NGSC Sports

Things I Don’t Get About the Bucs and Josh McCown

Being an NFL franchise in the NFC South is a test in versatility when it comes to defense. How does even one dare to build a team to stop the New Orleans Saints who feature speed all over the field or the Atlanta Falcons’ fast and furious fleet of recovering wide receivers? Should a defensive coordinator achieve this feat, would this same team be prepared for the ground grinding grit garnered by the defending division champion Carolina Panthers? While these 3 offenses have a very clear forte to focus on, one could argue that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have potential, on paper, to boast the best of both worlds in the upcoming season.

With an officially rejuvenated receiver in Vincent Jackson lining up across from 1st round draft pick, Mike Evans out of Texas A&M University and an under appreciated corps of running backs, there are weapons, if rightly wielded, that can give a good quarterback a chance to compete for a playoff payoff. . . assuming the Bucs manage to land one.

OH — What a brilliant notion! All they need is a quarterback? It’s THAT simple?!

I’ll grant acknowledging the need for a solid signal caller for any team isn’t an original concept that demonstrates football acumen to earn me a spot as a Pro-level GM, but one of the things I don’t get about the Bucs is their acquisition of former Chicago Bear back-up, Josh McCown.

Where his previous main claim to fame may have been being supplanted as a starter by former field general and future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as an Arizona Cardinal in 2005, McCown (not to be confused with his brother, Luke) continued as a career back-up on 4 other teams peppered with sparse stents of starts (not including time on the UFL’s Hartford Colonels and the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad) before his latest stop in Chicago’s 2013 depth chart.

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When starting passer, Jay Cutler, was knocked out last year, the mighty McCown had 5 starts where the Bears went 3-2, a mark that proved instrumental in the overall 8-8 record that placed Chicago a Week 17 loss away from the post season promised land where Cutler and company fell to the Green Bay Packers. Since McCown managed to keep his team in contention in the NFC North, I believe it fair to say he did exactly what was required of him as a member of the Bears’ club.

I go out of my way to mention Josh McCown’s efforts in order to pay him proper tribute. His performance coming off the bench is an accomplishment worthy of notice and respect, in my opinion. But I just don’t get how a 3-2 starter with a non-playoff team in what was among the worst divisions in football going into his 12th career year translates into a 2-year contract worth $10 million.

Someone out there will read this and inevitably exclaim, “it’s not as bad as Matt Flynn to the Seahawks”. True — getting paid millions after one game only to get beat out by an unproven 3rd round rookie sounds bad indeed (In full disclosure, the young man in question turned out to be Super Bowl XLVIIII Champion game manager, Russell Wilson). But how do you set up a quarterback in Josh McCown for a similar fate with a high price tag when there’s already a youth movement at the position in Mike Glennon that’s shown promise?

While Glennon’s record as a starting passer is 4-9 in Tampa, six of the losses were to playoff teams (including an overtime contest vs. the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks). Two of the remaining three losses were to the NFC West’s Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams — a division, from top to bottom, who is best among the league’s defensive powers. The remaining loss to list was to the division rival Atlanta Falcons, his 2nd start in 2013. Despite that tough road, Glennon’s potential rings true in completing 59% of his passes and throwing 19 touchdowns compared to 9 interceptions. All this in a year where the Bucs locker room presented more like a soap opera than an environment to nurture a developing future franchise field general.

Maybe someone out there has an answer and since I am The Student of the Game and this is the first in a series of articles where I am admitting concepts I “just don’t get”, I’m more than happy to hear it, examine it, and be educated in this game that I, and presumably you, both love.

However, while taken on its own, the 12 year NFL journeyman in Josh McCown may make some kind of sense as a veteran teaching presence. (Unless you reference that Glennon managed to beat the Detroit Lions where the Chicago Bears failed to do so in 2 tries with Jay Cutler, a passer who was ahead of McCown in the rotation). But to pay Josh McCown an average salary of $5 million per year for the next two seasons to be that mediocre mentor? I just don’t get it. . .

Author Profile

Kyle NashThe Student of the Game
Host of the Student of The Game Podcast Monday @ 7:30pm EST
Writer for NGSC Sports
Narrator of Sport Symposium on NGSC Sports YouTube Channel.

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