Josh McCown

Eagles reportedly had interest in Josh McCown as coach, maybe coordinator

Eagles reportedly had interest in Josh McCown as coach, maybe coordinator

Josh McCown clearly made a great impression during his one year as the Eagles’ backup quarterback. He made such a great impression the Eagles were reportedly interested in keeping him as a coach. 

During his exit interview earlier this month, the Eagles brought up the topic of a coaching position, “possibly as offensive coordinator,” according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. McCown even met with owner Jeff Lurie, which is rare for player exit interviews.

According to the report, McCown told the Eagles he wasn’t ready to announce his second retirement. 

This is interesting. And the timing of it is interesting. Because if McCown’s exit interview came at the same time as everyone else’s, Mike Groh had not yet been fired and Doug Pederson yet hadn’t even given Groh that strange vote of confidence. 

Anyway, it’s probably not that surprising that the Eagles would be interested in McCown on their coaching staff. Everyone seemed to like him, he’s a smart guy with a great understanding of the game and he was a really positive influence on Carson Wentz. 

Just listen to what Pederson said about McCown in his year-end interview with reporters: 

First of all, I appreciate everything that Josh McCown did and brought to this team and this organization. His mentoring with Carson [Wentz] was second-to-none. Sometimes you have relationships where the coach-to-player relationship is different than the player-to-player relationship, and I think he and Carson had a tremendous relationship all season and it really helped [Carson] perform at a high level.

We’ve talked about this coming offensive coordinator hire a ton over the last two weeks. And one main theme we keep coming back to is that whoever takes the job is probably going to be a QB guy. The Eagles have their franchise quarterback (and $100 million quarterback) entering what should be the prime of his career. They need to maximize his potential. 

And if hiring a 40-year-old with no NFL coaching experience as their offensive coordinator is what gets it done, so be it. 

If McCown wants to get into coaching, he’ll have a job somewhere. The Jets were also very impressed last year with his tutelage of Sam Darnold. And it seems like McCown does have an interest in coaching. This past season, he was flying back to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday nights to coach the quarterbacks, his son included, for Myers Park High School. 

The jump from Myers Park High School quarterbacks coach to Eagles offensive coordinator might seem like a huge jump — OK, it is — but if anyone could handle it, it would probably be McCown. 

But the Eagles have other options too. Press Taylor is still on staff as the quarterbacks coach. And if the Eagles wanted, they could promote Taylor to their offensive coordinator position while hiring McCown as their quarterbacks coach. That way they’d have him on staff but he wouldn’t have such an important position. 

It seems like eventually McCown will be coaching in the NFL. The question is just if that comes this year and with the Eagles. 

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Josh McCown played 2nd half of Eagles-Seahawks playoff game with torn hamstring

Josh McCown played 2nd half of Eagles-Seahawks playoff game with torn hamstring

The Eagles were a lot closer to playing Greg Ward Jr. at quarterback in their playoff game than you might have realized. 

Josh McCown took over for Carson Wentz after Wentz’s first quarter concussion, but the 40-year-old had to play through a pretty serious injury for a lot of the 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. 

McCown said on The ThomaHawk Show this week that he played the second half against Seattle with a torn hamstring. 

“Gotta head back over to Lincoln Financial (Field) and see if I can find my hamstring somewhere out there,” McCown said to Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins on the podcast. “It’s still over there I think or halfway down my leg by this point.” 

And according to ESPN’s Tim McManus, McCown is now heading for surgery. 

“Football and 40, it doesn’t blend as well as you might think,” McCown said. 

McCown became the oldest player to ever make his NFL playoff debut and he had to play a lot of the game with a torn hamstring. McCown said he pulled something in the first half and pulled something else in the third quarter. 

“I made a throw and something sharp bit me back there,” he said. “As far as I could tell, there were no dogs on the field.” 

Against the Seahawks, Nate Sudfeld was inactive, so Wentz and McCown were the only two quarterbacks available. If McCown wasn’t able to continue, Ward would have been the emergency option. Ward, who was on the practice squad earlier in the season, was a college quarterback at the University of Houston before he transitioned to receiver at the NFL level. 

McCown limped to the locker room after the first half. 

“[I] looked around and realized I was the only quarterback left,” McCown said, so he kept playing.  

“That’s never happened to me,” he said. “I’ve never really ever had any soft tissue injuries. I’m not really fast enough to pull a hamstring. I was like, ‘What just happened?’ In my mind, I was like, ‘This is 40.’ I was like, ‘I blew it not doing the TB12 method,’ I knew I had screwed up.”

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'You let those people down' — Josh McCown blames himself for Eagles' playoff loss to Seahawks

'You let those people down' — Josh McCown blames himself for Eagles' playoff loss to Seahawks

Josh McCown broke down in tears as he grasped the reality.

After 18 NFL seasons without a playoff appearance, after coming out of retirement to back up Carson Wentz, McCown was forced into action in the first quarter of the Eagles-Seahawks playoff game Sunday at the Linc.

“I’ve been chasing this a long time,” he said.

McCown played hard and he played fearlessly and he made some plays that gave you hope.

In the end, he just didn’t do enough.

And the Eagles’ season is over.

McCown didn’t try to hide his emotions when the Seahawks put the finishing touches on their second 17-9 win over the Eagles in a month and a half (see observations).

The tears flowed, and they picked right up again when he met with the media after the game.

There’s a lot that goes into this and everybody that sets foot in that building over there, the NovaCare, puts a lot into getting this thing done and when you come into that game and put everything you can into trying to win the game and it doesn’t get done, it’s just painful,” he said. “It just hurts. It sucks. And from my standpoint as a quarterback you want to do more and you feel like you can do more and you start replaying plays in your mind where you can be better, and I always have that perspective that you let a group down. You let those people down that come to that building and that’s a sick feeling. It’s a hurt feeling.

McCown, the sixth quarterback in his 40s in NFL history to play in the postseason, finished 18 for 24 for 174 yards with no TDs and no turnovers, and he drove the Eagles inside the Seahawks' 30-yard line five times.

But those five drives led to just three field goals.

He kept the Eagles in the game.

He just wasn’t good enough at the key moments.

You want to be there to help rally the team and get going, we just didn’t get it done,” McCown said. “And that hurts.

With Wentz, the Eagles were third best in the NFL in the red zone. Sunday, three trips generated just six points. 

Two crucial fourth downs doomed the Eagles.

• With 6:24 left trailing by eight, they had a 4th-and-4 on Seattle’s 24. Doug Pederson called a perfect play, a swing pass in the left flat to Miles Sanders. But McCown underthrew the ball, Sanders couldn’t quite get his hands on it, and the Seahawks took over.

“That’s just me,” McCown said. “You’ve got to make a better throw. Just got to give him a better ball and give him a chance to run.”

• After the defense forced a punt, the Eagles drove down to the 10-yard line and had a 4th-and-7 after the two-minute warning. But McCown couldn’t find an open receiver and wound up taking his sixth sack of the game, effectively ending the Eagles’ season.

“I tried to step up and buy a little time and hopefully get something open, and we just didn’t get that done,” he said. 

McCown said he hasn’t decided whether to retire for good. He said he’d talk to his family before making that decision.

But he got choked up talking about his family and how much they’ve sacrificed as he’s gone from the Cards to the Lions to the Raiders to the Dolphins to the Panthers to the Bears to the Buccaneers to the Browns to the Jets to the Eagles.

With a stop with the Hartford Colonials in the United Football League in there somewhere.

My wife and my family have moved around a lot and been there for me, my mom and dad, so to go out there and get to play in a playoff game was special and I can’t thank them enough for their support,” he said. “It was a heck of a ride. I left it all out there, I know that much.

McCown has had a terrific view of this 2019 Eagles team, and his feelings were about the same as everybody else’s as he described the mixture of pride everyone in that locker room has of becoming only the seventh team in NFL history to reach the playoffs after a 5-7 start combined with the crushing finality and disappointment of a playoff loss.

I’ve been in moments where we were five weeks ago, where you’re coming home on a plane ride from Miami and you feel like all is lost and, man, it’s a dark place," McCown said. "And then you’re talking and you’re, ‘Can we win all these games and get in?’ And I’ve been in those moments a few times in my career and we don’t get it done. You know? And it goes the other way. Man, what an honor it was to be in that group and watch Doug lead that team, watch the veterans lead this team, watch Carson play the way he did down the stretch. That’s special and more than anything solidifies what I thought in all those moments. If the belief of the group can rise to a certain level, we can run the table, and we did that and we got in. Unfortunately, that ended today.

McCown is a great story, easy to root for. He just wasn't quite good enough. 

And nothing could be a more fitting epitaph for this 2019 Eagles season.

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