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.’’
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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