LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown spent 2013 as the backup in Chicago, and admitted Wednesday “it is a little surprising” to hear the leadership of Bears coach Marc Trestman is being questioned.
“I’m just thinking about it as you say it,” McCown said. “I’m not in that room now. So I don’t know if things have changed or whatever. As far as how I understood and what I understood last year, I felt like he was consistent with his message and didn’t waver from that. I don’t know if that’s changed or not. Like I said about [Buccaneers coach] Lovie [Smith], that’s a hard thing to do to stick to your guns and stick to what you believe is right in the midst of turmoil or things that aren’t going your way.”
Trestman has remained true to the principles he expressed would be a part of the Bears under his watch, according to several players in the team’s locker room. But with the team having lost three of its past four outings, skepticism about Trestman’s leadership abilities have surfaced.
McCown started five games for the Bears last season filling in for an injured Jay Cutler, and threw 13 touchdown passes and only one interception in producing a passer rating of 109.0, which ranked as third best in the NFL. McCown attributed his success in 2013 to Trestman’s steady approach.
“I appreciate that from Marc, and felt it last year,” McCown said. “I think that was one of the main things that helped me play at the level I played at. I guess I would say, if [Trestman's leadership is being questioned], it surprises me."
The Buccaneers rewarded McCown last offseason for his strong showing in Chicago by signing him to a two-year contract worth $10 million, which could reach $15 million if the quarterback hits certain incentives.
“We were happy for him and his opportunity to continue his journey, and I don’t think anyone here feels any differently about that now,” Trestman said.
When Tampa Bay hired Smith last January, the coach considered McCown to be an important component for what he wanted to build with the Buccaneers.
“Coming into a new environment, there are some key positions you’d like to know as much as possible about,” Smith explained. “Of course it starts with the quarterback position, and in my year out [of football], I had a chance to watch a lot of football. [I] saw Josh, had a chance to be around him the year or so I had a chance to coach him [in 2011], and just knew what he would bring. I felt like as a new team, young team, we needed his leadership; and not just leadership, his play. I believed in him as a starting quarterback in the league. All those things kind of played a big part in it.”