The “Ndamukong Suh vs. Gerald McCoy” debate is something that has divided Buccaneers fandom through recent weeks and there is no end in sight. Many are fine with the addition of Suh, many are furious with the loss of McCoy. That’s not to say there isn’t some crossover between the two sides as there are those that are mad at the loss of a long time franchise player but are fine with the recent addition of a multi-time All Pro and Pro Bowler. Even some media members have taken their early shots at Suh while still voicing their support of McCoy.
At the end of the day there is only one truth: Gerald McCoy is gone and Ndamukong Suh has arrived.
The two have been linked their entire careers having been drafted back-to-back and now they will each have played for the same franchise. But make no mistake about it - Suh is not of the belief he is here to replace McCoy.
No, he’s here to be Suh and win games.
If Suh is a key piece of the defense and the Buccaneers make the playoffs, the debate will rage even harder that McCoy was in Tampa Bay for nearly a decade with no postseason appearances while Suh got there in his first year. While this line of thinking isn’t exactly fair given most of the teams/coaches that McCoy has been with, it will likely ignite the fan base with excitement as it would be the team’s first trip to the playoffs in a decade. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but as I’ve said time and time again, coaching in this league matters and the Buccaneers have their first competent staff in the building since their last playoff appearance under Jon Gruden.
When he spoke to the media, Suh was blunt about the comparison;
“I’m not here to replace him (McCoy), I’m here to kind of make my own path alongside this team and be a shining emblem of some sort to help get to a winning successful situation.”
One of the big draws to Suh was playing for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, someone he considered playing for when Bowles was the head coach of the New York Jets. And what Suh explained as far as what he liked about Bowles was music to Bucs fans’ ears;
“His personality, the way he looks at things, the way he wants to attack. I think Coach Arians also mentioned in the press conference the other day about being able to attack, be very aggressive, play up the field. Obviously, people have their responsibilities and whatnot, but I’ve always enjoyed being in an attack-style defense.”
That’s another reason the two can’t truly be compared. Besides McCoy being in Tampa during his prime while Suh is on the “back nine” so to speak, is the difference is approaches. Especially over the last few years, the Buccaneers have been a passive, softer defense. Not a lot of blitzing, not a lot of pressing. Now, the Bucs look to attack from all angles which aligns well with Suh’s style and mindset.
At the end of the day, there’s no sense in comparing the two. They have two different styles, two different attitudes, and two different approaches to the game. McCoy can move on and be successful elsewhere, but he’s gone now. He had the chance to stay and didn’t want to. Suh wants to be here, to play for Arians and Bowles, and to win games. Fans can’t keep asking for culture changes and expect everything to magically change. It takes the right staff and a roster overhaul to get it done. The 2019 off-season was just step one.