Gerald McCoy is a really good defensive lineman. This assertion may come as a surprise to some talk radio hosts, but anyone who actually watches the film has to be blown by how good McCoy is. 'Anyone' in this case includes Warren Sapp, who told the media at One Buc Place that Gerald McCoy may even be better than him (via JoeBucsFan in a must-listen bit of audio). When asked about a comment saying Gerald McCoy may be better than him, Sapp confirmed and added "if not bigger, stronger and faster than me."
Yes, that's a notoriously brash and prideful Hall of Famer who always scoffs at the 'next Warren Sapp'-designation put on some draft picks saying Gerald McCoy may be better than him. I don't think I've heard Sapp say that about anyone before.
Sapp isn't the only one, though. Stephen White has been showering him with praise on Twitter, while Pro Football Focus elected him to their mid-season All-Pro list, alongside J.J. Watt and ahead of Jason Hatcher and Fletcher Cox (and far ahead of Ndamukong Suh).
McCoy's a great football player, but he may have had the best game of his career against the Seattle Seahawks. Nine screenshots tell that story.
Those are nine separate plays on which Gerald McCoy just destroyed the guard. Sure, the Seahawks have some issues at guard, but no one has made them look this bad.
The most impressive part of McCoy's day was that he did this on eleven pass rush opportunities. Yes, just eleven. McCoy was in on 23 pass plays by my account, but he was taken out of the play by design on nine of them, faced a cut block with a quick pass on another two and finally faced one screen. That leaves eleven opportunities for a straight pass rush, and he failed to win on just two of them.
Yes, you read that right. The Bucs have plays where Gerald McCoy is taken out of the play by design. On a lot of blitzes, his job is to take up a blocker so someone else can come in free. Hence Lavonte David's five sacks on the year. On others, he is asked to take out the guard and tackle so Adrian Clayborn can loop around and maybe get a pressure on a much more slowly developing play. The Bucs run that a lot in every game, and yet Clayborn still has just three sacks. Not very successful, that.
The worst part of all of this is that Gerald McCoy was allowed to just rush probably more than in any other game -- and still he was taken out of the play on half of his pass snaps. That's a little ridiculous, and it's no surprise that Warren Sapp is angry.
Gerald McCoy is playing at such a high level that you could design a defense around him. He's a notch below J.J. Watt, but I'd put him up against any other interior defensive lineman in the NFL right now. But the Bucs just aren't treating him that way, and that's a real shame.