January 23, 2020
According to a report from Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles and Josh McCown, who finished the season at quarterback after Carson Wentz was injured in their wild-card loss to the Seahawks, discussed the possibility of the 40-year-old veteran returning next season.
Not as a backup quarterback, but as a coach ... possibly even offensive coordinator.
Per McLane, the conversations took place during McCown's exit interviews — prior to Pederson publicly backing then-OC Mike Groh before eventually letting him go — and included a chat with owner Jeffrey Lurie. Ultimately, McCown decided he isn't quite ready to retire from playing.
While it’s unclear whether the team offered McCown a position, the 40-year-old veteran told the Eagles that he wasn’t ready to officially retire from his playing career, a source said.
Aside from meeting with coach Doug Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman, McCown also sat down with owner Jeffrey Lurie, according to a source. Lurie doesn’t typically meet with players immediately after the season ends. ...
The Eagles had yet to fire offensive coordinator Mike Groh on Jan. 6, the day after the season-ending playoff loss to the Seahawks. Pederson said two days later that Groh and wide receivers coach Carson Walch were returning, although he then walked back those comments and said he had yet to make final decisions on his staff. [inquirer.com]
The next day, the team announced that neither would return the following year.
Considering McCown seemed happy in retired life before the Eagles lured him back on a one-year deal to back up Wentz after Nate Sudfeld broke his wrist in the preseason, and that McCown tore his hamstring in that playoff loss to Seattle, it's somewhat surprising that he isn't quite ready to hang it up yet.
Furthermore, it's interesting that McCown was one of the first conversations the Eagles had in this whole coaching search — it took place before they fired Groh, after all — rather than a guy they circled back to after they were turned down by others, as has been the case with other candidates Graham Harrell and James Urban.
And then there's the question of McCown's qualifications, given that his only coaching experience has been one season of high school football that was cut short by his return to the NFL (although he still flew down every week for the games). While McCown may not have any "real" NFL coaching experience, has has played for nine NFL teams and countless offensive coordinators and quarterbacks coaches throughout his nearly two decades in the league. He's also spent a lot of time as a backup, something he and Pederson have in common, and has likely learned quite a bit about what goes into being a coach at this level.
[NOTE: Of course, this is where we point out that not all offensive coordinator jobs are the same. One reason a first-time coach could work there for the Eagles is because of Pederson's control over the offense. While DC Jim Schwartz is solely in charge of the defense, his offensive counterpart will not have that same autonomy, with the team using Pederson's scheme and play-calling on Sundays. So, at least in theory, it could work.]
And then there's what the Eagles saw him do first-hand this season with Wentz.
While a jump from player to coordinator would be a significant one, working under Pederson would have allowed McCown to learn on the job. He took on the role of a quasi-coach backing up quarterback Carson Wentz last season.
Wentz and others credited McCown, who had first met the starter months earlier, with his improved play in the last month of the season. The Eagles won their last four games to capture the NFC East title, with Wentz leading the team to last-second victories over the Redskins and New York Giants. He had a 100.8 passer rating over that span. [inquirer.com]
And when Wentz went down in that playoff loss, McCown kept the Birds in the game despite the fact that he was stringing along a bunch of practice squad receivers and a patchwork offensive line — while playing with one hamstring torn completely off the bone. And his teammates clearly rallied around him.
How all that transfers to a coaching career remains to be seen, but given all that he has done during his playing career, McCown at least deserves a shot, whether that's here or elsewhere.
All we know for sure is that the Eagles are still looking for their next offensive coordinator.
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