Josh McCown has heard this song before.
After cleaning up some of the Caleb Hanie mess following Jay Cutler’s injured thumb in 2011, McCown went back down the depth chart as the Bears brought Jason Campbell in as Cutler’s No. 2. At the end of training camp, he was cut as the Bears opted to go into the 2012 season with two quarterbacks.
When Cutler was down with a concussion for the San Francisco game last year, McCown was brought back and stayed on the roster for the last seven games.
This year, another emergency call and McCown came off the bench to nearly rescue the Bears against Washington and then engineered a win over Green Bay in Lambeau Field.
That’ll be it for now, at least, as Cutler was re-installed as the starter. And one of the reasons McCown has all but assured himself a roster spot beyond this year lies in the attitude.
McCown evinced zero problem with giving up the starting job despite a passer rating of 100.2, three touchdowns, no interceptions and 51 points scored in the span of six quarters.
“It’s a good thing, man,” McCown said on Thursday. “There’s a lot of banged up teams right now, and you want to get people back. You need people healthy, and so it’s a good thing that Jay is back and healthy and ready to go.”
McCown’s outlook is simple:
“As a competitor, I enjoy playing,” McCown said. “As a member of our team, I understand my role. Jay is the starter, and I’m the backup. Jay got hurt, and I served my team by playing and doing what I could to help us win a ballgame and then play effective football when I was in there. When he’s healthy, he comes back and he’s the starter, and that’s how it goes. That’s how we operate. There’s no part of me that has any of those feelings.”
What McCown did was arguably save the Bears’ season, at least for the time being. A loss to Green Bay would have left the Bears with four losses in five games and two full games behind the Packers.
Instead they are in a three-way tie with the Packers and Detroit Lions with a coveted division road win.
“[McCown] did a great job, did an unbelievable job, and I think if you asked the guys in the locker room, no one is really surprised what he was able to do on the field,” Cutler said. “He’s always prepared. He has been in the league a long time. He doesn’t take anything for granted. He knows at any point he could be in there and I thought he had fun with it.
“He knew going into the game, a Monday night game, it was going to be a big game, a division game and he just enjoyed the process of preparing and obviously played extremely well. It was fun to watch. I was really happy for him.”