McCoy's spiritualism makes him a better player

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:24 AM ET

TAMPA BAY — For most of the season, rookie defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was the subject of a lot of what ifs.

As in, what if the Detroit Lions had taken McCoy with the second pick of the draft and had left Ndamukong Suh for the Buccaneers? There had been a lot of debate in the Lions’ camp over which tackle to draft.

Since his first day in the Lions’ camp, Suh has been all-world for the Lions while McCoy was plodding along in underwhelming fashion for the Bucs. He was fine against the run but offered little pressure against the pass.

But not of late.

McCoy, the No. 3 overall pick, has had an awakening of sorts as he has posted three sacks in his past two games — his first sacks of the campaign.

Maybe it was just a matter of maturation, of adjusting to the pro game, but McCoy believes his progress stems from a more spiritual understanding of who he was and what his calling is. For McCoy, it was about commitment and understanding more than Xs and Os.

“To be honest, what it was and what’s changed in how I’m playing is God has a vision for each one of our lives,” the 22-year-old rookie told reporters. “And his vision for mine I lost focus of. And I started to live according to how I wanted to, instead of focusing on God’s vision for me. And I kind of got off on a different (path) — not that I got off on a wrong path — but my mindset was just different. And I was worried about the wrong things, and sometimes it caused me to do the wrong things.

“So once I put my total and 100% focus into God’s plan for my life, things just made a quick flip. I mean within two games I had three sacks. It happened that fast. And it was simply just God showing me, ‘Look, this is what I want you to do. This is what you’re supposed to be doing. This is what you’re not doing. So I have to open your eyes somehow.’ And that’s really what just happened.”

McCoy isn’t implying that he has God on his side and others don’t or anything along those lines.

Rather, he strayed from his faith, returned to his base and the comfort and contentment that he has found has given his game an added lift.

Not quite a miracle, but one the Bucs will gladly take.


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