If Josh McCown didn't make a name for himself when he scrambled right, threw on the run and hit Nathan Poole
in the corner of the end zone to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs in ultra dramatic fashion...he certainly made a name for himself Sunday night as he brushed off a "here we go again" 14-0 deficit to lead the Cardinals to 31 unanswered points in a 31-14 Mexican fiesta on national TV.
To those of you who quickly attribute McCown's performance to playing against a poor defense...you really aren't giving McCown enough credit here. The fact that McCown had only played one half of football in three games prior to this nationally televised game...the fact that McCown had to dig the Cardinals out of their usual hole...the fact that some of his receivers were dropping perfectly thrown passes in some key situations...the fact that he tucked the ball in and ran for key yardage when he needed to...the fact that he did it all and persevered like a resilient prize fighter underneath the big lights...all suggest that McCown's performance was more than noteworthy, and was even special, under the circumstances.
How many of you have watched the tape of McCown addressing the team in the locker room after the game? Here was a young man bursting out of his shell and speaking right from the heart...yeah, he had reason to be excited...but, at least HE GOT EXCITED.
The funny thing is...the coaches and players don't appear to take Josh all too seriously...if you noticed the players' reaction at the end of Josh's speech...one would have expected the players to erupt...yet, they did not.
When the tape showed McCown telling Dennis Green on the sidelines how he scripted the TD to Fitz right before the half...Green was walking in the opposite direction and although Green was smiling somewhat, he kept walking like he really didn't want to share that moment with Josh.
When the tape showed Josh getting excited with Kurt Warner
on the sidelines, telling Warner that he was stepping up because he knew Warner would step up...Warner wouldn't even look Josh in the eyes...although...Warner was cordial. I'll give him that.
But one thing the tape showed very clearly...was that when Josh was in the huddle he said all the right things and tried his gut level best to fire up the offense...and the line in particular. Josh McCown was clearly in command of that huddle.
This begs the question...why doesn't Josh act like this all the time? Why, for example, did he have the deer in the headlights look the week before against Seattle? Why does he look uninspired and lackadaisical sometimes?
The answers to these questions may be the reason why the coaches and players don't seem to take Josh all too seriously.
Josh's humility is hard to read...especially for today's self-promoting athletes. When Josh said that he was glad the team signed Kurt Warner so he could learn from one of the best, was he being disingenuous? I don't really believe he was. I think Josh IS humble...perhaps more humble than he should be.
After his excellent performance, Josh conceded that he is just trying to keep the Cardinals in the playoff hunt until Warner gets back. Disingenuous? Likely not. Josh believes in team...and he believes that he must do his part whatever his part may be. Josh McCown is a throwback of epic proportions.
The reality is that Josh McCown has major league talent. He's got an excellent arm and even better legs. He's tough and resilient...as the Panthers' coaches have been attesting to this week...that's no lie.
The issues remain: Does Josh have the temperament to be a quality starter in the NFL from week to week? Does Josh's humility help or hurt his cause in the long run? And...when will his teammates start looking him in the eye and start taking him seriously?
Backing up his fiery locker room speech in Mexico City with another first-rate performance this weekend may be just the solution that Josh needs. I hope for the Cardinals' and this fine young man's sake...he does.