Crazy things have been said about Buccaneers star players Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David and why they haven’t performed well this season. If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know what my thoughts are regarding both.
Early Thursday, I saw the craziest thing about McCoy — that fans think the reason for the Bucs’ lack of success on defense has been because of him. That’s absurd. Has McCoy struggled? Absolutely. But he is not the one to blame for the defense’s inability to stop anyone.
David is another one that has received a lot of criticism, and rightfully so. Fans have asked for him to show up, learn how to tackle and cover someone. The fourth-year linebacker is not the same player that he was in his first two seasons.
So, what gives?
We don’t know. Players don’t know. Heck, the coaches don’t even know or else they would have already figured it out. All we can do is try and find a common denominator.
Why is the defense playing worse? Why are these star players struggling? The answer may be in previous posts right here on TBC, but I did some research on Thursday to further validate the reasons why the defense is so bad.
Going back to David’s coverage skills — or lack thereof as people say — he hasn’t fared will in 2015. If you look back, he also didn’t do great in 2014. But let’s look back a bit more. David recorded six interceptions under former head coach Greg Schiano in two seasons. So far he has none under Lovie Smith. He also recorded nine sacks under Schiano while just two under Smith.
You can find similar issues in McCoy’s game as well to some level when comparing regimes. In 2013 under Schiano, McCoy ranked eighth in the league in quarterback hurries/pressures. Since then, he was ranked 27th last season and currently sits as the 38th ranked defensive player in that category. That’s startling for a player many try to call “elite.”
So while I have been critical of McCoy, I do understand scheme, coach or a combination of both, maybe even other factors, are contributing to a regression of sorts. That also applies to David’s play.
Some will say it’s solely on the player and not the scheme as it has even been written. But that’s silly. When you consider what they have done before and compare it to what they have done under new coaching, you see the reasons why they are not the same players.