Josh McCown isn’t allowed at Eagles practice. He’s not even expected to be in the same time zone as the team if things go according to plan this season.
As the Eagles' emergency quarterback, the 41-year-old’s role on the practice squad is still being formed, but McCown said Tuesday his first day on the job involved watching the Eagles practice from a remote location.
After watching Monday’s session, McCown texted Carson Wentz to say he was impressed with how things looked.
“For me, it’s just watching, being involved in the meetings, because you can’t just watch practice and be able to bring anything of value if you don’t know the intention of what you’re trying to get done,” McCown said. “So being a part of the meeting, seeing the installations, listening to the plays, and what [the coaches] have come up with and their intent of these plays. And then hopefully I can bring some value if needed to those guys as they dialogue on how reads go in different things, and just be another sounding board for Carson.”
McCown became the oldest practice squad player in NFL history last weekend after the Eagles signed him to be on call if the team’s quarterback room comes down with the coronavirus and has to miss time. He will spend the season quarantining in his Texas home, watching practice from there and participating in meetings virtually.
He said he can stay in playing shape by throwing with his sons, two of whom are high school quarterbacks, and working out either at his home gym or a local high school after the team’s morning meetings.
“When they go out to practice I’ll probably go out and work out,” McCown said. “Then I’ll come back in and watch their practice and be able to reconvene with them and share thoughts and discuss things. I’ll be looking at opponent tape so I can better myself to be a resource for those guys.”
McCown joined the Eagles last season to back up Wentz after Nate Sudfeld broke his wrist last preseason. He became a mentor for Wentz and was credited with helping him develop as a player and a leader. McCown came in for Wentz during the team’s wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks last January and tore his hamstring, but he said the injury has been cleared.
McCown confirmed he and the team discussed the possibility of him joining the coaching staff earlier in the offseason, but said the talks were in reference to coaching opportunities down the road and there wasn’t an offer for an actual position.
“Having Josh around last year was huge for me, but really for this entire building,” Wentz said. “I think he just provided a lot of insight, a lot of energy. He was kind of a mentor to a lot of guys. He’s twice the age of some of the guys in this building, so I always gave him a little crap for that, but it’s awesome to have him back.”
McCown, who played for eight teams in 17 seasons, said he was able to use his experience around so many different leadership styles to help Wentz “find his voice” as a leader.
“When you’re a young player, you’re trying to go, ‘OK, what’s my style, what’s my voice?’ Sometimes you don’t know,” McCown said. "And and I guess for me last year my role was just to affirm him in those areas. ... So I think that’s the main thing, for me is just to be able to go, ‘Man, I’ve been around. I’ve gotten the great privilege of being around a lot of great leaders, especially the quarterback position.’ So to be able to share some of those experiences with him, hopefully help him. It’s always the goal and to his credit, he’s receptive, always want to learn and grow and get better. And I think the play down the stretch last year reflected that.”