Veteran players reported to training camp on Wednesday, and a handful were brought into the media studio to talk about their expectations of the 2016 season, among other topics.
The Bucs PR department saved the best for last.
As usual, Tampa Bay Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy didn’t hold back and like almost always, provided the media in attendance, some great material. One of the most interesting point brought up by McCoy was about his relationship with Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and what the former Heisman Trophy winner asked him to do this season.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images
“People always ask, ‘Gerald, what type of leader are you?” Whatever type my team needs me to be,” McCoy said. “Me and Jameis had a private conversation about what he feels like this team needs me to be as a leader. I am not going to say (what it is) but I think it will be obvious when it happens. You guys are used to seeing me do things a certain way, that’s going to change.
“Because the face of the franchise came to me and said, “Hey listen, if we are going to win, we need you to do this.’ My quarterback said this is what he needs, so that is what I’m going to do. Because if he feels like this is what our team needs to win, who am I to tell him I’m not going to do that? Because I want to win too.”
McCoy continued to explain.
“Internally you won’t see it, but game day you might see it. You may even see it during training camp. It’s not a very big thing. He just told me privately so I won’t speak about it. That’s all it is. It’s not like, wait till you see this. It’s not that big a deal. Believe me. But he spoke with me privately, so when it happens it will be obvious, oh, that’s what he was talking about.
“He’s an intelligent guy, young or not, very mature and intelligent. He sits back, watches an analyzes. And he has seen something he feels like I can do to help this team be better. And its not hard to do, it is just matter of me just doing it.”
Tampa Bay’s leader in sacks and best defensive lineman has been impressed with how quickly Winston was able to establish himself as a leader even as a rookie in 2015.
“I thought it would be at least by the end of the season. It was way earlier than that,” McCoy said. “You want to be honest, it was probably Week 2, against the Saints. How he started the season and how he flipped it in a matter of a couple of days. He was ready then. He was going to make rookie mistakes, but then he played a game like he played against the Saints, then a couple weeks later we play Carolina and it was like, you see what happens. It just happens. So what? But then he finished the season out and it’s like, this is the guy. So I knew it would happen soon. That soon? Not really. But am I surprised? No.”
“I love Jameis. The day after he got drafted I went to both of his parents and told them, I would take care of him,” McCoy said. “When you go home, and get on that plane and go home, I got him. I l love him and he is like my brother. Like I said, I refer to him as the face of the franchise because he is. When they show commercials of the Bucs, they aren’t showing Gerald, they are showing Jameis. That is for a reason. And I am happy about that. Because if your quarterback is the face of the franchise, usually that tags to winning or going in a positive direction. I am excited about it. Passing the torch? Ronde gave me the torch. I didn’t ask for it. He passed it to me. Here you go Jameis! Take us to the Super Bowl!”
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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