Dallas Cowboys: Why re-signing Gerald McCoy is a mistake

Gerald McCoy, DT, Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Gerald McCoy, DT, Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Gerald McCoy, DT, Dallas Cowboys
Gerald McCoy, DT, Dallas Cowboys /

Who is Gerald McCoy?

The almost 33 year old defensive tackle stands at 6-foot-4, 300 pounds and was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 2010 NFL draft with the 3rd overall pick. It didn’t start great but thinks quickly picked up as he ended his time in Tampa Bay as a six-time Pro Bowler even making an All-Pro team in 2013.

In run support, McCoy uses his dense body, good pad level, and solid arm length to leverage gaps on power and zone runs displaying the athletic ability and instincts to key the ball, get off the snap with solid explosiveness, good physical toughness to initiate contact at the POA, and then solid play strength to leverage gaps and solid lateral quickness to cover ground on zone runs.

When pass rushing, McCoy is displays a consistent club-rip move and swipe move which he times incredibly well. Because his athletic ability isn’t elite, he can struggle to finish moves when he wins leverage against an offensive lineman. When he last played, he rushed from 1, 3, and 5 technique with most success coming at the 3-technique position.

In general, McCoy’s use of hands, pad level, and effort are generally consistent. His play strength is solid but he wins more reps than he should because he maintains a low center of gravity and his hands are in the right place. His consistent effort helps with his upfield burst giving him a better chance of challenge the offensive lineman out of his pass set allowing him to use speed or counter moves to win.

All these notes are from the 2019 season which was statistically one of McCoy’s worst seasons even after playing 16 games. Since then he’s aged one and a half years and had to surgically repair a torn quad tendon. Father time is catching up to him if it hasn’t already.

As players get older there is always a drop in athletic ability to worry about. McCoy wasn’t the most explosive athlete coming out of college but his acceleration combined with his motor and competitive toughness helped him a lot as his career progressed.

As he continues to be a relatively undersized defensive tackle in the league, he needs to continue doing the little things right. Maintaining a good pad level and use of hands at the very least allows him to challenge lineman with weak anchors on bull rushes. Good effort can still help him challenge someone off the LOS allowing supporting defenders to rush unblocked as the linemen look to balance the break.

However, even as a player, the former Buccaneer’s intangibles are what make him an intriguing option. In years past, having a good leader on the defensive line has kept younger members in check and usually resulted in a boost in effort. In 2018, that leader was Tyrone Crawford and it was evident how important he was when he sat out injured in 2019.

McCoy likely would’ve been that role model this season in an interior defensive line rotation with Antwaun Woods, Trysten Hill, and Neville Gallimore. Even after the former All-Pro tore his quad, there were several reports about interactions the younger players had with McCoy during the season. McCoy has been a positive in the locker room everywhere he’s been and he should be once again assuming a return to Dallas is in the books.

McCoy is a good guy with some football left in him. But should his final days as a professional athlete end in Dallas?