“Don’t take anything from Glennon; he’s just only in his second year, but McCown looks like he’s played a couple of years in this game. It’s a strong comparison, but he reminds me of Drew [Brees], not just the way he throws the ball, but his approach to the game.”
-Bucs Linebacker Jonathan Casillas on the Dave Rothenberg Show
Oh Jonathan. Optimism is understandable in the offseason, don’t get me wrong. There’s no reason to bury your own team before the season even begins. But there’s a stark difference between realistic goals and hyperbolic comparisons. Casillas comments regarding McCown certainly fall under the latter.
Especially after his 2013 performance, praise surrounding Josh McCown has never been higher. But Drew Brees is a Superbowl MVP and eight time Pro Bowler. McCown, even including last season, has more in common with Kyle Boller than a perennial Pro Bowler. Brees only has one previous team, and even then he was let go due to injury concerns (and because the Chargers had Phillip Rivers waiting in the wings). McCown had spent time in the UFL and as a high school football coach while bouncing between eight different NFL rosters.
So perhaps more weight in the comparison comes from the very end, comparing McCown and Brees’ approach to the game. McCown certainly has plenty of knowledge to pass down, but it’s ridiculous to think it’s the same as what Brees possesses. McCown can speak to the hard work required to keep a roster spot, Brees can talk about what it takes to win a Superbowl.
For now, Bucs fans should be happy with what mentoring McCown can provide for Mike Glennon. Even if it does little more than show that the quarterback needs to be the first guy in and last guy out everyday, McCown’s influence will be helpful. But Tampa Bay fans want to return to the glory of 2002; they want a Lombardi trophy. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a veteran on the bench while your future quarterback learns from a clipboard and headset. But don’t try to say that McCown can turn an offense and an entire team around the way Brees can.
Casillas and the rest of Bucs Nation will get to see how the two compare on the field twice this year. Even if you have both quarterbacks switch sides, the Brees-led team should win almost every time.
This is not an indictment of McCown’s abilities, but more of Casillas twisted perception of the situation. Even the most optimistic of Bucs fans, if they possess even an ounce of realism within them, will say the McCown is an important transition piece in a rebuilding process. But if you believe McCown can lead you to the promised land, you haven’t been paying attention to his career prior to Jay Cutler getting hurt last year. He’s made double digit starts in a season only once, a decade ago with the Arizona Cardinals.
It’s not Josh McCown isn’t the right guy for the Buccaneers. I can see a ton of benefit to having him start this year. But to liken him to Drew Brees is a grossly hyperbolic comparison, and any Bucs fans who think he can perform like Brees will be sorely disappointed in 2014.