Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Defensive Success All Depends on Gerald McCoy

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMay 30, 2012

Defensive success will depend heavily on Gerald McCoy.
Defensive success will depend heavily on Gerald McCoy.J. Meric/Getty Images

If he could tackle like he tweets, you'd have the second coming of Warren Sapp.

If personality counted toward Pro Bowls, he'd be there every year.

If he could sack like he comes through on videos, he'd be the new "QB Killa."

"If" is the biggest word used these days when talking about the great "Geraldini" and that would be Gerald McCoy, who now refers to himself in the third person as "The Dini."

Okay, we're good with "The Dini" and it's fun and Gerald is simply a wonderfully pleasant guy, personable, someone you'd love to hang out with. He is everything off the field that Sapp wasn't. Sapp was a miserable cur and that was on a good day. Asking him for an autograph was akin to asking him to rip out his eye teeth, as far as he was concerned.

McCoy is the life of the party. Now it's up to him to be the life of the party when the game's on the line in the fourth quarter. It's up to "The Dini" to sack "The Cam" when Newton's ready to get a key third-down completion in the season opener.

It is certainly past time for "The Dini" to prove that he's not "Hou-Dini" and do another disappearing act this season. It's as simple as this: If the Tampa Bay defense is going to evolve into a credible unit, McCoy has to be the guy, he's got to play big and come up big, he's got to become something akin to Sapp. If not, then some sort of "Baby Sapp."

"The Dini" tells us he's been working hard, and he should, we'd all work even harder if we had received the massive amount of money that could provide security for the next three generations of "Dinis." This is his job and he's being compensated like one of the best in the world. It's time for him to live up to the compensation, isn't it?

Say what you want about Sapp's seemingly blubbery body, it held up well and man could the fat guy motor. He'd blow away the competition in those defensive lineman skills tests. He was faster than fast off the ball, he could beat double-teams, no problem. Sapp was Sapp and he got to know a lot of quarterbacks up close and personal.

It was Sapp who made the world an easier place for Derrick Brooks and who started things for Tampa's Super Bowl defense. He was the Alpha Dog.

Now it's time for the "Dini-Dog" isn't it?

The great thing for the "Dini" is that the fans love him, and no one is pulling harder for his success than the majority of the Tampa Bay fan base.

The only guy pulling harder is Mark Dominik, the guy who drafted him third overall pick in the 2010 draft.

These are desperate times for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense. The unit looked beyond horrible last season, and thank goodness that new coach Greg Schiano's area of expertise is defense. This is not a re-hab situation for Schiano, it's a tear-down and build it all over again scenario.

Schiano can do all he wants to make the summer heat his friend come September, but if you can't get your defense off the field, it doesn't matter how well conditioned his team might be, it's guaranteed to melt if it's on the field 40 of the 60 minutes.

You can talk all you want about this being an incredibly crucial year for Josh Freeman. Certainly it is.

But it's even more crucial for McCoy and his alter ego, "The Dini."