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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Though undervalued by some, McCoy remains among NFL’s best

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – There is still a niche group of Buccaneers fans who, despite the fact his peers have sent him to five straight Pro Bowls, don’t understand just how special a player defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is.

It’s enough to make you wonder who they really do consider special because among defensive tackles at least, there are few better than McCoy, who is having one of his best seasons ever.

McCoy has already matched a career high (set in 2013) with 21 quarterback hits, which is just one less than the league leaders among all defenders (defensive ends Calais Campbell and Cameron Wake) have.

McCoy also has 10 tackles for loss, which is tied for the most among all defensive tackles, and a team-leading (of course) five sacks, which is the fourth most among all NFL defensive tackles.

Those numbers don’t necessarily make McCoy a lock for a sixth straight Pro Bowl, but they’re more than enough to once again make a him a favorite, and well he should be.

McCoy remains one of the most underappreciated players in franchise history, and what a lot of fans are failing to realize is that he may be getting better as he gets older.

 “He is every bit as disruptive now as he’s always been,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. “He plays the most number of plays on our defensive front. He is getting double teamed the most of anybody on our defensive front and he is still a very disruptive player. What has hurt us is when Gerald is getting double teamed and using two blockers, our other guys that have been singles haven’t been able to get home.’’

That, of course, has been a problem for the Bucs since McCoy arrived in 2010. The talents of one of the best players in franchise history have repeatedly gone to waste.

But just imagine the Bucs pass rush without McCoy. It’s barely been adequate with him, Without him the Bucs might have a hard time even being competitive. It’s too bad a niche of fans still don’t understand that and probably never will.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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