Gerald McCoy didn’t take too kindly to some recent criticism of Josh Freeman from Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton and he let reporters know about it after Tuesday’s practice.
“I think [Freeman is] an unfair target. He is the franchise quarterback, but so what? There [are] a lot of players on the team.”
Tarkenton told Tampa Bay’s ESPN affiliate WDAE, “Josh Freeman is the biggest question mark and if you put a gun to my head, I’d say he’s not gonna make it.”
He didn’t stop there, adding, “He plays sometimes at a nice level…I’ve watched him, and I’ve watched him a lot. He just plays God-awful. That’s who you are, right? That’s who you are.”
McCoy said it’s the spotlight comes with the territory of the quarterback position, and that unlike a defensive lineman allowing the ball to go into his gap and nobody knows, a quarterback’s mistake is there for the world to see.
“Any quarterback who plays [the position], all credit and respect from me,” McCoy said. “A quarterback messes up and everybody knows.”
McCoy is no stranger to strong public criticism. He dealt with it himself after the Bucs drafted him third-overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and each of his first two seasons ended prematurely due to injury.
Prior to his Pro Bowl-season last year, which was his first full NFL season, some were ready to label McCoy a ‘bust.’
Now McCoy, unquestionably the leader on the Buccaneer defense and one of the most influential people in the locker room, is sticking his head out for his teammate.
“I think the reason I’m so sensitive about it is because I got it for two years. They talked bad about me for two years, so I don’t take too well to it when they talk about my teammate.”