When Lovie Smith agreed to become the Buccaneers next head coach in early January, he knew the quarterback situation needed answers to a couple questions: Would Mike Glennon continue to be the starting quarterback? And if not, who would they target?
On the first day of NFL free-agency, Smith and general manager Jason Licht signed journeyman Josh McCown, who played in 8 games for the Chicago Bears in 2013, compiling a 66.5% completion percentage and throwing for 13 touchdowns with just 1 interception. The next day after the press conference, Lovie Smith made the announcement that McCown would be the starting quarterback entering the 2014 season. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for the 12-year veteran, who at one point was playing for the United Football League’s Hartford Colonials in 2010, and didn’t play in 2011 at all after being cut by the 49ers. He has been nothing short of humble since arriving in Tampa, and has received enormous praise from his teammates on his work ethic and intelligence. He received a 2-year contract and will act as a bridge to Mike Glennon.
As for the NC State grad, Glennon was deemed by Lovie Smith as Tampa Bay’s “quarterback of the future” following the first round of the NFL Draft. There was speculation that he would be traded for draft picks in case the Bucs wanted a different quarterback to develop. But Licht and Smith kept Glennon after realizing what teams were willing to give up for him. He threw for 19 touchdowns and 9 picks, with a 59.4% completion percentage in his 13 games. Those are encouraging numbers given the Bucs won just 4 games. While Glennon intends to compete for the starting spot, while at the same time continue to develop his skills. He still has a lot of growth ahead of him and can learn a lot from Josh McCown.
Only time will tell whether Lovie Smith’s plan will work, but it has the potential of paying off both in the short- and long-term.
As for what we’ll see on the field, both quarterbacks have relatively accurate arms. McCown is very underrated as an athlete. He can scramble on his own when he needs to and showed good pocket presence last year with Chicago. He also knows how to take care of the football, knowing where to go when nothing is available. Glennon may not have the same athleticism as McCown, but he makes up for it with his cannon-like arm.
Jeff Tedford’s vision for the quarterback is to have the capability of managing the offense in a quick pace. Meaning they must be very effective in communicating play calls, audibles, motions, etc. They will have tons of potential weapons around them in Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, and more up-and-coming players that have yet prove themselves. Josh McCown has to take control of this offense and lead it down the field for scoring drives on a consistent basis.
One thing is for sure, the offense will have a fresh new look that the Buccaneers franchise has never used before. The question is, will it put points on the board and win games? It all starts with Josh McCown.