Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy has had enough – and who could blame him?

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 13: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 13: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy /

Buccaneers’ captain and five time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy went off on Twitter Monday – and it’s a good thing he did.

It’s astounding how underappreciated someone can be sometimes. Gerald McCoy has been that guy for the Buccaneers for far too long and it appears he’s had enough. What many are speculating has sent him over the edge were some comments made by former teammate and Buccaneers legend Ronde Barber in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday. Ronde had this to say;

"“I love Gerald (McCoy), but for a defensive tackle to drive a team, he has to have a huge personality. I mean like the personality of (Warren) Sapp or a John Randle.”"

In a follow up with Rick Stroud, Barber clarified his comments;

"“I can draw from my time playing of course, but I’m just an analyst now and in my opinion when I watch film, 93 (McCoy) is unblockable at times! Most teams that I speak to game plan specifically for him. That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means.”"

It doesn’t matter if Barber was saying this to cool things over with McCoy publicly or if he truly meant it. At this point, whatever set McCoy off, the damage has been done.

This was the rant McCoy went on Monday morning and, in my opinion, it’s well deserved – no matter who the target is.

One of the things that has irritated me for years is the lack of respect and the vitriol spewed at Gerald McCoy. McCoy, a guy who has busted his ass for this team day in and day out for his entire career only to be treated like complete garbage by the fans for the vast majority of his career.


Because he’s not Warren Sapp? Well no-freaking-duh. Who is?! Just because he isn’t Sapp doesn’t mean he’s a bad football player. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. He’s the best player on the defense. When you hear head coaches and offensive coordinators talk about the Bucs – all the way back to the Raheem Morris days – they always, always account for Gerald McCoy and do their best to take him out of the game.

Every. Single. One.

What does that tell you?

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When Mike Evans’ receptions and touchdowns tapered off towards the end of last season, what did the fans say? “Oh, he’s being double and triple teamed,” or “He’s their only weapon so defenses are taking him out of the game.” Both statements, while true, are telling. What has Gerald McCoy dealt with on every snap of his career in Tampa? Double and triple teams. It’s safe to say that for a long time, McCoy was the only weapon and coordinators were taking him out of the game.

But that’s not good enough for a lot of fans, is it? He has to be more like Sapp.

It doesn’t matter that he’s fourth all-time in sacks in Buccaneers history, does it? They didn’t come at a time in the game that you wanted them to, so they’re meaningless right?

Get outta here.

God forbid someone on the field who has played in five consecutive Pro Bowls, is a three time First Team All-Pro, and is voted into the NFL’s top 100 by his peers every year also be a nice guy on the field after the whistle and help an opposing player or two up off the ground. No no no! We can’t have that! How dare we see good sportsmanship!

Shut. Up.

Gerald McCoy is going to go down as one of the greatest Buccaneers of all time, whether you think he’s too nice or didn’t have enough fourth quarter sacks. He gave everything to this team, these fans, in some of the darkest days in the franchise’s recent history – days that are reminiscent of those hopeless seasons in the 80’s. He’s played hurt, he’s played injured, he’s given this city everything every Sunday for the last eight years.

All he gets in return is criticism, hate, and constantly being told “you’re not good enough”.

Eight years he’s dealt with this. Eight years he’s been ridiculed for being injury prone or soft or “not Sapp enough” – even as recently as today by Bucs fans favorite columnist Tom Jones. Jones called McCoy a “drama queen”, a “diva”, and that he “cares too much” what people think of him.

I challenge any person who goes after McCoy – Jones included – to show up for work day after day after day for nearly a decade and all you get to hear from anyone is how much you suck. No matter how much work you put in, no matter what your co-workers or competitors say about your talent and how great you are, you have complete strangers doing nothing but sending you tweets, Facebook messages, Instagram comments about how soft you are, how overrated you are, and how you’ll never be as good as your predecessor every single day for eight years.

Let’s see how thin skinned you are then.

No, Gerald McCoy is not Warren Sapp. He’s Gerald McCoy. He’s a Pro Bowler. He’s an All-Pro. He’s a kind, respectful person who happens to be the best player this team has had over the last decade. Who cares if he loves comic books? Who cares if he helps opponents up off the ground? Who cares if he acts a little goofy and lighthearted sometimes? He’s going to suit up and be one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL every Sunday for the team you root for.

Next: Cameron Brate's Fantasy Forecast

Maybe try appreciating the fact that we have him before we spend an entire off-season (or two, or three) talking about how the Bucs just haven’t been able to replace Gerald McCoy or his talent.