It’s hard to find a more underrated signing than the acquisition of QB Josh McCown. Coaxed out of retirement in a pinch when the injury bug hit the QB room back in the preseason, the 40-year old signal-caller walked into one last rodeo with the hopes of helping push a young team to the playoffs. He did that…and more.
When you look back on backup quarterbacks during the Carson Wentz era, three names spring to mind. The legendary Nick Foles, Chase Daniel, and Josh McCown…who sits somewhere in the middle of the two. But I’d argue that of the three, McCown was the one who made his presence felt the most without needing snaps to do so.
After reports emerged that he’d played a hand in influencing the Eagles to bring in WR Deontay Burnett (and a subtle mention of Robby Anderson), it became clear that not only is the 17-year veteran going above and beyond the call of duty, but that the Eagles respect his input a great deal.
Then, there are things like this:
McCown also darted onto the field after Cre’Von LeBlanc made a huge TFL on Saquon Barkley, the first player to gas up the young corner and congratulate him.
Finally, on Sunday, the unthinkable happened. Carson Wentz exited the game early due to a head injury sustained on a dirty hit and McCown was forced into action – his first-ever playoff appearance.
It wasn’t perfect, but completing 18/24 passes given the bigger picture is beyond respectable. When he first stepped into the game, it was almost as if there was a hope of ‘if anyone can do it, Josh can’…and that never faded.
Through the dimes, the missiles, the misses, and the sacks, the Eagles lost…and McCown was reduced to tears on the field.
“Yeah, just the finality of playoff football. And just being done and not getting it done.” The veteran said. “Those things hurt. A lot of people put a lot of time and energy into this game and it just hurts when you don’t get it done. You want to be there and help rally the team and get going and we just didn’t get that done. So it just hurt for that.”
“I’ve had the time of my life. I told those guys [in the locker room], I’m so thankful. I’m so thankful that they called me. [Eagles WR] Alshon [Jeffery], and other guys that hit me up and coaxed me to come out. I’ve chased this my whole career. I’ve been in moments like we were five weeks ago, when you’re coming home on a plane ride from Miami and you feel like all is lost, and this is a dark place. Then you talk and ask if we can win all of these games and get in. I’ve been in those moments a few times in my career, and didn’t get it done. What an honor it was to be in that group and watch [Eagles head coach] Doug [Pederson] lead this team; watch the veterans in the locker room lead this team; watch [Eagles QB] Carson [Wentz] play the way he did down the stretch. That’s special. More than anything, it solidifies in all of those moments when I thought if the belief in the group can rise to a certain level, we can run the table. We did that and we got in. This year has been nothing short of special for me. I’ve really enjoyed it and have learned so much from so many people. I’m thankful to be a part of it. As far as the future goes, we’ll see. I haven’t made any decisions yet. I’ll get with my family and talk with them. I retired once, so I know how to do that. We’ll just see. I don’t know yet.”
“I’ll probably reflect on that later. Again, it’s probably with a sour taste, but I’m thankful. My wife and family have moved around a lot and have been there for me. To go out there and get to play in a playoff game was special. I can’t thank them enough for their support. It was a heck of a ride. I left it all out there, I know that much. It is different playing at [age] 40. Your body talks to you a lot. I’ll reflect on that later, but it was fun to be out there for sure.”
His passion for the game and for the men around him is unparalleled, and while his quarterbacking career may be over, he was coaxed away from a coaching role at a High School for this final shot.
McCown has shown everything the Eagles could possibly want in a coach. What that role may be is still unknown and it’s way too soon to even think about positioning it to a player who is clearly still emotionally raw. But the impact he’s had on the younger players combined with his influence on the front office decisions have to be recognized and bringing him onboard as a coach would be an incredibly smart move.
McCown was one of the key figures in keeping that locker room galvanized and it would behoove the Eagles to look into keeping McCown around in some capacity. Whether it’s a positional coach, an advisor, or an assistant, the man is as wholesome and passionate as they come…and that’s the kind of energy this team needs in 2020.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports