Rampant speculation and wild rumors are a staple of the NFL offseason. With free agency, the combine and the draft not yet upon us, what else is there to do, really? So sportswriters often find themselves bored, without a lot going on, and needing to fill stories, many of them just start throwing things at the wall to see what will stick. So far, we’ve heard that the Oakland Raiders are pursuing Michael Vick, Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub, Josh Freeman and Joe, the team’s parking lot valet, to be the team’s next quarterback.
Some of these rumors may turn out to be true, and others may be nothing more than some sportswriters pulling names out of the ether. Some are intriguing notions the team should consider while others are so preposterous they are entirely laughable. Enter CSNBayArea.com reporter Scott Bair and one of the more dubious rumors surrounding the franchise yet. Offering his idea for “fixing” the perceived problem that exists in the quarterbacking department, Bair suggests that the Raiders would do well to pursue backup QB Josh McCown of the Chicago Bears.
In a recent blog post, Bair wrote:
“McCown has shown stability and accuracy throughout his career. He hasn’t been great until recently, but going with a hot hand might pay dividends. Also, McCown is the definition of stopgap solution and, at 34 years old, would be okay with that. He’d also be fine mentoring younger passers while he starts in the short term. In regards to what the team is looking for – a character guy, a locker-room leader and game manager – McCown might be the perfect fit.”
If by “perfect fit” he means career backup without a track record of success, then yeah, we suppose so. Bair briefly mentions but largely glosses over the fact that McCown already wore the Silver and Black. And his tenure was completely forgettable. As a starter for the Raiders, McCown went 2-7, completed just 58 percent of his passes and threw 10 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. And oh yeah, he also coughed the ball up another 11 times. While he might be a good character guy and great in the locker room, those are hardly the numbers of an effective game manager.
Bair is of course basing this idea on the fact that McCown had a few solid games in relief of Jay Cutler last season. Which, in all fairness, he did. In his five starts, McCown went 3-2, threw for 1,800 yards with 13 touchdowns and only one interception. But five games does not a career make. Matt Flynn had a few solid starts in relief of Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers, and we all know how that turned out. The Raiders’ brass would do well to remember that. Bair suggests that going with the “hot hand” might pay dividends for the Raiders, but suggesting that McCown is the solution simply because he had a few good games last season is laughable at best.
McCown hasn’t been terrible over the course of his career, but he’s certainly been far from spectacular. Over his eleven years in the league, he’s thrown for more than 8,000 yards with 50 touchdowns against 45 interceptions. He has a career quarterback rating of 77.0 but an abysmal starting record of 16-22. If the Raiders are looking for an effective game manager and a mentor to their younger quarterbacks, they would be wise to avoid McCown. The Raiders have been there and done that with McCown and he failed to produce. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that if he couldn’t win in 2007, that he can win in 2014 simply because he had a few good games last year. If the Raiders really want an ineffective quarterback without a lot of upside on their roster, they need to look no further than Terrelle Pryor.