doesn’t agree with something that was written. He has a right to do that, and we didn’t take any exception to it. That doesn’t change our opinion of McCoy as a player or a person.
If you go back and look, PewterReport.com has been very favorable in its coverage McCoy over the years unlike some in the media and in the fan base who have questioned his impact and “nice guy” style of play. Not everyone can be Warren Sapp. There is plenty of room on a team for lead-by-example players. Bucs Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon wasn’t a rah-rah guy. Neither were Bucs Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks or Bucs Hall of Fame candidate Ronde Barber for the most part. It wasn’t a personal shot at McCoy. It was merely a critique, which is a legitimate facet of any reporter.
The fact is, a guy like Alexander isn’t going to step on McCoy’s toes, he has a good deal of respect for him and understands the pecking order. Reynolds was merely suggesting if McCoy isn’t comfortable in the role of being the outspoken alpha leader on defense, perhaps it would be best to step back and turn it over to someone who was, like Alexander.
The current way hasn’t worked as there has been a lack of accountability and winning culture in Tampa Bay for quite a while, including last year. McCoy has admitted to such, as recently as earlier this year at the Pro Bowl where he said players (without mentioning Chris Baker by name) needed to be held more accountable.
“Guys have to band together,“McCoy said on WDAE via The Times.“We’ve got to come together as a team and unit and get on the same page. We weren’t always on the same page.
“I think myself and Lavonte [David], we take a lot of blame for that. Not doing enough in the room or at practice. If this thing is going to change, we need to take this thing over and make sure it changes.“
“I talked to Sapp and Brooks and one thing they did, they did it,“McCoy said on WDAE via The Times.“They took it over. We’ve got to do a better job of taking it over. A lot of what I’m saying is it’s my fault things didn’t go the way they were supposed to go. But we’re going to face that.“
I have known Reynolds for 25 years. There is no agenda against McCoy at all – if anything he wants more out of him to help get the Bucs over the hump. Reynolds has defended him more times than not. Maybe too much in some people’s opinion. Through the years McCoy and Reynolds have had locker room bets and have had a good relationship since the six-time Pro Bowler entered the league in 2010.
That is why it was personally disheartening to see McCoy call Reynolds a coward via Twitter, which is just wrong. He and Reynolds texted back and forth on Sunday and Reynolds texted him twice saying he was ready and willing to meet McCoy face-to-face and has yet to receive a reply.
And perhaps most importantly, Reynolds always puts his name on what he writes. That can’t be said for everyone.
At the end of the day both Reynolds and McCoy are grown men who are allowed to have their own opinions – just as Bucs fans are entitled to the same right. McCoy wants to get to the playoffs. PewterReport.com would like to see this team reach the playoffs, too. It’s been too long. It benefits everyone to see this team make the playoffs. Whatever it takes to get there is what it is all about. Perhaps McCoy uses Reynolds’ critique as more motivation and it pours gasoline on an already burning fire.
PewterReport.com will continue to cover the Bucs with fairness, objectivity and accountability – regardless if a player, coach or member of the front office agrees or disagrees. PewterReport.com has no personal beef with McCoy. He is a Buccaneer and a damn good one.
Question: With the relationship Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett has (as displayed in the 2017 Pro Bowl) can we agree making that signing could ignite Gerald career and really bring the beast out of him?
Answer: I wouldn’t say McCoy’s career needs to be ignited. He could retire today and he would go down as one of the best Bucs players in franchise history. But McCoy will be the first to tell you there is something missing, and that is a long overdue trip to the playoffs.
Who knows how things might have turned out had the Bucs kept Bennett? There is no way to look into the future, but we do know it would have had to have been better than it has been since he left in 2012, right? The guy has notched 39 sacks in that span. The Bucs defensive ends might not have combined for that many over the last five years. It will go down as one of the team’s biggest blunders, in my opinion, and that is saying a lot. This team has a history of major gaffes that end up biting them in the rear down the road.
We can debate Bennett’s personality or character all day, but the bottom line is this team needs pass rush help desperately, and Bennett would provide that. And while igniting McCoy might not be accurate, it would certainly help this defense, and that in turn should also help McCoy.
Question: With a seventh round supplemental pick and two sixth round round picks, please speculate why the Bucs weren’t prepared to add a sixth-round pick to top Dolphins’ offer for Robert Quinn. Injury history, gap in talent vs. Ayers not worthy of higher price tag in Licht’s mind? What is your best guess?
Answer: This one, on the surface, is a head-scratcher. Now in defense of the Bucs, why did the Rams want to basically give Quinn away? Wade Phillips, their defensive coordinator, can work with anyone and loves pass rushers. Often there are behind the scene reasons that fans and many in the media don’t know about. Injury issues, character problems, work ethic and so on.
I keep thinking if you knew a fourth-round pick would notch you 8.5 sacks next year, you wouldn’t be able to turn your draft card in fast enough. So then why would the Bucs gamble on drafting a fourth-rounder and hoping he turns into an 8.5 sack guy when there is one being dangled in front of them? I could see balking at a first- or second-rounder, but a fourth-rounder? There had to have been some extenuating circumstances. General manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter know their jobs are on the line and need to win. I just can’t believe that compensation was the hold back on pulling the trigger. Perhaps the Rams didn’t want to trade Quinn in the conference and decided that an AFC team like Miami would be a better fit.
Question: For Trevor, regarding your Cover 3 on Minkah Fitzpatrick. You liken him more to a nickel than a SS due to his size but could Bucs brass draft him as a SS in the ‘multiple’ role and if so could you see it being successful despite your valid reservations about that philosophy?
Answer (Trevor Sikkema): To answer in short: yes.
The Bucs could draft Fitzpatrick and play him at nickel or strong safety or some sort of hybrid of that. He has that skill and NFL teams need three good cornerbacks in today’s game where teams are playing nickel defense at least 60-70 percent of the time. My point was just that they already have a nickel cornerback in Vernon Hargreaves, so if you’re drafting Fitzpatrick, you’re replacing a talent you already had instead of inserting a new one – unless you think Hargreaves can still be a starting outside cornerback.
But, even though every team likely needs three good cornerbacks, you’re not going to pick one in the Top 10 if you’re not going to play them at outside as a shutdown. It’s about the draft-position value there.
I like Fitzpatrick. I think he can play any position he wants at defensive back. But, if you only view him as a safety, and it’s not a single-high free safety because the Bucs already have Evans, then you’re already devaluing his potential as a Top 10 pick by limiting him to a safety role and not a more important outside cornerback role.
Talent isn’t the issue. Where they view him as a player is the question. If the Bucs are looking for a pure outside cornerback then Ohio State’s Denzel Ward might be a better first-round option.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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