Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Gerald McCoy has tons of love for his days with the team, expect when it comes to particular head coach.
Gerald McCoy retired from the NFL this offseason, but he’s taking some pretty incredible memories and stories with him.
His best years were spent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which unfortunately overlapped with some of the darkest days in franchise history. It’s not McCoy’s fault the 2010s era for the Bucs was so pitifully bad and filled with empty promises, and for many he was the sole bright spot throughout that period of time.
Despite best efforts by some truly incompetent people, McCoy was a Pro Bowl player on one of the most consistently bad teams of the decade. There are more than a few folks who deserve blame for how things went, but the poster boy for those troubled times is former head coach Greg Schiano.
There was about a three second period where it looked like things might turn out, but what ensued after hiring Schiano were two of the worst years the team has ever endured. It wasn’t just the losing, but Schiano’s tenure is often cited as the turning point in the Bucs sharp descent into total darkness until Tom Brady helped everyone see the light again so many years later.
McCoy didn’t get to be a part of the Brady era, and he rightfully carries around an axe for what Schiano did to his team and his legacy while in Tampa Bay.
Bucs fans don’t need any convincing to pile on Schiano for what he did to the franchise, and hearing the joy in McCoy’s voice instantly sucked out of the room upon his mention is proof that the trauma is shared.
Gerald McCoy cooked Greg Schiano while re-telling old Bucs stories
McCoy sat down with Chris Long on the Green Light podcast to share some old stories from his playing days. Most of them are exactly the type of joyous stuff we’ve come to love and expect out of McCoy, but not even his high positivity personality can mask the disdain he has for Schiano.
McCoy was recalling the amazing dichotomy of former teammate Michael Bennett, and the goofy stories unsurprisingly come to an abrupt end when they begin to overlap with Schiano’s tenure.
”What Mike did, he was like a computer. He could download a whole offense, not practice all week, and some of the things you saw him do in Seattle he was doing in Tampa but we had Greg Schiano,” McCoy said. “He wasn’t allowing Mike to do all of that. So when he got to Seattle Pete [Carroll] was letting Mike make plays.”
We all knew that Schiano was bad news for the Bucs but this seems to be even more confirmation of how truly dark those days were for the franchise. Not only did Schiano grind any progress the franchise might have been making to a halt, but it’s pretty clear he set things back in a rather significant way.
Michael Bennett was a beloved player in Tampa Bay, and it was clear that he was an extremely talented player. Fans who are routinely rushed off for being armchair analysts could see it clear as day, yet Schiano refused to allow his ego to recognize a player who could have helped change things both on and off the field in Tampa Bay.
McCoy went on to tell a story about how former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley took the opposite approach to Bennett that Schiano did and how it impacted his coaching style.
“All the way up until last year with the Raiders, Gus Bradley would insert certain defenses and he had certain calls for the defensive line that he took because Mike did it on his own,” McCoy said. He’s not playing within the scheme of the defense because he’s thinking ‘this is stupid, I know where the ball is going’.”
Now, imagine if Schiano had tabled his faux tough guy schtick long enough to let Bennett leave an imprint on the Bucs defense. There’s no guarantee things would have worked out, but that era for the franchise likely would have been more fun and felt less like we were sent it military school.
There’s also a chance Bennett’s personality helped elevate the Bucs brand and made the team fun on a national stage even if the team still wasn’t able to get over the hump.
It’s another What-If from that era in Bucs football, and further confirmation that Greg Schiano was one of the biggest mistakes the franchise has ever made.