Slimmed-down Gerald McCoy feels Bucs' playoff urgency By Rick Stroud and Matt Baker, Times Staff Writers Saturday, August 1, 2015 9:55pmTAMPA — The clock is ticking a little louder for DT Gerald McCoy, who is in the prime of his career.The Bucs star has been to three straight Pro Bowls and enjoyed one winning season but has had no playoff appearances during his five years in the NFL. That's why McCoy said Saturday he feels the urgency to end the Bucs' postseason drought. Tampa Bay's last playoff appearance was 2007."When I was young, I was allowed to be young. … I'm not there anymore," said McCoy, 27. "I'm going into my sixth year, and I truly believe this team will only go as far as I go. When you have a dominant guy in the middle, it helps everything out around him, which is our defense. You have a great defense, most of these teams that are winning, usually have a great defense. "That's another reason why I had to come in (to training camp) in great shape, because there's really no more talking that has to be done. I'm going into my sixth year and haven't been in the playoffs. It's like enough is enough. I definitely feel the urgency, and it's time to get it done."That's why at the request of defensive line coach Joe Cullen, McCoy used the time following offseason workouts in June to lose 12 pounds and trim 2 percent off his body fat. McCoy was listed at 6 feet 4 and 300 pounds on the roster released by the team Saturday, but his actual weight is likely less."For me, one thing Coach Cullen … does is he breaks every player down and he tells us what we need to do to have a career year or what we need to do to help this team," McCoy said. "He told me with who I am to this team and who I am to this league, I have to be in the best shape of my life. So I took that to heart and tried to come back in the best shape I could."That could be scary for opposing offenses. McCoy has recorded 23 of his 27 career sacks in the past three seasons.WINSTON EMBRACING ROLE: Rookie QB Jameis Winston downplayed the importance of being named the starter on the eve of training camp. The No. 1 overall draft pick said what's most important is that he continues to compete and improve as he adjusts to the NFL."Right now on this team, I'm just accepting my role," Winston said. "We have a lot of veterans — Vincent (Jackson), Gerald (McCoy). Those guys are our leaders. My job right now is to play quarterback."Winston said there's no tension between him and third-year QB Mike Glennon, whom he beat for the starting job."I love this opportunity that I've been given," he said. "It's a blessing. The best thing about it is my dream was to always be a professional quarterback. I've achieved that dream."The decision to anoint Winston as a starter didn't come as a surprise to McCoy. "We addressed the biggest issue we felt we had with the first overall pick," he said. "You draft a guy at that spot, I don't think you draft him to not play."RAINED OUT: Saturday's storms forced the cancellation of the first open practice of camp. The Bucs held meetings instead and went to USF for an evening practice that was not open to the public. "Not ideal conditions to start off training camp, but as I told the football team, odds are we're going to play a wet football game this coming season," coach Lovie Smith said after a 90-minute practice, much of it in steady rain. "It was a start. We set not necessarily the tempo, but the standard this first one."
Dude is 27 now, so he has some good years ahead. I don’t think he gets his wish this season, but the following season, I can see the playoffs being a possibility. He has to be Jameis's biggest fan right now. He doesn't have time for another #1 QB rebuild, in 3-4 years from now.
If we go to the playoffs this year I think it will be because our defense and Gerald McCoy play out of their minds. It is going to take time for Winston to get acclimated to the speed of the NFL. I am hoping for a career year out of McCoy though. I’d love to see him carry this team on his back and live in the backfield this year. Don’t know how realistic that wish is because our pass rush needs to step it up too.
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