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Thursday, Nov 27, 2014
Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: McCown at best a short-term answer

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2014 at 10:01 AM

TAMPA — There's a new Bucs starting quarterback in town and it isn't Mike Glennon.

There's a new Josh in town and his last name isn't Freeman.

There's a new McCown in town and his first name isn't Luke.

Yes, the Bucs have completed the McCown boxed QB set.

Josh McCown, 34, is the new Bucs quarterback.

Lovie Smith said so Wednesday, after helping introduce a gaggle of other free-agent signings.

Josh McCown is the starter.

He's a fine backup.

The Bucs have just started Glennon's career as an NFL second-stringer by replacing him with ... a career NFL second-stringer.

No less, no more.

Excited yet, Bucs fans?

This will be McCown's 12th NFL season and his eighth NFL team. He has been kicked around. He has survived. Hey, Lovie once released McCown from the Bears in 2012. Brought him back a few months later, though. Now they're together again.

Lovie Smith knows and trusts journeyman Josh. He sees a quarterback who knows what to do and what not to do, someone who simply never really got an extended chance in one place. He sees a great guy, a glue guy. Lovie Smith sees a great story, and that McCown most definitely is — a guy who played for the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League when the NFL wouldn't have him, who at one point took a job as an assistant high school football coach.

And Smith sees a late bloomer, the real McCown, who threw 13 touchdowns and just one interception for the Bears last season while filling in for the injured Jay Cutler.

Oh, then Cutler came back, he got a huge deal, and McCown was free to go, again.

This is a guy who has started only 38 games across 11 seasons.

There's usually a reason for that.

McCown's age, the length of his Bucs' deal (two years) suggest he's a bridge to the Bucs future ...

But a bridge to what?

It certainly can't be back to Glennon. And I find it hard to believe, with Lovie's ringing endorsement Wednesday, that McCown is the bridge to the quarterback the Bucs will select seventh overall in the next draft.

No, right now, Josh McCown is simply a bridge to ... more Josh McCown.

Excited yet, Bucs fans?

“Josh McCown, you're going to get a chance to see, he has a lot of spring in his legs,” Smith said. “He's going to play a lot of good football. ... He hasn't played an entire season, so I want to see what the guy can do with an entire season of play.”

Thirty-four years old and he hasn't played an entire season.

I never thought Glennon was going to be The Man.

I just never felt he had It.

Can we truly say Josh McCown does?

He'll bring professionalism. He'll bring that don't-hurt-us kind of offense (yuck) that Lovie loves to complement a raging takeaway defense, which will be super so long as the other teams score, like, 12 points. I've already written Drew Brees. Haven't heard back.

Yes, Josh McCown is safer than, say, Michael Vick, who might make more plays, but also more mistakes. He just doesn't speak to the future. Oh, well, maybe McCown's late blooming will become epic, with those UFL and high school jobs like when Kurt Warner was working at that grocery store in Iowa. That would be an amazing tale.

Until then, he's a fine backup.

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