Gerald McCoy is proving that last year's Pro Bowl season wasn't a fluke. He's become the 'Real Mccoy,' proving worthy of his first-round status.
Against the Falcons, he had a career day. His three sacks tied a Bucs record for defensive tackles with Warren Sapp and Brad Culpepper. His six sacks on the season matches his career high.
To the Bucs, there's no doubt that he's getting better.
"I think so," said Greg Schiano. "I think we have a lot of football left to play, too. I think Gerald is - we talked about him coming off the injury two years ago. He had … a really good year a year ago."
"Now he's taking that and incorporating that into different things, different techniques, his game has grown and I think his mental approach has grown as well. He keeps getting better," Schiano said.
A team captain and locker room leader, McCoy loves to talk. He's got an opinion on almost any topic but is humble about himself.
"Um, I've seen some improvement," he said. "But I'm not really thinking about that."
There are a lot of eyes on McCoy right now, including a lot inside One Buc Place. Rookie Akeem Spence, who lines up next to him on the defensive line, admits he doesn't get to watch McCoy in action during games.
So during the week, he calls up McCoy's game tape to study him – secretly.
"When he isn't in there," Spence said. "I go back and I look. I'm not watching myself. I'm watching him. I'm like, 'dang man.' I say I wish I could do that (with a big smile)."
Has McCoy ever caught him?
'No, he's not going to catch me," he added with a grin. "So you all don't tell him."
"It's an honor. I guess for him to be watching me," McCoy said.
"I'm going to catch him," McCoy joked. "I'm going to catch him, and I won't tell him you told me."
McCoy's posting numbers that ranks him among the league's best tacklers. He trails the leaders in sacks by one and is second to Ndamukong Suh in combined sacks, hits and hurries. He's just one sack away.
"People ask me what was my goal this year after having a Pro Bowl season," he said. "I said I didn't want to remain stagnant or go backwards. I feel like I'm moving forward."
McCoy is moving forward, and carrying the Bucs defense with him.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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