Chicago Sun-Times

Vet McCown taking business-like approach vs. Packers

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Josh McCown said he's not surprised to be starting for the Bears on Sunday, four weeks after he was coaching a high school football team in Charlotte, N.C. because ''I kind of believe God can do anything.''

It remains to be seen if He can give the Bears a backup quarterback who can win football games.

After the disastrous experience with Caleb Hanie, the Bears never officially announced that McCown would replace Hanie as the Bears' starting quarterback for Sunday night's game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The ''announcement'' was McCown stepping to the lectern in the media room Wednesday for the weekly press conference with the starting quarterback.

''It's just another opportunity,'' said the 32-year-old McCown, who is 12-19 as a starter with Arizona (10-12 in 2003-04) and Oakland (2-7 in 2007). ''To be with this group of guys, especially a veteran ballclub on defense, it's a little different from that perspective because I don't know if I've played with a group that's played this well.

''So that part of it will make it different. Other than that, it's just another opportunity to come out and compete.''

Until he replaced Hanie in a mop-up role in the Bears' 38-14 loss to the Seahawks last week, McCown had not thrown a pass in a regular-season NFL game since 2009 with the Carolina Panthers. His last start was in 2007 with the Raiders. He was 6-for-8 for 46 yards against Jacksonville, but replaced by rookie Jamarcus Russell after falling behind 14-0. (Russell was even worse, throwing three interceptions in a 49-11 loss).

''I don't want to get too excited and too amped up,'' McCown said. ''For me, absolutely it's a cool story and a cool moment. But at the same time, I'm a competitor. I want to win the game. I want to do right by the coaches and the other 52 guys in the locker room. So it'll be exciting for a little bit. But we've got to get down to business.''

McCown was signed by the Bears because of his familiarity with Mike Martz's offense. He was with the Lions when Martz was the offensive coordinator and Rod Marinelli the head coach in 2006. But his only playing time was at wide receiver, when he caught two passes for 15 yards and was called for offensive pass interference in a 28-21 loss to the Patriots.

But even with that previous knowledge, he's in a tough spot coming in cold against the Packers.

''It's not ideal for anybody to come in this late in any offense,'' he said. ''But at the same time, as a competitor you understand where the other guys are at. You've got to get yourself up to speed and ready to play. Everybody expects you just to go play and play well. That's the expectation for myself also.''

He insisted he will not make excuses, saying his job is to ''do things to help us own the football game.

''If I keep looking back and saying, 'I only got here six weeks ago,' then it becomes an excuse [and] I think you leave an area for you not to play well because you're leaving something to fall back on,'' he said. ''I'm trying to refuse to do that, and just say, 'You know what, you have to play well. The team's depending on you.' That's my stance.''

The Bears did not support Hanie very well. But center Roberto Garza said it's imperative that they step up for McCown.

''He's been in the system before, so we know what he can bring to the table,'' Garza said. ''Obviously, all of the offensive players have to step up. We all have to step up and do our jobs better and go out there and get us a win.''

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said his focus is more on the Bears' offense than on McCown per se.

"I'm just a little familiar with Josh from his time in Carolina. Something that you look at from a personnel department -- his skill-set and so forth,'' said McCarthy, who as a reputation of being good with quarterbacks.

''You really look at how he's going to fit into Chicago's offense is really the way we're focusing on it. There's always an unknown when you play a quarterback for the first time. With that being said, we need to really focus on what Mike Martz is preparing for and how he's preparing his offense for our defense."

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Some constructive criticism...

When the Bears played the Raiders in '07 with McClown as the starter, he faked a handoff and then ran the ball himself for a 30 yard gain on the first play from scrimmage.

While he isn't that great of a quarterback, he is a heck of an athlete. I think he was recorded as having a 4.5 40 yard dash time prior to the draft he was selected in and he did play WR with the Lions in '06.

That being said, if the Bears are serious about winning on Sunday, I think they need to help out McClown as much as they can and play to his strengths. I think they need to try and run a Tebow-style offense.

Think about it, we're short on help at receiver. Our line can't really pass block anyway to give the quarterback time to throw. And, we're already going run heavy as it is. So why not? Maybe throw all three tight ends in there on some plays and just keep grinding forward.

Just my thoughts. Anyone agree? Disagree?

If the Bears do not keep Rodgers off the field, it will be a long afternoon for the Bear defense. Running by anyone would help, provided the runs did not repeatedly lead to three and outs . So yes, let him run when necessary, but the passing game is a better choice against the Packer defense with a competent quarterback.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on December 21, 2011 2:23 PM.

Josh McCown will start for Bears against Packers was the previous entry in this blog.

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