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June 30, 2014 @ 10:28 am
Current rating: 2.50 Stars/2 Votes

Arizona's Fitzgerald Heaps Praise On Bucs' McCown And Banks

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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Arizona star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is a former teammate of new Bucs QB Josh McCown and thinks Tampa Bay made a great move in signing the veteran backup to lead the Buccaneers offense in 2014.
Buccaneer players and coaches have been raving about new Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown since the 34-year old signed with the Buccaneers in the first week of free agency back in March.

But last weekend it wasn’t a player who wears red and pewter, instead it was one of the NFL’s best receivers, former McCown teammate Larry Fitzgerald.

“I love Josh, he’s a football junkie,’’ Fitzgerald told the Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman last week at the Drew Brees Passing Academy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney. “You have to force the guy to come off the field in practice and the man’s a great leader, the kind of guy you want in your locker room.’’

McCown joined the Buccaneers as a free agent in March from Chicago, where he served as a backup until being pressed into duty for eight games last season when Bears starter Jay Cutler was sidelined by an ankle injury.

In those eight games of relief duty McCown completed 66.5 percent of his throws, with 13 touchdown passes and only one interception.

Besides helping an anemic offense that finished the 2103 season ranked dead last in the league, Fitzgerald said McCown will also benefit another specific player.

“Josh is going to help (second-year pro) Mike Glennon a ton,’’ Fitzgerald, who spent two seasons as McCown's teammate in Arizona (2004-05) said. “You can ask any quarterback who has ever been around Josh – Cutler, Kurt Warner, anybody – and they will tell you he’s an ideal teammate. Even if he’s not playing, he’s going to be your biggest fan. He’s just that kind of guy ... he’ll never be a pouter.’’

Fitzgerald and his Cardinals teammates saw Glennon in action last season in Week 3, which happened to be the first NFL start of Glennon’s career. Fitzgerald told the Tribune he thought the Bucs were a better team that their 4-12 record indicated. But when talking about that game – in which the Cardinals came from behind to win 13-10 – it was another young Buccaneer player that made an impression on the future Hall-of-Famer.

“The Bucs are a much better football team than they showed last year,’’ said Fitzgerald. “They really should have won their first game of the year against the Jets, and that loss took a lot out of them. They never really recovered, but I like their young talent like (cornerback) Johnthan Banks.

“He was a rookie who made a one-handed interception against us last year, and he’s going to be a good one. I saw (rookie receiver) Mike Evans play a few times in college and he’s a big, physical kid. Believe me, he and Vincent Jackson are going to be a force to be reckoned with.’’


Last modified on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:47
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  • avatar

    I think majority of us want that cool, 21 year old qb that just oozes potential. we had one of those in josh freeman. howd that work? freeman had all the tools to succeede except the mental makeup it took to be a great qb in the league. Ryan leaf also had all the tools, but lacked the maturity and mental makeup it takes to be great. I see no reason why mccown cant be our guy for 2-3 yrs, dominate, then turn it over to glennon or another young qb that we draft. we need a veteran prescense at qb in order to win the next couple yrs. yea mccown may not be the most exciting qb, and he may be a journeyman, but looking at him, he looks like he has a lot of football left and I would love it if he put it to everyone and just balled out for the next 3-4 yrs. we need to win now and the more time goes on, i see that having mccown as our qb is definitely in the teams best interest. McCown will know when to throw the ball away, when to check down, when to take his shots, when the right time to take a sack is, and when to audible to the line.
  • avatar

    I agree Garv and bucfever40. I like the coaches philosophy that you win consistently by playing with a mature leader at QB and with a great defense. It is not uncommon for a young QB to have success in the first year or two in the NFL, however it is uncommon for them to sustain it. Naming McCown the starter as soon as he was signed wasn't an indictment on Glennon's ability, it just showed their commitment to their philosophy. Glennon's highlights feature some great plays where he used his mobility(it's true! he is mobile!) to create a big play. He did take some ugly sacks. What QB could have thrived without a consistent running game, an underperforming O line, injuries at key skill positions(RB,WR,TE) and internal/external/fan outrage about the coach in his first year? Bottom line is this new staff will play aggressive turnover creating defense and have an efficient up tempo offense that is driven by a savvy vet at QB while they groom the top QB of his class behind the vet. It's a good plan.
  • avatar


    For sure, there were several older qb's in that same dynamic, I think only Kurt Warner was the only other QB to get MVP. Those guys you mentioned all were long time starters before they became any good, right now McCown is on the cusp of perhaps finding success at 35 and finally reaching some new potential (all ascending). I can't wait, this year is going to be fun!
  • avatar


    Why NOT? Josh is an experienced guy who is in excellent health and ready. He's a leader and has the arm and all the athletic attributes necessary for the modern QB to succeed. There was this other fellow who came along late in his career to do some pretty special things years ago. Brad Johnson was ready when the time came and when it did he took full advantage of it....all the way to the Super Bowl. I think Josh McCown is more talented and perfectly capable of being as good as Larry Fitzgerald thinks can be.....hell, already IS.
  • avatar

    It is nice to hear another teams most respected player weigh in and speak positively about a few question marks the Bucs have this year.
  • avatar


    Great to hear Larry's praise for Josh. He is the real deal and I believe Tedford will get as much from him as Trestman. Some of you consider Tedford as just a college coach and are likely not aware that he played QB in the Canadian Football League, was a QB Coach in that same league, before being hired as an Offensive Coordinator in that Pro League, and got five year's experience there before going to Oregon.
  • avatar


    If it happened to Rich Gannon, why not McCown? Sometimes in a qb's career, the light suddenly turns on. I can assure you that Gannon(pre Raiders) was the epitome of what a journeyman qb is all about, just average, then at 34-35yrs old, he gets coached up by Gruden and not only becomes dominant, but the league's offensive mvp! Seems to me, Josh may be one of those types of quarterbacks, I mean the praises are endless and they're coming from very respectful individuals, we know he's kept his body in good shape, so physically, he's a great athlete, we also know he's a very smart ,cerebral qb. I guess the only question is performing under pressure, and it was noted not long ago that statistically, under pressure, he was one of the best, if not thee best. So, it stands to reason that (given the talent around him), Josh is primed for a strong showing this year, I really feel he's had an awakening of sorts, and is just a late bloomer, I also believe he could actually be a top 5 qb THIS YEAR! imho.
  • avatar

    @ bucfever40 - other late bloomers at QB besides Rich Gannon include Chris Chandler, Brad Johnson, Vinny Testaverde, and Kurt Warner. They all took their teams to the playoffs in their 30's after years of mediocrity. What great late hope didn't?
  • avatar

    @myself - Don't forget about Kitna, Garcia, Dilfer, and even Tommy Maddox!
  • avatar


    For sure, there were several older qb's in that same dynamic, I think only Kurt Warner was the only other QB to get MVP. Those guys you mentioned all were long time starters before they became any good, right now McCown is on the cusp of perhaps finding success at 35 and finally reaching some new potential. I can't wait, this year is going to be fun!
  • avatar


    I am excited to read all the praise McCown is getting. But, I sure hope Josh isn't reading any of this. Go Bucs!!!!
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