3. A HEALTHY GERALD MCCOY
Check out the best photos of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy from the first six games of the 2014 season.
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The fact that Gerald McCoy has more Pro Bowl nominations than he does full seasons in the NFL speaks to the type of player he can be when healthy.
In his five seasons, McCoy has only played in all 16 games twice – in 2012 and 2013. During his rookie season in 2010, he tore his left bicep and ended his season on injured reserve. The following season, he tore his other bicep and, again, ended his season on IR.
In 2012 and 2013, though, McCoy started all 16 games and was dominant. During that time he recorded 60 tackles, 14.5 sacks, forced a fumble and recovered two more.
McCoy was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012 and 2013, and was selected as a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press in 2013.
In 2014, the injury bug returned. McCoy re-aggravated a lingering knee injury and was placed on injured reserve in December. Despite missing the final two games of the season, he was named to his third-straight Pro Bowl.
"We have a lot of great – not good, great – ahead of us with this team and this organization," McCoy said. "A big part of that will be my health, so I need to be healthy if we're going to be successful."
Head coach Lovie Smith, who just completed his first season with McCoy, acknowledged the void left when the perennial Pro-Bowler wasn't on the field.
"We're not the same without Gerald – no team would be. I didn't like the way it looked without him out there and let's start with that, but we've played without him before. Again, we're not the same."
McCoy expects to be fully recovered for 2015 and said that his injury will not require surgery. If 2012 and 2013 are any indication, and McCoy can remain healthy for the duration of next season, 2015 could be another exciting season for No. 93.