"He's a football junkie."
"He reminds me of Drew (Brees)."
The first quote about new Buccaneers' quarterback Josh McCown comes from Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals' wideout and former teammate of the new Tampa Bay QB. In a conversation with Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, Fitzgerald said that McCown is a locker room presence and a "great leader."
The second quote comes from McCown's new teammate, Jonathan Casillas, who played with Brees in New Orleans before joining the Buccaneers. In quotes obtained by JoeBucsFan, Casillas goes on to say that while he takes nothing away from Mike Glennon, he believes that McCown is "on another level."
There has been no shortage of praise for McCown this summer, from coach Lovie Smith's trust in the veteran he coached in Chicago, to new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford pointing out his professionalism. But the comments from Casillas and Fitzgerald are more than just coach speak. They reveal how McCown is viewed in the locker room.
McCown handled his ascent to the top of the NFL's passer rating charts like a pro last season, but handled his descent back to the bench with grace and respect for his coaches' decision, something that Lovie Smith and company sought out for their unstable QB situation. Last season's debacle under center set the tone for the entire season, and the front office had to be sure that this year was different.
And at this point, it almost certainly will be. It doesn't matter if McCown winds up the starter all season or not, as both Fitzgerald and Casillas' comments point to McCown's leadership and work ethic being strong enough to help the players around him.
Casillas specifically mentioned Glennon's likely improvement just from being around McCown and working with him, something we definitely didn't see last season with any of the other quarterbacks on the roster.
But will Glennon even be needed? If McCown can translate his offseason work and stellar performances last year into a Rich Gannon-like late-career surge, Mike Glennon may remain nothing but a backup. But it's encouraging to know that he has a competitor for the QB position that's also helping him grow as a player, should he ever get his chance again to step onto the field and lead the Bucs offense.