Bucs Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy has seen his share of detractors over the years since being selected in the first round back in 2010. From those claiming his was injury prone, to some who have made unfair comparisons of McCoy to Warren Sapp, or even that he had a beef with rookie QB Jameis Winston last season, McCoy has virtually heard it all.
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But the latest critic, ESPN’s Atlanta Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure, took it to a whole new level in an article on Thursday, “I feel like Lovie Smith deserved more time than two years to fix what has been broken in Tampa for a while. People criticized him for relying too much on the Tampa 2 scheme, but the Buccaneers weren’t strictly a Cover 2 defense under Smith despite what outsiders might think. And I know star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had some issues with the scheme, but I also heard from reliable sources that McCoy didn’t always work his hardest.”
This raised some major eyebrows around Tampa Bay, and even across the league. PewterReport.com contacted former Bucs’ defensive line coach Joe Cullen via text about the report, and an infuriated Cullen immediately began a text reply before stopping and picking up the phone.
“You tell him to tell his source to put his name on it,” an animated Cullen said. “That is total BS. Gerald worked his ass off. I’ve coached some good ones around the league but no one worked harder than Gerald. He was limited at times because of injury but no one in that building worked harder. You can put MY name on that as a source. Total BS. Tell that guy he can call me.”
Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
That was all the confirmation we needed. Not that PewterReport.com even remotely believed McCoy didn’t work hard. We have covered McCoy since he was drafted in 2010 and witnessed every open practice, OTA and mini-camp during McCoy’s career in Tampa Bay, and never once got the impression that McCoy wasn’t a hard worker. In fact, from our perspective, McCoy was usually the first player on the practice field and sometimes the last one off, but always first to run drills, while also coaching up his fellow teammates.
And our multiple sources have never once mentioned a lack of work ethic when talking about McCoy, and Cullen, who didn’t have to go on record, was furious and quick to defend his former player.
McCoy however didn’t seem overly concerned, in fact tweeted earlier that he had got his laugh for the day. And for those who know McCoy and are around his daily during the season, all would agree it was laughable.
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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