Former Eagles QB Josh McCown was a guest on Bleacher’s Report The Lefkoe Show podcast earlier this week, and gives some perspective on drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round and how it’ll impact Carson Wentz and the QB room.
McCown and Lefkoe talked about what backup quarterbacks have meant to Philly historically, including the Koy Detmer, AJ Feeley, Jeff Garcia — guys who have gone into games and played well.
“The idea that you would take one in the second round is not far-fetched when you’re trying to solidify that spot, and maybe forecast something for the future.”
The NFL veteran explained that specifically with a guy like Jalen Hurts, he can add value to the team right away because of his skillset. He mentioned (what others have also pointed out) that Hurts can be used in a Taysom Hill capacity and get value out of him.
“I wouldn’t be alarmed by this pick. I don’t think it’s crazy by any stretch, especially this city where they’ve seen backup quarterbacks — and obviously, with Nick [Foles] — backup quarterbacks be successful.”
Later in the interview, McCown was asked how innovative Doug Pederson is and how he might be able to come up with new ways to use Hurts. The QB was quick to point out, “Philly Philly”, as proof that Pederson can think outside the box. Moreso, he said the head coach is among the top innovators he’s played for because he’s fearless and open to anything.
McCown was also asked about the importance of the vibe in the QB room to the success of the team.
“I think it’s vital. It’s the most important room in 32 buildings.”
He said that the vibe is set by the starting quarterback for a team, and when an organization invests in their franchise quarterback, they then have to figure out who to bring in around him to make him successful. That could be someone who comes in and challenges him, because that’s what motivates him. Or someone who teaches him, because he’s already a self-starter.
“Starters, they have a lot of things on their mind. If you’re a franchise guy, you’re getting pulled in all directions, from outside interests and so on. So, to have other quarterbacks to be able to say, ‘Man, the tight ends were talking about this and they need some love here, because of X, Y, Z’, it’s another set of eyes and ears in the locker room that helps that starter that’s got a lot on his plate to manage that.”
Despite some of the chatter about the QB position after Foles was the guy to win the Super Bowl, McCown doesn’t think that bringing in Hurts will affect how Carson Wentz feels about his position as the franchise guy.
“I go back to the last four weeks of the season last year, when effectively he put the group on his back. And, to me, when you can change the parts around you, and continue to play at a high level, and your level even goes up, that’s when you start to scratch the surface of what we call elite guys in our league.”
He went on to point out that having 4,000 yards without a single receiver having more than 500 yards is incredible. Wentz played at such a high level down the stretch, that his confidence level was off the charts — despite how the playoff game went down with the injury.
All of this was to say that McCown doesn’t think that the Eagles bringing in a quarterback with their second round pick is going to affect Wentz.
McCown was asked about the best-case scenario for this updated Eagles offense, and he said that it still all starts with the offensive line and controlling the line of scrimmage. But, he talked about the importance of having a speed guy that defense’s have to worry about getting behind them.
The QB was also asked who would step up with prominent locker room voices like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Peters no longer there. McCown pointed to Jason Kelce still being a big presences and Brandon Brooks — two guys who might not have the loudest voices, but a huge presence — and also Lane Johnson and Carson Wentz.
McCown said that Wentz earned a ton of equity those last few weeks of the 2019 season, and how he poured so much of himself into the young guys and get them ready to play.
On the defensive side, you have young guys like Jalen Mills and Avonte Maddox who were about to watch Jenkins lead and could step into that role.
McCown talked a bit about Eagles passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Press Taylor, and he said for a guy that is actually younger than the QB, he was impressed with how sharp he was.
“Just the level of detail and organization that he comes to everyday with. And, his knowledge of plays, the ability to pull plays from what he sees around the league.”
He’s “a huge Press Taylor fan” and was very impressed when he worked with him in 2019.