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Josh McCown unleashes play of the year on head-scratching interception (Video)

Josh McCown showed us on Sunday why he’s been a career backup rather than a successful starting quarterback in the NFL.

McCown unleashed the play of the year in the NFL (yes, it’s only Week 1 but this cannot be topped) when he threw an interception late in the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers.

It looks like McCown lost the grip when he was trying to throw a pass, fumbled the ball, picked it up off the bounce, and then for some inexplicable reason, tried to throw the pass again. It was predictably intercepted.

Here’s how the ESPN box score described the disaster:

(1:06) J.McCown to TB 40 for -3 yards. FUMBLES, and recovers at TB 40. J.McCown pass intended for B.Myers INTERCEPTED by R.Harper at TB 40. R.Harper to TB 37 for 3 yards (M.Evans).

Good job, good effort, McCown. That turnover gave Carolina the ball and they turned it into a touchdown to go up 17-0. The Panthers won 20-14 while McCown went 22-of-35 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Josh McCown interception

Video via Anthony Slater

Lovie Smith: Josh McCown will be starter, not Mike Glennon

Josh McCownJosh McCown took his first free agent visit to Tampa Bay and didn’t even visit any other teams. That is probably because he knew he would have a great chance to start for the Bucs. How do we know that? New head coach Lovie Smith is already calling him the team’s starting quarterback.

Smith, who is the team’s new head coach in place of Greg Schiano, said Wednesday that McCown is his starting quarterback.

“Yes, he is,” Smith said via the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman.

Our Steve DelVecchio noted in his post about McCown signing with the Bucs that based on the money he was receiving and the fact that there is a new regime in Tampa, McCown would have a chance to start over Mike Glennon.

Glennon was a third-round pick by the team last year out of NC State. After Josh Freeman struggled, they made the rookie their starting quarterback. Glennon was semi-productive, throwing for 2,608 yards, 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions last season.

I can’t imagine that McCown will last 16 games as a starting quarterback, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Glennon ends up starting a handful of games. Either way, neither McCown nor Glennon are the longterm answers for the Bucs.

Josh McCown signs with Bucs; will have chance to start

Josh McCown BearsJosh McCown signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday. The deal is reportedly worth a total of $10 million and includes playing time incentives as well as a $3 million incentive for making the playoffs.

With Greg Schiano having been fired and Lovie Smith now in charge, McCown should be given a legitimate opportunity to earn the starting job in training camp. Former NC State quarterback Mike Glennon was clearly Schiano’s guy and played well at times, but Smith has no loyalty to him and will likely lean toward the veteran if the competition is close.

McCown proved last season that he is more than capable of being an effective starter in the NFL when Jay Cutler missed several games with injuries. The 34-year-old veteran appeared in eight games for the Chicago Bears and threw 13 touchdowns and only one interception. Some will credit Marc Trestman’s offense for McCown’s success, but he protected the ball better than Cutler and was able to spread it out more. His presence helped Alshon Jeffery break out as a star.

The move makes a lot of sense for both sides.

Josh McCown to visit Buccaneers, Texans, Jets

Josh McCown BearsJosh McCown played extremely well in a backup role for the Chicago Bears last season and is now a free agent. He has scheduled visits to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans and New York Jets in that order, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The way free agent visits work is that the team most interested in a player usually sets up the first visit. They’ll woo the player and offer him a good deal, and oftentimes the player won’t even make it to their next scheduled visit, so don’t be surprised if McCown ends up with the Bucs.

Though McCown is exploring his options, he could still end up re-signing with the Bears. That might not be a bad idea for him if he wants to set himself up for future success; he fit in well in the Marc Trestman’s offense and threw for 13 touchdowns and just one interception playing in parts of eight games last season.

With his play for Chicago last season, McCown showed that he is a very good backup QB option.

Jets reportedly interested in Josh McCown

Josh-McCown-BearsJosh McCown filled in admirably for the Chicago Bears last season when Jay Cutler missed time with various injuries. The 34-year-old veteran compiled an impressive passer rating of 109.0 in eight games. He threw 13 touchdowns and just one interception. Because of his performance, McCown will receive plenty of offers when he becomes a free agent in March.

One team that is said to have interest in McCown is the New York Jets, who will head into the 2014 season with an uncertain quarterback situation per usual. Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News reported on Saturday that the Jets may look to sign McCown as insurance in the event that Geno Smith struggles.

Mark Sanchez is still under contract with New York, though it would be a surprise if he is not released next month. Jets backup quarterback Matt Sims has attempted just 31 passes in his NFL career, so it would make sense for Rex Ryan to bring in a veteran backup.

Smith was wildly inconsistent as the Jets’ starter in 2013, which is no surprise considering he was a rookie. However, Ryan is not going to give him another season to prove himself if he can’t win games early on. That could make the situation one that intrigues McCown.

McCown will likely try to sign with a team that will give him a chance to compete for a starting job. History tells us the Jets could be that team, especially if Smith doesn’t take serious strides in training camp.

Brandon Marshall: There has been ‘a little chatter’ about Josh McCown vs. Jay Cutler

jay-cutlerChicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman trusts his offensive system. For evidence of that, look no further than his decision to insert Jay Cutler back into the starting lineup immediately upon his return from injury. Backup quarterback Josh McCown lit it up while Cutler was recovering, but Trestman showed loyalty to his starter.

Plenty of people have questioned Trestman’s decision, and he would be receiving even more criticism if Cutler was unable to overcome his two interceptions against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Earlier this week, Brandon Marshall admitted that there has been some “chatter” within the Bears’ locker room over who the starting quarterback should be.

“I’m gonna be honest with you, there is a little chatter,” Marshall told Jay Mohr Sports on Fox Sports Radio. “There’s a human element side of things in the sporting world. You have a quarterback like Josh McCown playing so hot, not only playing great ball for the Bears, but he’s one of the hotter QB’s in the NFL. He was up there with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, those few weeks he was leading us.

“So, naturally there is gonna be a little chatter, but at the end of the day we know that Jay Cutler is our QB. He’s our franchise QB…he’s our leader.”

Again, Trestman trusts his system. While it may look to some like he is trying to please Cutler, Trestman basically feels that his offense will succeed with McCown or Cutler. Thus far, he has been right. McCown has done a far better job of protecting the ball than Cutler (13 TDs and just one interception), but Trestman believes he can win with either. If some of the players disagree, Cutler will have a chance to clam their nerves against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

H/T Around the League

Josh McCown Wood Chopping His Way Out of Starting QB Job

LBS reader and commenter Jeff emails in with the story of Dolphins quarterback Josh McCown (he’s with the Dolphins now???) who is doing his best to play his way out of the starting quarterback competition. With Chad Henne and Cleo Lemon as the other candidates, McCown actually has a legit shot. Or had, shall we say, since he just injured his hand. From the Palm Beach Post:

McCown said he suffered the injury while cutting wood with his brother, a back-up quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The McCown brothers had cleared trees in a lot near a lake back home Texas and decided to cut some of it up into firewood.

McCown was holding the wood when his brother grazed his finger with a chainsaw.

“It was kid of some miscommunication about where we were cutting,” McCown said.

Yeah, a miscommunication, you don’t say. This ranks right up there with some of our other classic weird injuries on the site. I’ll leave the final word to Jeff who sums things up perfectly: “What schmuck of a QB who makes millions with his hands would be out cutting wood. Isn’t that what he’s supposed to use the money for. Have someone else cut it for him.” Couldn’t have put it better myself.