Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is having another Pro Bowl-type season, and is closing in on beating his personal-best record of 9.5 sacks that he managed last season. Currently McCoy has 8.5 sacks with three games to go, and is 1.5 sacks away from hitting double digits for the first time in his NFL career.
But of his 8.5 sacks, seven have happened in the first half and just 1.5 in the second half. Opposing teams are making adjustments that McCoy hasn’t been able to overcome after halftime.
The two-time – and most likely three-time Pro Bowler after this season – has been quiet for the most part in the second half of games this year, something that needs to change in order for the Bucs to get back on the winning track and build some momentum heading into 2015.
PewterReport.com asked Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazer about the second half disparity, but the former Vikings head coach said they are happy with McCoy’s overall production, regardless of when the sacks happen.
“I’d have to say we’re pleased with what Gerald has done,” Frazier said. “It’s rare that he gets one-on-one blocking schemes. There are so many teams, when they’re in sure passing situation, they’ll bringing a center or (running) back to try to chip him. They’ll even put a tackle down. He (McCoy) has done a good job. People make adjustments some times in the second half, and sometimes the games are different than they were in the first half.
“But his production and his play, he’s been outstanding for us. And for a defensive tackle ending up with double digit sacks, that’s pretty impressive, and he’s well on his way of getting that done. No we’re not disappointed in what is happening in the second half. I think sometimes the circumstances contribute to fewer opportunities in the second half.”
Part of the lack of second half success, as Frazier alluded when he mentioned games are different in the second half, could be the fact that in some cases the Buccaneers have been behind at the half, their opponents tend to run the ball more, giving McCoy, and his defensive teammates limited opportunities for sacks. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford attempted just 13 passes in the second half after 21 attempts in the first two quarters. However that isn’t always the case as in the Bengals game the week prior, Andy Dalton had only 11 first half-pass attempts, but finished the game with 27 attempts.
Last season was similar for McCoy, where 6.5 of his nine sacks happened in the first half. For his career, McCoy has 27 sacks, with 16 of those coming in the first half (60 percent).
There is no question that opposing offensive coordinators draw a big circle around No. 93 on the whiteboard each week when they begin their weekly game planning, and know the key to stopping the Bucs pass rush for the most part, is blocking McCoy, often with double teams. The Bucs need more help with the pass rush, particularly from the right side, where free agent Michael Johnson has been a big disappointment this season. But with many games coming down to the fourth quarter (the Bucs have surrendered five fourth quarter leads) the Bucs need their $98 million franchise defensive tackle to register some clutch quarterback captures after halftime.
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 protected]
It obviously wasn’t a piece meant to bash. Just looking over the stats it was something interesting that I found. Gerald is a great player and maybe better person. And of course if this team had some legit edge pass rushers, it would open things up for him even more. The guy wins the media gentleman’s award every year and seriously is THE leader on this team. Always first out to practice from open locker room every day, and doesn’t take a rep off when he does practices. if the other 52 had his work ethic they would be leading the NFC south by a long shot.
McCoy is doing just fine. I understand completely what is happening to him in the second half. Opponents have people (coaches) that have eyes and brains too!
During the first half, they thought they had to block the other D-Linemen. Since we don’t have anybody to be concerned about, McCoy is getting double and sometimes triple-teamed. Nobody can get sacks with that much attention.
With Jacquies Smith starting to come on, maybe McCoy can get to double digits before the season is over. Just think if we had 2 other linemen that had to get the attention that McCoy is getting. Game Over!
goods points about the other team running a little more and especially the short and quick pass limits McCoy’s rushing abilities.
In the Sapp & Rice days the second half was when the opponent was forced to pass. Now they can relax after they get ahead and conclude that our offense is no threat to light the scoreboard.
The last time our scoreboard lit up was when it actually caught fire a few years back…haha
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