TAMPA, Fla. -- As I looked at the Buccaneers' playing time from Monday night's win against Miami, one guy stood out.
That was defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. He was on the field for every one of Tampa Bay's 59 defensive snaps. That's highly unusual for a defensive linemen. On the NFL level, defensive linemen often rotate to conserve energy.
But the Bucs are in a situation where they're willing to take everything McCoy has to give.
"He's a dominant player right now," coach Greg Schiano said. "You never want to put somebody in jeopardy of injury. But as long as they feel that's not the case ... 95 percent because fatigue maybe has a 5 percent edge off his game. Ninety-five percent of Gerald is still better than most guys at 100 percent. Your elite guys you want to keep out there as much as you can and Gerald certainly is elite in this league."
Playing every single snap was a first for McCoy. But giving him extensive playing time has been a season-long trend.
The Bucs have had 583 defensive plays. McCoy has been on the field for 510 of them. That's 87.5 percent of Tampa Bay's defensive plays.
That's pretty amazing for a guy who many people labeled as "injury prone" during the first two years of his career. When healthy, McCoy is so good that the Bucs want him on the field as much as possible.