Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a three-time Pro Bowler, is one of the most optimistic men on Tampa Bay’s roster. Almost as optimistic as his head coach, Lovie Smith, who suffered through a 2-14 season in his debut with the Buccaneers, but sees “a bright future” for the team.
McCoy and Smith share the same positive vision about the 2015 season, especially considering that Tampa Bay lost eight games by a touchdown or less, including four by three points or less. Smith’s optimism is the biggest reason why McCoy believes he is the right man to lead the franchise into next year despite a dismal 2014 campaign that started with offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s absence and was filled with injuries to key players such as quarterback Josh McCown, linebacker Lavonte David and McCoy himself, who registered a team-leading 8.5 sacks despite missing parts or all of three games this season.
“He never wavered,” McCoy said of Smith. “It doesn’t matter what happened. We could play a terrible game and he comes in the next day and he’s smiling, pointing out the good. He says, ‘All right we didn’t do this well, that’s very obvious, but look at what we did do well.’ He would show us and we didn’t know we did that much well. We got blown out, but we did do this well. When a coach can point that out, it’s something that you can build off of. He’s so intelligent. He has a championship and he’s won at every facet of the game – as a position coach, a coordinator and a head coach. A guy with that much experience, he’s seen the worst to the best. To have a guy like that, you can’t ask for much more than that.”
McCoy said that Smith was full of optimism in the final team meeting and wanted to send the players into the offseason on a positive note despite a 2-14 record.
“That’s all it was about – there wasn’t much negative,” McCoy said. “It was all the positives. One thing he did that was awesome, he told all the guys on the team this year, ‘Thank you’ because this thing will turn around and a championship is coming. Everybody on the team this year played a part in that and setting the foundation. Whether they are here next year or when we do when a championship they did play a role in it by setting the foundation for how this is going to be run. Stuff like that is why I believe in him and why I think that is really awesome.
“He said to take a break and get off your feet. You all know I don’t rest, so I probably won’t listen. I ain’t resting. Get off your feet and get some rest and when it’s time to go to work, go to work.”
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
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