Friday, Sept. 14
Getting his feet wet
"Well, it was about eight plays," McCown said with a grin. "That's about all it was."
But it marked another milestone in the Jacksonville product's recovery from the knee injury that sidelined him last year.
McCown went into last Sunday's opener against Seattle as Jeff Garcia's backup quarterback. And when Garcia came up woozy after a hit by Seattle's Julian Peterson, McCown had about two minutes to get warmed up.
"I knew he was going to have to take at least a play out," McCown said. "So I ran over, grabbed my helmet and jumped in."
This was the first time McCown had jumped in since Dec. 26, 2004, when he started as a rookie for the Cleveland Browns against Miami.
In between, the Bucs traded a draft pick for McCown in 2005, used him as Chris Simms' backup later that year and then saw him blow out his knee during a workout last summer. He rehabbed the injury feverishly and actually returned to the active roster last season.
In reality, McCown played two possessions and nine plays, finishing 1-of-4 for 9 yards. During this stint he felt the full brunt of the Seattle pass rush, which eventually finished the day with five sacks. Two of those were McCown's.
"The two sacks, guys were covered," McCown said. "In those situations, I have to do my best to make a play with my feet. I need to make something positive."
Making matters worse was that those sacks ended drives. The first, by Peterson, ended Tampa Bay's best possession of the second half until the final drive. Three plays earlier McCown had found Ike Hilliard for a 9-yard gain and a first down.
One drive later, after the Seahawks took a 13-6 lead, Rocky Bernard and Chartic Darby crushed McCown.
"We had some open guys and we didn't have time, and then when we had time guys were covered," McCown said. "That's how things happen and we have to do the best we can to adjust according to what they're doing."
Garcia returned on the following drive.
McCown couldn't say if he needed the game experience, even after his long break. He said it's good to play, whether it's eight plays or a full game.
But considering that Garcia is 37, McCown knows he'll need to stay ready.
"You have to be ready to spell somebody whenever the opportunity presents itself and that's my job right now," McCown said. "That's all it was — eight or nine plays."
But that's nine plays more than McCown's had the past two seasons, and that's a good start.
Bucs on the Web
Looking around the web while waiting for my tire to get fixed, here are some of the best stories I found on the Bucs:
At the Tampa Tribune, the Buccaneers defense is out to eliminate big plays this weekend. They might want to start with a better pass rush, as the Bucs had only two sacks and four pressures last week.
At the St. Petersburg Times, Joanne Korth has the Bucs' reaction to the whole "Spygate" fiasco in New England. I think the Pats should have forfeited the game, along with the sanctions they received.
And at the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun-Herald, the Saints appear to be plenty worries about Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia. They ought to be after the way the secondary played against the Colts.
And check out my interview with Chris Simms, his first since dodging the final roster cuts. Now if he can just dodge those trade rumors…