Eye In The Sky comes to you from PewterReport.com contributor Steven Cheah, who has been breaking down the Buccaneers All-22 on Twitter since 2015. Cheah will be joining PewterReport.com with video analysis throughout the offseason, as well as weekly video feature analysis features during the regular season to closely examine an element of the previous week’s game. Here are a few things that stood out when watching the tape.

The first round of the draft is days away and the Bucs are picking in the top five. In 2010, the Bucs were also near the top of the draft with the No. 3 overall pick. That year, they took a defensive tackle out of Oklahoma named Gerald McCoy.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

McCoy has been a polarizing player throughout his career as he’s yet to get Tampa Bay to a post-season while also failing to reach double digit sacks in any season. Yet in 2014, the Bucs signed him to a seven-year, $95.2-million-dollar contract extension.

Fast forward to present day in 2019 and there is no more guaranteed money on that deal, so the Bucs could trade or cut McCoy who is scheduled to make $13-million dollars this season without any cap consequences. A drastic measure like that may be needed as Tampa Bay currently don’t have enough money to sign their projected draft picks and need to free up just over $8.9-million dollars to do so. But the Bucs could always come up with that money via other roster decisions that don’t involve number 93.

McCoy has been noticeably absent from off-season activities and new Bucs coach Bruce Arians certainly made waves when he said of McCoy: “He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago, but he’s still a good player. If he’s there, he’ll be our starting three [technique]. No doubt about that…”

In his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, general manager Jason Licht certainly didn’t confirm McCoy would be returning for his 10th season in pewter and red either.

Taking a look at McCoy’s film from this past season, let’s see at what type of player the now 31-year old defensive tackle is right now – or at least was a 30-year old last year.

McCoy had 21 QB hits in 2018, which was tied for the second-most he’s had in his career, just three behind his 2017 season. The play above is a microcosm of McCoy’s career as he dominates the blocker in front of him with elite get-off and technique, but the Bucs give up a near 20-yard completion. It’s a humbling reminder that no matter how good one player is, it takes a team to win.

While McCoy’s sack numbers were never huge, his presence was always felt. This play is a good example of positive play for the defense as Jason Pierre-Paul gets the sack, but a big reason was because McCoy’s quick penetration forced the quarterback to step up in the pocket.

McCoy still has a fantastic get-off at the snap of the football. Here it helps him get one of those 21 QB hits he had last season which results in an incompletion.

McCoy is still a versatile pass rushing threat as he can win with power in addition to speed.

McCoy is a complete defensive tackle as he can not only rush the passer, he is a solid run defender as well. In 2018, he ranked 26th (out of 112 interior defenders that played at least 280 snaps) in run defense according to Pro Football Focus.

McCoy is and has been a community leader in the Tampa Bay area as he sets an example of what you’d want a player representing your city to be off the field. On the field, he also does the little things like never giving up and hustling to the football and making tackles on wide receiver screens. How many defensive tackles to you see doing that?

Where do you stand on McCoy’s past and perhaps future in Tampa Bay if the Bucs don’t trade or cut him and keep him for the 2019 campaign? Do you view his career as a Buccaneer a success despite not having the desired individual or team success? Do you want him back for his 10th season at age 31 even though it would cost $13 million dollars?

Let me know in the comments section below or feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @CHEAH_SAY

I hail from, and currently live in New Jersey, but have been a Buccaneers fan since 1997. I have been a PewterReport subscriber/consumer almost as long. In 2015 I wanted to get closer to the game, so I started breaking down the All-22 tape and haven't missed a week since. I put all clips out via twitter @StevenCheah and will also be putting together some features on PewterReport with the Eye in the Sky column.

38 COMMENTS

  1. Finally someone else sees what he’s been doing for us.

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  2. Nice review of McCoy and what he can do. The question is is it worth $13 million with the cap space issue?

    I am guessing unless the Bucs cut a couple of other players they are drafting his replacement and will be going cheaper at this position. He is not as disruptive as Sapp was and he made $39 million in his 9 years in Tampa (in an early, cheaper day). Tampa historically has not kept almost anyone on the defense over 9 years (there are a few exception like Barber). I am guessing they will get rid of him at this point even though he still is fairly effective.

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  3. I could show you twice as many plays with McCoy out of his gap, being pushed into JPP’s rush lane by the guard that has McCoy’s shoulder pads taking out two defenders at once. McCoy destroys the D-line because he has one move, lunge and pray the guard doesn’t get his hands on him. Smart OGs just let McCoy lunge, which is usually with no lateral control, then simply push him away from the play. Until 2018, nearly every DE that came to the Bucs had lower production rushing along side McCoy than they did before playing with the Bucs and this is the reason. McCoy spends a lot of time out of his gap, and too often either running around a guard, getting the the way of the DE, or being pushed out of the play getting in the path of the DE. Everyone blamed those players, but it was the McCoy factor that caused their dip. Could every D-Lineman since McCoy arrived have been bad? McCoy can only go straight up the gut if the OG sucks at his job; he’ll find a half dozen slip-ups a year. That is what the tape says, and that is what McCoy’s 17 solo tackles confirm. He was never around the ball, usually away from the play or on his back with a Guard on top of him. Cherry-picking will feed the McCoy lovers another batch of rose peddles to toss, but the stats tell another story. There were 108 D-Lineman with more solo defensive stops than McCoy in 2018. That production sucks, even for a rotational player. It’s not personal folks. McCoy is not a good football player anymore, and he was been living off his 2013 season for too long. Today, its all urban legend. Get over it. McCoy will be gone and this team will finally win some games.

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    • I think you’re right about McCoy getting out of his rush lanes at times. In fact, you can see if on the tape above lol, but I think you’re also being a little dramatic. None of the DEs that have come here have been better anywhere else. You can’t possibly think McCoy is to blame other players failing at their jobs. Nothing you stated above explains why he is still effective against the run. You said you’ve got tape, show us! I don’t see McCoy “on his back with a Guard on top of him” too often. The stats do tell a story and so does the film. McCoy is a very, very good and productive defensive lineman still. Is he worth 13 mill per year? No. I don’t know if he ever has been that good, but he’s not what you try to make him out to be. I just don’t know how we keep him at $13 mill or cut him and still fill needs elsewhere. I’d hate to be Jason Licht this offseason (or next LOL)

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      • he’s actually the 7th highest paid DT behind (in order) Aaron Donald, Fletcher Cox, Geno Atkins, Kawann Short, Grady Jarrett, & Marcell Dareus. I think that’s right where he belongs, so $13M is pretty fair honestly.

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  4. Great article. It would be a huge mistake to cut him. He’s our best defender and one of the best in the league. Find other ways to free up money

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  5. I think GMC must be kept. But he must also restructure. Do any of you at PR know if he is willing or unwilling to do so?

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  6. Nice McCoy puff piece!!

    I really hope another NFL team sees it the way you do and they’re willing to trade a 5th, 6th or 7th round draft pick for his remaining 3 year contract.

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  7. I like GMC, but when has he made a game saving play or showed up on the final drive or 4th qtr? you could say the same thing about the whole defense too. You just don’t see him making those plays that the top players make for his kind of money, I hope he can restructure and we draft his future replacement.

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    • Valid point. Big time players make big time plays in big game moments.

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  8. Nice missed Face Mask on Vea in the 1st clip too.
    Can’t wait for 3-4 looks so the O Line doesn’t know where we are coming from.
    That Bull Rush video is just plain STUPID alignment.

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  9. I noticed in all the clips, GMC is not getting double teamed and he’s usually going against a RG. Didn’t Caleb Benenoch play right guard? Hmmm. Interesting.

    So 6 time pro bowl, 2 time all pro, 6th-highest-salary-at-his-position Gerald McCoy is singled up every time against the weakest offensive lineman one vs one and he finished with 6 sacks on the same line as JPP, Nassib, and Vea?

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  10. He’s not worth much over 6 million or so. So that leaves Bucs with no choice in a bad cap year. He’s average or middle pack against run. Don’t see many double teams above or last couple seasons for that matter. It is what it is and he’s not worth 13 million at 31 period. Time to move on. Little above average perhaps as far as pass rushing DT’s go but he is far from a top 5 dominant DT to me.

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  11. I seem to recall a few weeks ago some of you calling McCoy a bum….The PR guys put up a bunch of tape and you can clearly see he was getting the job done. I know the team has CAP issues and we cannot afford his large salary, so either trade him or cut him so he can sign on with another team and finish his career with dignity. Stop comparing every DT with Sapp, he was a unique player that only comes around once in awhile. If you wanna blame someone maybe you should blame the people who scout our talent.

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  12. I’m happy someone took the time to find those 6 plays that MCCoy made in the entire 2018 season.Hopefully the same person that found that amazing highlight reel is GM and make an offer for a trade.

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  13. BigSombrero
    Nice McCoy puff piece!!
    I really hope another NFL team sees it the way you do and they’re willing to trade a 5th, 6th or 7th round draft pick for his remaining 3 year contract.

    I’m sure the Bucs have been attempting to do just that. It might be possible to do so on a draft day deal as part of a trade-down package, but why else would anybody pay $13 million when they know the Bucs will have to cut him just to pay their rookies? Somebody will sign him for $9-$10 mil in a heartbeat.

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    • key is there are a lot of younger, cheaper defensive tackles in draft. if a team strikes out on those, McCoy will become more of a commodity

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  14. GMC has always produced great highlights… the issue is this is the way he plays.. Looking for the highlight. The quick lateral moves without engagement creates disruption but the O lineman are great at riding him using this movement creating huge gaps in the line. It is equally disruptive to the d-line. Love his potential, but that time has passed. He will do better as a complimentary piece versus being the focus of the defense.

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  15. He is a bum. A few video clips from twitter doesn’t change that.

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  16. I appreciate GMC’s physical capabilities and his “get off”. Guessing these clips come from early in games. My issue with him is he’s never shown up in the 4th QTR to close out a game. Never once. That’s what we need in a $13mm leader of the D.

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    • That’s simply that narrative and not the truth. Week 1 2016 had key rush on Matt Ryan to win game on 4th down.

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  17. He is still a solid player, but not like he used to be to justify him getting $13 mil this season.

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  18. Gerald McCoy is worth 6 million a year he will not take a pay cut from Tampa Bay because it’s the last place team his agent will work out a discount for a playoff team we just hope it’s not the Saints

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  19. He’s available no team wants him including us it seems, doesn’t that tell you McCoy fans something? I’m not going to get into the McCoy arguments anymore, next week at this time hopefully he’ll be replaced.

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  20. Regarding McCoy, I love this argument about how stats don’t really matter, then people bring up what they think are some favorable stats. From the article:

    “While McCoy’s sack numbers were never huge, his presence was always felt.”

    “McCoy had 21 QB hits, tied for the most in his career.”

    “McCoy is a complete defensive tackle as he can not only rush the passer, he is a solid run defender as well. In 2018, he ranked 26th…according to ProFootball Focus”

    Quote 1 – His presence? His sack numbers and batted ball numbers are small every year. His “get-off” doesn’t lead to big plays for the defense. He goes fast in the wrong direction most times and takes himself out of plays. In 9 years of games, I can’t remember one time he (a) Took over the game against inferior competition. or (b) Made the game’s critical play in it’s biggest moment. What presence?

    Quote 2 – His QB hits don’t seem to matter much. They don’t intimidate or hurt the QB and most times the QB completes the pass. QB’s completed 13 of 21 for almost 20 yards per pass on his hits.

    Quote 3 – Against the run, I don’t understand how he’s ranked the 26th DT and people think thats OK, or WORSE, they think it’s GOOD. If the Bucs had the 26th best rushing attack? Is that a good rushing attack? Then why is being 26th against the run good?? For those that would say he’s 26th out of 112 DT’s so that’s the top 25% of DT’s, I would say break down the math. 32 teams/112 players is about 4 players per team. The Bucs top 4 DT’s last year were GMC, Allen, Vea, Nunes-Roches. The Bucs rushing defense finished 24th in the league against the rush.

    The 26th best guy at DT against the run didn’t really help the 24th best rush defense last year.

    The Bucs are wise to move on from GMC, even if his awesome sense of community, great sense of humor, his love of superheroes, and his grounded personality will be missed.

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    • Appreciate the detailed feedback. Here are my responses:
      Quote 1 – I think his presence is shown in the JPP sack play. He forces QB to step up and JPP gets the sack. McCoy had a 3 sack game against Atlanta in 2013, I’d say that’s taking over a game. In Week 17 of 2017 McCoy had a big rush to force an incompletion in the end zone. Also had a big 4th quarter rush in season opening win in 2016 win at Atlanta.
      Quote 2 – QB hits if looking at it singularly matter less, but they offer insight into the player was close to getting to the QB for a sack. Maybe if the defense wasn’t constantly playing off coverage he’d have another half a second to finish the job.
      Quote 3 – It’s out of 112 DT with a minimum number of snaps, but point taken. ProFootballFocus rates him as “Good” at stopping the run for what it’s worth.

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  21. On the personal side, I’ve always enjoyed his nerdiness – maybe not scientific, but into all the superhero’s and stuff like that. . . . in terms of his football, I’d notice that he would make a statement, such as in the Cleveland game a few years back where he was knocking olinemen back on their asses. And then, teams would decide t double down on him; and, that’s the point, he never had that other guy across from him to keep teams honest. To say that McCoy had a wasted career is like saying Dan Marino and Barry Sanders had wasted careers because they never won a superbowl; it’s beside the point. Not everyone gets to win the superbowl. McCoy should and will have a place in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers history and community.

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  22. I like McCoy. He’s a great guy and I appreciate his effort and what he’s done for this team and community. He is what Arians said he is. A good player at this point in his career. You definitely cherry-picked some highlights there but what those highlights also show is that other teams don’t see him as the biggest threat on the d line anymore either. He was not double teamed once in those clips. But you know who was? Vea. A rookie. Says it all to me if I’m running the future of the team. Love what you did but time to move on if you won’t take a pay cut…

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  23. Good points from Ken.

    But I don’t see why we can’t cut Gholston or restructure McCoy. I’m not even sure we need to restructure McCoy if we cut Gholston.

    One of my biggest concerns about keeping McCoy at this point would be if his attitude has soured over this process this offseason. To me, he’s always seemingly had a me-first attitude with personal accolades and other things he’s said and done during his time here. He’s always had a problem with sharing his spotlight. If there’s a sense that this is a detriment moving forward then I’d be ok with the team releasing him or trying to get something in a trade for him.

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  24. Nice piece Steven, feelings are split on Mcoy but no one can argue that he was a great player for us. Going into this off season we all new that some of our favorite players would be gone because of the cap situation, I always felt it would be Brate that they would move since we had O.J. but now that all the dust has settled its Mcoy as the odd man out. I don’t know if it was a miscalculation on Licht & BA’s part but essentially they’ve chosen Brate over Mcoy and to me that makes little since. Unless we come out of this draft with a stud DT, I fear that this may come back to haunt us Mcoy is still a good player.

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    • 100% agree. It’s tough to gauge his value too now as most teams with a need at that position would look for a cheaper alternative in the draft. A trade will likely happen after the top guys are gone, but Gerald has been a great Buccaneer.

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  25. McCoy is not the reason we were 5-11 last year. Releasing him frees up money but it does not make us a better team. Say what you want about the “puff” piece, but nearly every NFL analyst praises McCoy’s talent and quickness and how dangerous he is. The moves made need to make this team better, not bitter. Money isn’t the problem, but 2019 cap space is. Restructure, give out bonuses to players to reduce the cap hit, weave that wicked magic they always do to hide money. But don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

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    • exactly. no single player is the reason, lots went wrong with this team to go 5-11 last year.

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  26. Sadly, GMC has become the latest in a long line of whipping boys. I agree with Bruce’s assessment, “good, not great”. Not surprisingly, that 2016 Atlanta game is the one and only play I can recall where #93 made a noticeable and meaningful play.

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  27. I know I don’t have tell you this but Mcoy was asked to do all the dirty work in Mike Smith’s defense. His job was to blow up the pocket and force the QB to step out which he did, there is no other explanation for JPP & Nassib’s numbers. What’s funny is the Giants traded JPP for the exact same reasons for why we want to get rid of Mcoy but some how we love JPP with production yet hate Mcoy for his. Before JPP the only time Mcoy has ever had a complimentary player on the Dline with him is with Bennett & Clayborne coincidentally Pro years. I disagree I don’t think Mcoy has lost a step at all and I fear after we let him go he goes and sign with Panthers, Saints or Falcons who need a DT. Imagine Gmac facing Benenoch on a Thursday Night Primetime Game on his way to sack Winston for the Fourth time. “My bad JW” “My bad JW”

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  28. I agree with Steven, Gerald McCoy is not are whole defense….he is not the reason we are 5-11 every year. Our Defense couldnt stop a high school team LOL what we need is hard nose team defense like we had in the past. everyone flying to the ball.

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  29. @pewterreportsc Steven Chea, I appreciate that you’re a Gerald McCoy fan and you’ve made your best case for his value, past and present.

    I do find it telling that when remembering a game he took over against inferior competition, you went back to 2013 against Atlanta. That was 5 seasons ago. I bet if you polled 100 long time Bucs fans, NONE would have been able to name that game.

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  30. @pewterreportsc Hey Steven Cheah, the definition of ‘narrative’ is the same as ‘cliche’, they are such because they are true.

    Give GMC the sack of Matty Ice, but to even suggest he’s been a force in the fourth quarter is simply not intellectually honest. Bucs fans know dominant defensive players, especially guys that close out games. GMC isn’t one of those guys – period.

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