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Is There a Rift Between McCoy and Winston?

Disturbing comments coming from Bucs beat writer Rick Stroud

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Gerald McCoy has been the unquestioned leader of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the last five seasons. According to Tampa Bay Times writer Rick Stroud, it appears that he's not happy with that role being taken from him.

At the very least he wants Jameis Winston to shut up. Stroud said on his morning radio show on 620 WDAE that McCoy mocked the media for scurrying off from the Bucs' locker room to see Jameis' post game press conference, "Jameis is going, Jameis going, better go talk to Jameis."

McCoy would not talk to the media after the game. Update: Greg Auman from the Tampa Bay Times assured me that Mc Coy did indeed have his normal press session after the game.  There were quotes from McCoy that appeared in post game articles. Thank you to Greg for the clarification

Now, we're not trying to stir up trouble (okay, maybe a little) but these comments seem to be in line McCoy's recent behavior of late. We're not behind the scenes, we don't know all that's been going on so perhaps we're way off base here - but seeing McCoy's non participation during Jameis' pre-game speech of the Rams game (not the first time he looked disinterested while the rest of his teammates congregated around their quarterback) and his wanting Jameis to "Just be a rookie", it seems McCoy isn't too happy with passing the "Face of the Franchise" mantle to the 22 year old quarterback.

Keep in mind, McCoy's comments were made before Jameis' now infamous "We have to fix the whys" diatribe.

No one would question McCoy's dedication. He played injured most of this season and he's the team's first perrenial Pro Bowl player since Ronde Barber retired. He's obviously frustrated by yet another season without the playoffs.

I don't believe he was one of the players Jameis was singling out as not having the desire to be a winner and not putting in the work.

McCoy though seems to be the one guy who doesn't buy into what Jameis is selling. Even during Jameis' post game "We're going to go 7-0 on these bitches" speech, McCoy was unimpressed. There may be others on the team who feel Jameis needs to tone it down but no one has been as visually disgusted by it as McCoy. It really could just be a clash in leadership styles. McCoy was always a "just have fun" kinda guy. He was never a rah-rah type. Some former Bucs like Steve White believe McCoy is right and Jameis shouldn't be saying these things publicly.

Here's the bottom line. This is now Jameis' team. It will be his team for the next decade or so. Gerald McCoy must come to terms with that and fall in line. He's still the leader of the defense so he still has that (until Kwon Alexander takes that away). If he can't reconcile that, he will find himself shipped out of town because the team can't allow a division in the locker room or someone trying to undermine Jameis.

He's not going to win a power struggle with the team's quarterback, especially since his own leadership hasn't exactly yielded results. In fact, many would say until this season there was a leadership vacuum with the Buccaneers that has now been filled by Winston and Alexander.

The old guard doesn't seem too happy about it.