Gerald McCoy says Raiders will ‘catch a lot of people off-guard’ in 2021

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Full-throated NFL football is back in 2021, with far fewer health restrictions than last season when Allegiant Stadium sat empty as the Raiders played their first season in Las Vegas.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is back this season, too, after missing the 2020 campaign with a quad injury. The Raiders signed McCoy during training camp to boost a suspect defensive tackle group, and he’ll make his debut during the Raiders’ Week 1 matchup with the Ravens on Monday night at Allegiant.

But according to many NFL pundits, the entire Raiders roster is suspect, not just the defensive tackles. Don’t tell that to McCoy, however. He has a different vision for Las Vegas’ season. In a piece he penned for The Players’ Tribune, he predicted his new squad will catch the league by surprise.

I’m telling you, this group is about to catch a lot of people off-guard, catch a lot of people by surprise.

People are not expecting what we’re going to produce this year.

I’ve been around a lot of teams, and just like those dark days that I talked about with my rehab process, training camp has dark days. I’ve seen teams break during dark days, and I’ve seen teams fight through dark days. And this team, you can see the fight in their eyes.

… And it’s all coming together. Man, you could see it in our first preseason game, and we weren’t even playing all our starters!! And when you’ve got a head coach like what we have, who really loves what he does and loves his players? That’s all you can ask for in a head coach.

Oh, and on top of that, this fan base is one of the most iconic fan bases in NFL history.

Yeah, you really can’t beat that, man.

McCoy says the Raiders will fight through tough times, much as running back Josh Jacobs lauded his team’s fighting spirit after joint practices with the Rams. Plus, he gives coach Jon Gruden some praise, which can’t hurt as Las Vegas’ head man eyes a winning season for the first time in his new city.

But can the Raiders catch the NFL by surprise in front of a national television audience on Monday Night Football? Against quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens? If they do, McCoy will likely have to play a large role in disrupting Baltimore’s offense.

It will be a performance more than a year in the making, much like Allegiant’s own debut with fans in attendance. McCoy clearly intends to put on a show Las Vegas will always remember, inspiring his teammates to keep fighting as their season has its inevitable ups and downs, from week to week and snap to snap.

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