We have loved to quote the famous NFL Films exchange with Oilers coach Jerry Glanville and an official on their microphone, “You know what N-F-L stands for? Not for long, if you make more calls like that.” Well, for the first time since he became coach of the Buccaneers in January, Bruce Arians implied Tuesday “not for long” may pertain to perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy.
Speaking to the Tampa Bay media at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, what Arians said publicly began to cast doubt, as to whether McCoy, who’s slated to make $13 million this season, is in the short-term plans.
Arians used the phrase, “if he’s here he’s our starting 3 technique.” The key part being , “if he’s here.”
From listening to #Bucs coach Bruce Arians, it seems like Gerald McCoy’s roster status is in some doubt. “If he’s here, he’s our starting” DT. Mentions he’s disruptive but not what he was 4 years ago. And there was a mention of if the price matches the productivity.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 26, 2019
Arians also elaborated that McCoy “is not as disruptive, as he was four years ago, but still is a good player” and further said of the nine year veteran that he wants to “see the enthusiasm for the game still” with the former number one pick.
Clearly, that’s a coach sending a message through the media to one of the star players of the franchise for the past decade.
The real question is: whether it’s just motivation or if the Bucs, including GM Jason Licht have decided to potentially trade McCoy or ask him to play at a reduced salary for 2019?
It’s a nine year career that has seen McCoy enjoy a lot of personal success in terms of his stats (54.5 sacks), but very little team success, as the Bucs have only had two winning seasons, while he’s been battling in the trenches of their defense.
Specifically, the last two years overall were horrible for the Buccaneers defense under coordinator Mike Smith. The 2017 defense was the worst in the NFL in yards allowed and had the fewest sacks of any NFL team.
McCoy was virtually the lone bright spot with six of those, plus another 13 tackles for loss. Yet, he was surrounded by numerous other defensive lineman who were never going to start and play significantly for another NFL team.
Fast forward to 2018 with a Buccaneers having traded for Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, signed free agents Vinny Curry (since released) and Beau Allen from the Philadelphia Eagles, and drafted Washington massive defensive tackle Vita Vea to bolster their line. The personnel upgrades were there.
Yet, again, Smith’s scheme was awful and the Buccaneers had the worst pass defense and scoring defense in the NFL at the point in which Smith was fired mid-season. McCoy’s numbers and impact were just “okay” in 2018 with again six sacks and six tackles for losses.
Now, we wait to see what the Buccaneers actions will be, if any, with McCoy, including the possibility that he might be traded for a decent draft pick, as that approaches.
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