The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed Josh McCown to a two-year contract, worth $10 million. Apparently, offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford thinks McCown is a good fit for his offense -- and the front office thinks he's good enough to at least earn low-end starter money, or high-end back-up money. So how does he fit in the team's system, and can he replicate last year's ridiculous performance in Chicago?
"He's a player that you have to be careful with," Greg Cosell said on PhiladelphiaEagles.com. "Because I think he was in a system, in Marc Trestman's system in Chicago, that was very precise, very orchestrated, very structured and he did an outstanding job. In fact, he himself spoke about the fact that he had more answers to the questions and problems you face during the game than he ever had with any other coach."
Does that sound familiar? Because it should. That basically describes Jeff Tedford's philosophy: providing quarterbacks with answers. "He likes having all the answers to the tests going into the game," Trent Dilfer told the San Jose Mercury News. "If you can handle the load as quarterback, it's awesome. You never feel like you don't have an answer."
McCown thrived in Chicago under a head coach with a similar, detail-oriented philosophy. He also had the advantage of two wide receivers who were very good at winning jump ball battles -- which sounds an awful lot like Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. McCown will never replicate the All-Pro numbers he put up in five starts last year, but he should be able to run Tedford's offense competently -- provided he beats out Glennon.
If McCown wins the starting job in training camp, he will have earned it by beating out Mike Glennon and possibly a draft pick. Signing McCown gives the Bucs some security at the quarterback position: they don't need to panic if they don't land a good quarterback in the draft, or if Glennon doesn't continue to develop. But that doesn't mean he'll be a high-end starter.
"I think he's a quarterback that can be successful for you," Cosell said. "But you must understand that he requires structure, and he must play that way."
I'm confident that Jeff Tedford knows what it takes to get McCown to be successful, just as Marc Trestman did. I'm also confident that, as with Trestman, the Bucs don't see McCown as a long-term or even necessarily a short-term answer. His contract details suggest that he'll get an opportunity to earn the starting job, but he's certainly not getting paid like even a low-end starter. He's getting paid like Chad Henne: depth and competition, but no one you want to build your team around.