"QB Killa" Version 2.0
So the experts were right. We did lose in Baltimore but it was hardly the thumping that some would have had you believe before we kicked off against the Ravens last Sunday. The young Buccaneers, on the whole shutdown the Ravens' offense, and shut them out in the second half of the game.
If you take away one blown coverage for Todd Heap's 65-yard score then the Buccaneers were on level pegging with, supposedly, one of the best teams in the NFL and a perenial playoff contender. Aqib Talib's fantastic pick was the highlight of a Defensive display which saw the Buccaneers pass rush once again get constant pressure on an opposing QB. The leader of that group was, again, Gerald McCoy.
Until he recorded his first NFL sack in last week's win over San Francisco I have read various articles and heard various experts talking about our number three overall pick in terms of "Is he a bust?", "Does he have what it takes to be a factor in the NFL". This has not been universal as many true experts have said that McCoy has what it takes to be a success in pro football.
In the last few weeks it appears that two things have happened to McCoy. Firstly he has started to play without fear and secondly the training wheels are off from the coaching staff and the big man out fo Oklahoma is starting to terrorise offensive linemen and more importantly QBs.
Last Sunday McCoy recorded two sacks that any defensive lineman would have been proud of when he split double teams and dragged Joe Flacco to the ground for a big loss. That is the sort of play that convinced the Bucs that he was worth the 3rd overall pick in this year's draft.
He is also contributing in the massive improvement in the Bucs' run defense which have seen them rise from dead last in the NFL against the run to 27th (ahead of the Colts). Not a massive jump but a massive improvement.
When you assess McCoy's progress against other top defensive tackles in the NFL at this stage of their careers everything points to a bright future for Big Gerald. In his first season in the NFL Buccaneers legend Warren Sapp started just eight of sixteen games he played in (1995), recording three sacks and one interception.
Albert Haynesworth started only three games of the sixteen he played in for Tennessee in his rookie year (2002). Albert had just one sack and three passes defended, he didn't improve much through his second year where he had only two and a half sacks and four passes defended.
By comparison #93 is on course to start all sixteen games (and maybe a few more...) in his rookie year and after just eleven games already has three sacks and four passes defended outstripping both his more illustrious couterparts.
If McCoy finishes the year with five/six sacks and continues to improve at the rate he has to date then we will be looking at a Pro Bowl tackle for years to come. For my money you can keep your Ndamukong Suh and heres to another multiple sacking of Matt Ryan this weekend!