Press Conference 4/20/15 transcript: Gerald McCoy

Thoughts on free agency acquisitions:
“I think it’s always great to have guys that have been in the system that you play. Coach did a great job of bringing in guys who have been in the system that we play, guys that have won games in the system that we play, so they bring a lot of experience – something we need. I told the defensive guys today, I told them, ‘Hey, get around those guys. Coach brought them in for a reason, they know what we play,’ because we’re working out right now. And the workouts are great, it’s always great to be in shape, but if you can’t play the game it doesn’t matter how in shape you are. You’re not performing. So I told guys to get around those guys that Coach brought in. He brought them in for a reason. Well, use those guys as a resource because they’ve been in this defense, they know what it takes to win with this defense, so it’ll be very helpful for us.”

If this defense can be an improvement over last year:
“Yeah, of course.”

His excitement level compared to previous years in the league:
“Mine goes up every year because that’s another opportunity I have to play this game I’ve been blessed to play. You see careers end all the time, and I’m going into my sixth year. That’s a blessing, so any time I have an opportunity to come back and perform or get an opportunity to perform I get excited. And the older I get, the more excited I get because if I’m getting older but I’m still playing, then that’s a blessing. So just every year I get more excited.”

What he knows about the team’s draft plans:
“I’ve talked to them. That’s it – that’s all you get.”

On mentoring the year’s draft picks:
“It will be a great opportunity for me because I didn’t have that when I came in, so to have a guy come in to get picked as high as our pick is this year, whoever it may be, I’m honestly going to take it upon myself to try to mentor that guy because, like you said, I know the pressures of being picked high and people expect so much from you when you get picked that high. But people have to realize these guys are still kids coming in. Just because your age says 21-22, I can guarantee you from when I came in when I was 22 to me being 27 now, it’s a completely different person. Those guys need somebody around them to show them how to be a professional. It’s not all about talent, what you do on the field. There’s a lot that goes into being a professional, all the way from balancing out your time to how you practice to how you get your body ready. You’ve got to take care of your body, man. That’s how guys last in this league, that’s how you see guys play 10,12,14 years – they take care of their bodies. So there’s more to being a professional football player than just performing on Sundays.”

The biggest shock for him when entering the NFL:
“The lowest-tiered guy in the NFL is better than the best guy in college. That’s how the NFL works. You know, people make these comparisons when you see this great college football team it’s like, ‘I bet you they could beat the so-and-so’s of the NFL.’ Not even close. The [NFL team] would beat them by 60. The talent level and the skill set is so much higher in the NFL, I don’t think people realize. So when you have a guy that comes in and dominates in his rookie year, that lets you know really how talented that guy really is.”

Expectations of defensive end George Johnson:
“Just George to be George. And when I say that, George always had the ability to rush the passer. His years here, when I was with him, he could rush inside, he could rush outside, he played all over the field. But one thing he could always do was rush the passer, so that’s why they brought him in – they want him to get after the quarterback. He kind of bounced around a little bit but he found a home in Detroit, and then we had an opportunity to get him and I’m glad to have him back. Something I’ll say about George is he’s very focused when he comes to work and he’s all about business. I mean yes, he’ll have fun with us but when he steps on the field, whether it’s workouts or he’s in the weight room, in the meeting room, he’s all about business and I think that’s why he’ll be successful. He’s really going to help us out.”

Regarding the red streak in his hair:
“I needed to give you all something to talk about. I’ve been telling everybody, if I did something normal, you all would think something was wrong with me. I got to do something out of the box so you all know Gerald is fine.”

His thoughts on Jacquies Smith:
“He’s got a lot of talent, but that’s really what made him successful was just raw talent. But now he has an opportunity to spend an entire offseason with us really learning the ins and outs of this defense. And on top of that, he gets a full offseason with [defensive line coach] Joe Cullen. The leap that guys made with Coach Cullen from last offseason until when the season started was a tremendous leap. So you’ve got a guy with as much talent as ‘Jac’ and you give him a full offseason with a great coach like Coach Cullen, the sky’s the limit.”

The rest of the team’s feelings about the draft:
“Amongst us in the locker room? We’re not thinking about that because we’re here now, so you can’t really think about who’s not here. We can only focus on who’s here, what we have to do  and then when whoever we bring in when the draft is over, we’re going to welcome them like family and we’re going to move forward. But honestly, today I haven’t heard anybody even bring up the draft and usually guys don’t talk about it. It’s kind of like, alright, cool. He’s one of us, let’s move forward.”

If first round picks are ever prepared coming into the NFL:
“Nothing prepares you for that. It’s just like nothing you can do can prepare you for training camp in Tampa. It sucks, but you just attack it full speed and hope you come out alive. That’s what being a top five pick is, man. You attack it full speed and hopefully, when you come out, you see a light at the end of the tunnel. When you come out, you’re still breathing. It’s the same thing with training camp in Tampa.”

If he tried anything new with his offseason workouts:
“I don’t know if it’s anything new, I just doubled my regimen. I haven’t been to the playoffs, guys. Kind of sick of it. All I can do is focus on what I can do better and if I can be better, I believe our team will be better so I just doubled my workout regimen. My last two weeks of my training – I pulled 10-workout weeks, so by Thursday I had done 10 workouts, and it hurt but it is what it is. These guys look up to me to lead us, and that’s what I want to do.”

On if there is room for more than one face of the franchise:
“I don’t know. You tell me. It is what it is. Whether I’m the face of the franchise or not, I’m not going to stop leading. I’m just going to be me. Guys look up to me to be me, and that’s all I’m going to be.”

Impressions of quarterback Marcus Mariota:
“I don’t watch college football. I do not. I didn’t watch the National Championship, I didn’t watch the games before that. I don’t watch it. I mean, I’ve got you guys talking about me coming up every week, so I’ve got to focus on that. I can’t really just be focused on college football. I honestly don’t watch it.”

His opinion of defensive tackle Henry Melton:
“Oh that’s my man. Henry has always had the ability to rush the passer as well. I think he’s – if you look at guys who have switched positions coming into the NFL, he’s one of the guys who’s made a great transition. I mean, he went from a running back to a Pro Bowl defensive tackle. That’s not easy to do, but he did it and I think he’s going to bring a different type of mentality we need up front and he’s got a lot of experience and it’s going to be fun.”

The atmosphere in the organization right now:
“Guys are just open-minded. Last year is what it is – we’re not focused on that. We’re only looking forward, and at this stage right here, everybody’s undefeated so everybody has an equal opportunity to win the Super Bowl. That’s how we’re approaching this offseason, that’s how we’re going to approach training camp and that’s how we’re going to approach the season. Everybody’s undefeated right now. What the record ends up being depends on what we do.”

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