Josh McCown was hardly a footnote in the NFL entering his 2013 season with the Bears. He had spent the previous five years as a little-used backup for three teams, and there's a short stint with the United Football League in there as well.
Then Jay Cutler got hurt, McCown was called upon to fill in, and he threw 11 touchdowns and only one interception in five starts. McCown created legitimate debate over whether he should keep the starting job even when Cutler was ready to play.
McCown turned that performance into a two-year, $10 million deal and a likely starting gig with the Buccaneers. Of course, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery played a major role in McCown's success. They were able to come down with a lot of what McCown chucked their way in Chicago, and McCown is in a vertically similar situation in Tampa Bay with 6-foot-5 Vincent Jackson and a Vincent Jackson clone in first-round rookie Mike Evans. Second-round rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is also 6-foot-5. McCown told Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune that he certainly enjoys the physical familiarity.
"I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a comfort zone in that,'' McCown said about throwing to tall wideouts. "... It's very similar (to what I had in Chicago), at least on paper. There's still a lot of work to do."
All things being equal, a quarterback can get away with more mistakes with tall targets than with a group of 5-foot-9 guys. But can I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we argued that McCown is in a better situation now than he was in with the Bears. In my opinion, Vincent Jackson is clearly a notch below Brandon Marshall, and while Evans and AS-J project to be beastly at this level, they are rookies. How they will adapt to the league is still a great unknown. Their statures are similar to Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett, but nobody knows if they'll be anywhere near as good. Plus, the Bucs won't be as pass-first as the Bears are under Marc Trestman. McCown is just a mid-range QB2.