Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Luke McCown says Bucs quarterback job is his to lose

Luke McCown, practicing with quarterbacks coach Greg Olson last month, says the Bucs have talent and depth on offense.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Luke McCown, practicing with quarterbacks coach Greg Olson last month, says the Bucs have talent and depth on offense.

TAMPA — The loudest signals that were barked by a Bucs quarterback Tuesday belonged to Luke McCown.

On the first day of about a dozen full-squad voluntary workouts, McCown declared that the starting job was his to lose.

"Absolutely," McCown said. "This has been a long time coming for me and I'm not letting anybody take it from me. And it's the first legitimate opportunity. Say what you want about getting three starts at the end of a season.

"But this is my first real opportunity to be the starter, to be the guy. And I look at it as mine and you're going to have to shoot me."

McCown is among five quarterbacks under contract, including first-round draft pick Josh Freeman and veteran Byron Leftwich.

Neither player was on board when McCown signed a two-year deal in February. But McCown said coach Raheem Morris made it clear from the start the Bucs might draft a quarterback in the first round.

"I wasn't surprised by it at all," McCown said. "What I love about Raheem is he shoots you straight. He's going to tell you what's going on. When I re-signed, that was the first thing he said to me. He brought me up into his office, showed me the board and said, 'This is what the depth chart looks like. Here's the competition you're going to be in. We've got the 19th pick. Who knows? All the experts say we're going to draft one (quarterback). Maybe we do. All you can do is go out, compete, and worst case scenario, you perform well and we have to make a decision whether to keep you or trade you.' "

On Tuesday, McCown split reps with Leftwich and Josh Johnson, who is the team's fifth-round pick in 2008 out of San Diego. Veteran Brian Griese is not expected to attend and expects to be traded or released. Freeman is unable to participate in offseason workouts until the semester ends at Kansas State this month.

McCown, 27, is 1-6 as a starter with a career passer rating of 75.2, but four losses came as a Browns rookie. With Tampa Bay, McCown completed 94-of-140 (67.1 percent) for 1,009 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions for a rating of 91.0.

"Nobody knew what New England had in Matt Cassel," McCown said. "You just don't know until you get out there and play, and not three games."

Leftwich, 29, has 49 starts for the Jaguars, Falcons and Steelers in six seasons. Outside of the 34-year-old Griese, he has the most experience at quarterback.

The opportunity to regain a starting job attracted Leftwich to Tampa Bay.

"It's a competition," Leftwich said. "Everybody wants to be the guy, we understand there's only going to be one guy. We're just going to work, work, and whoever wins, the best man will win."

Leftwich, a former first-round pick of the Jaguars, said he can relate to the pressures Freeman will face this season.

"I'm going to help (Freeman)," Leftwich said. "I remember when I was in that situation. It's a tough situation coming in as a rookie and playing and it's not as easy as it seems. I think sometimes you can look at what Matt Ryan and what (Joe) Flacco did last year and think it's easy. It's not easy. You can ask those guys. It's possible, but it's not easy."

What might make it easier for the quarterbacks is their supporting cast. McCown said this year's offense has the most weapons of any team he has played on in Tampa Bay.

"No question about it," McCown said. "You just look across the board. Not only that, but the depth that we have as well. We've got a chance to compete, we've got guys that are going to be able to step in and fill in when somebody has got a sprained toe and perform at a high level. When you look across the board, as an offense we can be very explosive."

Luke McCown says Bucs quarterback job is his to lose 05/12/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 11:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?

    Blogs

    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  2. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue (w/video)

    Softballpreps

    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former Countryside and LSU softball standout A.J. Andrews will be among 23 athletes to be featured in ESPN The Magazine's body issue. "I have a really ripped back," Andrews says while laughing in the video. [Photo from video]

  3. James Wilder Jr. back at running back...in Canada

    Blogs

    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  4. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  5. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.