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Buccaneers’ DT Gerald McCoy: One offseason later

The veteran defensive tackle held true to his word from last April.

NFL: New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is without question the biggest name on the defense. And with having the biggest name on a team or unit, the biggest expectations usually come with it.

McCoy has often been compared to Tampa Bay great Warren Sapp. It’s natural, giving that they played the same position. But their styles are different, supporting casts are different, and so is the era they played in. One thing is similar, and that is the commitment to improving each season.

Last offseason, the veteran defensive tackle was asked about dominating late in games. He responded by acknowledging he has to get better.

“They said, go back and look at all my fourth quarters over the last two years,” said McCoy. “The great ones make the plays in the fourth quarter. The great ones make those big shots. The great ones make the plays when it’s necessary. If I want to be considered one of those guys when my career is over, that’s what has to be done.”

In 2016, McCoy recorded two sacks in the fourth quarter. Last season he brought down the quarterback three times. So technically, that element of his game got better.

However, he also wanted to improve his overall game. Via Pro Football Focus, he also improved in hits on the quarterback. McCoy hit the quarterback 15 times in 2017 and had seven quarterback hits in 2016.

There was also improvement in hurries, where McCoy recorded 19 quarterback hurries in 2016 to 24 in 2017.

In 2018, expectations for McCoy will be high again. We can most likely see those expectations met with the additions made across the defensive line. It’ll be up to him, once again, to continue producing.

This topic did spark a decent little debate on Twitter whether he is worthy of the Hall of Fame or not. I posted a tweet below and after a brief time, nearly have of the voters are unsure if he is Hall of Fame material.

While many fans feel uncertain about it, everyone can agree that he is at the very least a very good player.