Warren Sapp and Jeff Garcia Talk Bucs’ Coaching, Sapp Says McCoy is “Bigger and Better Than Me”


Aug 2, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers former defensive tackle Warren Sapp during his induction speech during the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jeff Garcia and Warren Sapp had some strong words for the Tampa Bay coaching staff on a television spot on NFL Network this week, but also had some high praise for some of the great players the Bucs have to offer.

In particular, Warren Sapp praised Gerald McCoy, saying that McCoy is “the exact player I am, if not bigger and better.” But apart from that and some positive words about Mike Glennon’s confidence (which Sapp says is rising, and that helps his teammates), the rest of the conversation was yet another indictment on the coaching staff in Tampa Bay.

Defensive Mentality

Sapp specifically mentioned the mentality of the Tampa Bay defense, something he believes is missing due to the misuse of players like McCoy and Revis. According to Sapp, using McCoy properly would “start a fire” that spreads across all of the other defenders.

So how do you use McCoy properly? You move him around. Sapp said that just putting him on the left side limits him, and that the team should allow him to line up from side to side to see where the mismatch is, and that in doing so, you inspire the rest of the team and open up more opportunities for fellow defenders.

Sapp also had some comments about the use of Darrelle Revis, and it’s not as much from an X’s and O’s standpoint as a pride standpoint.

  • “I’ve never been around a football team where you call out one of the big dogs like DeSean Jackson did to Darrelle Revis, and you don’t sic your dog back on that little dog, you gotta be kidding me.”

This is the sort of attitude that the 2002 Tampa Bay defense was built on. If opponents thought they could run on the “undersized” defensive line or throw against the “soft zone” coverage, the Bucs made them pay and defended their honor on defense with big plays in big moments.

But the 2013 defense just seems to be “bend, don’t break” with a lot of questionable decisions in terms of loose coverages and strange defensive line stunts.

It Shouldn’t Be About Scheme

Aug 3, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Warren Sapp poses with his bust at the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Garcia and Sapp both took some time to discuss the way the players are being used, and coming to an agreement that the scheme should not be the discussion.

Garcia mentioned the amount of money being spent on players on defense, saying that the team should be playing better with the money they’re spending now which wasn’t being spent a few years ago.

This got a reaction from Sapp, who commented that Garcia never got the kind of receivers that the Bucs have now, and that if Garcia was still around, he’d be able to do a lot of good things with the current offense.

But on the topic of the defense, Sapp said that it shouldn’t be about the scheme. He told the other hosts in the discussion that you can draw up whatever defense you want, but it’s “about the man in the scheme with the skills.”

Here’s what Sapp had to say about the scheme in Tampa Bay, and why it’s disappointing to him.

  • “We know how this works when you have a dominant corner. In Tampa, we forgot how to play defense, and I’m having an issue with that!”
  • “Schiano and company have ducked the challenge (of keeping Revis in a one-on-one all game).”

So in other words, two former Buccaneers see a team brimming with talent, but being held down by their coaching staff.

And for the amount of “we” and “us” used by Sapp during the segment, it’s clear he still identifies himself with the Buccaneers.

This isn’t about revenge against the Bucs for Sapp. He’s not bitter or angry. He wants “his” team to win, and they’re not doing that. So as a defensive player from one of the best defenses in NFL history, he has some serious concerns about how the defense is being run, and how it’s limiting the talent that’s already in place.

I know these comments and criticisms get old, but they’re all to make a point.  People from all around the national landscape see the flaws in Greg Schiano’s system. Just imagine what other teams are seeing in film study when they spend countless hours per day figuring out how to beat the Buccaneers.