The Pressure Is On Luke McCown

By PFC Writer Brian Harrington

The “new look” Tampa Bay Buccaneers as of press time are heading into the 2009 season with Luke McCown as the starting quarterback. McCown, a tall, athletic and rifled-armed passer has played in 12 career games with seven starts, has completed 142-of-238 career passes for 1,617 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. There are a lot of Tampa fans who are actually very fine with McCown being handed to the ball to lead this team to a Championship after a great performance on 12/2/2007 against the New Orleans Saints when he led team to a season-high 466 yards of total offense and establishing single-game career highs in passing yards (313) and completions (29) but the huge question remains will they get performances like this out of McCown on a consistent basis?

There have been many quarterbacks through the years who have excelled out of nowhere after coming from the bench like Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Steve Young who Tampa deemed a “bust” and was traded to the 49ers to backup Joe Montana and then there was the Rob Johnson’s of the 20th century who came off the bench showed great promise in one game or so and then completely fell on his face to be never heard from again. The jury is still out on Matt Cassel who came off the bench for Brady week one last season but is now playing with the Chiefs who do not have an offensive line like New England had to protect Cassel.  Then there are the players like A.J. Feeley and Andrew Walter who come out of nowhere to show great promise only to fail as a starter and then be reprimanded back to the bench.

Only time will tell if McCown will succeed under a new regime with Jeff Jagodzinski running the offense which means not only McCown will have to learn a new offense but so will the entire offense. The offseason acquisition of Kellen Winslow will definately help McCown’s progress only if the butterfinger syndrome goes away and if Antonio Bryant continue to have a great comeback after being banished from the league two seasons ago. There absolutely solid at the running back position with Earnest Graham, Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward but there biggest need this offseason on the offensive side should be at left tackle. Last year’s starter Donald Penn surrendered 8.5 sacks in 2008 which will be a huge problem for Luke if he doesn’t get the proper protection on the left side.  One thing that is for sure is that the whole team as of now despite the whole Jay Cutler talks are solely behind Luke McCown as there starting quarterback entering the season so the support his there all he needs to do is produce.