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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Gerald McCoy nears first full season, defends his performance

26

December

It seems like such a run-of-the-mill achievement, simply making it through all 16 games in a single NFL season.

And for some players, it is.

But when you’re Gerald McCoy, and the lofty hopes you entered the league with have been short-circuited by consecutive season-ending injuries, then you gain a new appreciation for staying on the field.

When McCoy takes the field Sunday against the Falcons at the Georgia Dome, it will mark the first time in his three seasons that he plays wire to wire. And it means quite a bit to the 2010 No. 3 overall draft pick.

“I just want to get through this game, finish the game and see that clock tick down to zero,” McCoy said. “Then I can say, ‘Hey, I played a full season, guys. I made it.’

“One thing with me is that I don’t know what it’s like to not finish a season. I’ve always finished the season. For it to happen two years in a row, it’s like, now it’s foreign to me to finish a season. It used to not be.”

Once this final game is over, McCoy’s good health will serve him well in the offseason, too. Something that rarely has been addressed is the impact of his two torn biceps on his offseason development. The rehab from the injuries the past two years have impacted his ability to improve once those seasons ended.

“(Rehab) has definitely slowed it down,” McCoy said. “I haven’t been able to focus on football as much. I couldn’t move. Now, I can actually get out there and work on it. The things I see on film, I can actually work on it instead of waiting until I get healthy. I’ll have that much more time in the offseason to get better.”

Now that McCoy is poised to play his first full season, here’s a question: How has it gone? On paper, McCoy has been solid, recording five sacks and 15 quarterback hits while generally creating disruption for opposing offenses.

Was it everything others expected? Maybe, maybe not. But McCoy is content with his production.

“The thing is, people need to stop expecting me to be No. 99 (Warren Sapp),” McCoy said. “The guy revolutionized the position. When you bring people in, you have to stop expecting people to be (Michael) Jordan. As good as Kobe (Bryant) is, he’s still not Jordan. You can’t say Kobe is Jordan. Once people realize that I’m not him and that he revolutionized the position, and that I can only be me, then I think people will begin to understand that I do a lot more than people give me credit for. It’s just that people keep expecting me to be No. 99. He’s gone.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 6:27pm]

    

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