For those of you that are new to this site, let me let you in on a little secret, I'm not a very big fan of Gerald McCoy. I have constantly called him the type of leader the Buccaneers do not need. McCoy's fun-loving persona has been a big reason the Bucs as a franchise have been stuck in a rut for just about as long as McCoy has been in the NFL.
Sure, you like stats? McCoy will pile those up. Meaningless late 1st and/or early 2nd quarter sacks have become the norm for the 2nd half ghost. That right, after halftime is over, McCoy has been more known for his disappearing act than getting close enough to a quarterback to even attempt to help that player up off the ground.
It appeared that McCoy's mission in 2015 was to hold down Jameis Winston for as long as he could. Believe what you want, but the signs were clearly there. McCoy repeatedly said he wanted the Bucs rookie quarterback to just "enjoy" his rookie season. Any self-respected athlete doesn't enjoy losing. McCoy was also caught sulking away from the team before the Bucs faced the Rams on Thursday Night Football when that rookie quarterback was trying to rally the troops.
In less than a year, that rookie quarterback finally put his foot down, and it appears that foot has landed right on McCoy's throat.
“People ask, ‘Gerald, what type of leader are you?’ Whatever type my team needs me to be," McCoy said in advance of training camp beginning. "Jameis and I had a private conversation about what he feels like this team needs me to be as a leader. I’m not going to say, but I think it’ll be obvious when it happens. Because you guys are used to seeing me do things a certain way, that’s going to change because the face of the franchise came to me and said, ‘Hey listen, if we’re going to win we need you to do this’. Our quarterback said this is what he needs, this is what I’m going to do. Because if he feels like that’s what our team needs in order for us to win, who am I to tell him, ‘No, I’m not going to do that?’ Because I want to win too, so, he’s an intelligent guy, young or not. Very mature, very intelligent, and he sits back and he watches and analyzes and he’s seeing something that he feels like I can do to help this team be better. It’s not hard to do, it’s just a matter of me just doing it.”
There doesn't seem to be too many details, but what McCoy said spoke volumes.
I come from the school that leaders are born not taught. I believe that there are many different forms of leaders, but when someone tries to be something they aren't, they become phony, and in turn, a much less effective leader.
To say I'm concerned about this new leadership the great Gerald McCoy is going to unveil to the world would be an understatement. By no means did I think McCoy was a good leader before, and there's a big part of me that felt he was a phony then. Now, there's a chance he could become an even bigger phony, while trying to portray something he's not? Sorry, but no one's going to buy that the man with the red stripe in his hair is now suddenly going to be Mr. Tough Guy.
If Jameis Winston wants Gerald McCoy to take on a new role, the first step is keeping any shade of red out of his hair. The next step would be to remind Gerald that winning is fun. Period. Fun isn't fun unless you're winning. I would imagine Winston won't want McCoy searching for every camera and microphone to spew his childish jokes into. As perhaps one last request from Winston might be to have McCoy try and make one impact play in the 4th quarter of a game.
Some of you can continue to heap praise to McCoy as if he's some sort of Messiah to you, but he's just a football player...not even a great football player.
The Bucs need McCoy to play his role well. They don't need him to be a star. They don't need him to be a mouthpiece. They don't need him to be a leader. They damn sure don't need him to be the face of the franchise.
If McCoy accepts his new role and allows Jameis Winston to flourish as the face and leader of this team, you will start to see other young players, who may have been held back by someone like Gerald McCoy, start to also flourish in this new light much like Winston. I also believe you will see a much better and more focused Gerald McCoy, who will pay closer attention to his craft on the field rather than what he is saying to cameras off of it.
If this all transpires the way Jameis Winston envisions it, you will also see the emergence of one of the better young franchises in the NFL, and they reside right here in Tampa Bay.