McGinnis big fan of McCown

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach
    DBS Writer

    Mar 29, 2009
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    Rams assistant fondly recalls Bears QB's first days in NFL when he was his first head coach

    David Haugh
    In the Wake of the News

    November 20, 2013

    Brimming with boyish enthusiasm, Josh McCown bounced into the team facility early with an unproven rookie's appetite for work and stayed late until only the coaches' cars remained in the parking lot.

    This sounds like any given day at Halas Hall. This was every day at the Arizona Cardinals complex in 2002 after McCown broke into the league as a third-round draft pick out of Sam Houston State.

    Eleven years later, only McCown's uniforms have changed.

    Dave McGinnis, McCown's head coach for his first two NFL seasons and now assistant head coach of the Rams, remembered those long days fondly as he watched videotape of the Bears in preparation for Sunday's game in St. Louis.

    "I'm real proud of Josh,'' McGinnis said on the phone Tuesday.

    The only quarterback from the 2002 NFL draft to take a snap this season, McCown has emerged as the league's poster boy for perseverance and is partly responsible for making the playoffs still possible for the Bears. If the Packers had McCown when Aaron Rodgers went down, the NFC North still might be theirs to lose. How many players have affected the division race as significantly as McCown?

    But slow down. That doesn't mean the Bears should sever ties in 2014 with Jay Cutler, a more talented quarterback whose arrow was pointing up before injuries. That simply means McCown has fulfilled his role as well as any NFL player, raising many of our eyebrows — but not McGinnis'.

    "I've been in this league 28 years and know good from bad, and to me, from day one Josh always had all the elements that said this guy will help your football team somewhere,'' McGinnis said. "I love Josh and really respect what he has done, so it's not surprising to me that people are finding out the depth of his football character. He has had it since he stepped into the league.''

    The Cardinals drafted McCown because his athleticism and improvisational skills resembled those of starter Jake Plummer. His unselfishness made McCown immediately popular, and his leadership looked more natural than forced, according to McGinnis. During the pre-draft process, McGinnis recalled hitting it off with McCown because both Texans came from football families and shared more than a gift for gab.

    "I have an affinity for guys to whom football is important, and I had friends who coached high school football in Texas tell me about Josh for a long time,'' McGinnis said. "He had all the background essentials you really liked. And he's a fabulous athlete. If you were going to start a pickup basketball game in the building, he'd be one of your first choices.''

    McCown would need all those moves after replacing Jeff Blake as the starter for the final three games of the 2003 season, McGinnis' last with the Cardinals. For McGinnis, no McCown memory tops the perfect 28-yard touchdown pass to Nate Poole on the last play to win the season finale over the Vikings 18-17. A 12-loss Cardinals team trailed by 11 with five minutes to go before McCown's game-winning drive knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs in favor of the Packers.

    "That made me mayor of Green Bay for about a week,'' McGinnis kidded.

    Around Phoenix, McGinnis became less popular everywhere but the Cardinals locker room, where McCown publicly pushed to keep their head coach after the dramatic victory.

    "A lot of teams tank it when they have our record," McCown told reporters that day. "He deserves to be here.''

    That loyalty from McCown and others touched McGinnis, who knows the Bears game represents more than most Sundays. Besides his McCown connection, McGinnis worked alongside Marc Trestman on the Cardinals staff from 1998 to 2000 and, of course, spent a special decade as a Bears assistant from 1986 to '95.

    His name still instantly conjures memories of Jan. 22, 1999, the embarrassing day when the Bears announced McGinnis had been hired to replace Dave Wannstedt before reaching a contract agreement. McGinnis quit asking "what if" years ago but never stopped appreciating his time in Chicago.

    "Those 10 years started me on my NFL career, and I'll always have great respect for Virginia McCaskey, the organization and the city,'' McGinnis said. "That city was good to me — even when I was head coach for six hours and didn't know it for three.''

    For a few hours Sunday, McGinnis will try to ruin Chicago's mood by devising ways to stop the quarterback whom he gave his NFL start.

    "I'm not going to go stupid and tell you how, but it's a big challenge,'' McGinnis said. "(Trestman) is doing a good job with him, they have a great collection of talent and Josh understands the offense. And I know nobody will be better prepared.''

    McGinnis has known that since the day he drafted McCown.,0,1794642.column
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  2. DaTreeBears

    DaTreeBears Pro-Bowler

    Aug 16, 2013
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    That's why I believe Josh will make a very good coach. Having Trestman at this time in his career is only going to solidify it. Josh is just sucking up all the knowledge he can from his new coach like a sponge you can see it when he was on the sidelines when Jay was playing and now look at the results.
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  3. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    Member of the Month DBS Writer

    May 21, 2012
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    That is a fantastic article. Thanks SSB for posting it!!!

  4. riczaj01

    riczaj01 George Halas
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    Nov 4, 2006
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    Birthday CakeBandaid
    I actually said this somewhere else, even if Josh never gets to play again, he'll be a good coach b/c of his expereinces and now having spent time w/Trestman.

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