TAMPA FL - NOVEMBER 14: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy #93 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers causes running back Mike Goodson #33 of the Carolina Panthers to fumble during the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 14 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Gerald McCoy was the third overall pick in 2010. The man was a dominant defensive tackle in college and expectations were high going into 2010. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma standout disappointed in his first year in the pros. He got off to a slow start, even though he flashed his talent at times. But he seemed to play slow and tentative, trying not to mess up instead of trying to cause disruption. The fact that Ndamukong Suh was picked one pick higher meant that he was going to be compared to someone who was breaking the rookie sack record. That, of course, didn't help.
But somewhere along the line, Gerald McCoy picked up the game. He stopped worrying about messing up and started to play fast. he used his explosive first step and quick hands to get into the backfield and cause disruption. This was first visible against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11, where he got two half-sacks. The next Week against the Ravens, he managed to get two solo sacks. And against the Falcons he didn't get a sack, but he was constantly in the backfield disrupting the Falcons' offense. If you asked me which game was his best game, that would be the game I'd point to. Unfortunately he couldn't finish the season as he tore a biceps against the Redskins the very next game.
If the Bucs want to succeed next year, though, they need to get the Gerald McCoy of the last three games, not the Gerald McCoy of the first 10 games. McCoy has been working out almost this entire offseason to that end, but there's only so much he can get done on his own. The Bucs hired two defensive line coaches to get the D-line up to speed, one of them being former NFL standout 3-technique Keith Millard. And, of course, they can't even talk to McCoy or any other D-lineman because of the lockout. The Bucs need to see a better defensive line next season, but without some offseason time with coaches there's not a big chance of that happening.