The Patriots face the Jets on Sunday, and the man who once resigned as HC of the NYJ before he even worked a single practice has high praise for the team’s current quarterback.
During a Wednesday press conference, Belichick shared his thoughts on Josh McCown, the 38-year-old, 15-year veteran who has led the Jets to an unlikely 3-2 record.
“Very athletic guy,” Belichick said of McCown. “You can see his ability to run, extend plays, get out of trouble. He’s got quickness. He’s got some speed. He plays on his feet well, has good feet in the pocket.
“But look, he’s a tough guy. He’s very smart. I don’t know what happened in all of the situations that he was in. I just know what I see on film and from our interactions with him competitively. He’s a good player. He’s accurate. He gets the ball out quickly. He gets it to the open guy. If you make a mistake he is going to make you pay for it. If you line up in something that he can take advantage of then he can get his team into whatever the game plan play is, those types of things. Guys that are unblocked – he throws the hot or the sight-adjust or whatever is the appropriate part of the play.
“You don’t see him making a lot of mistakes. You see him throwing the ball accurately and you see him athletically getting out of some trouble. He manages the team well. He’s good in close games at the end of the game, critical situations. I mean, there’s a lot to like about the guy.”
Belichick is right. McCown had a great run in 2013 when Jay Cutler was injured in Chicago. Since then, however, McCown has faced bad circumstances, from no offensive coordinator in Tampa to the Browns being the Browns. With the Jets, McCown was expected to struggle again. He hasn’t; come Sunday, he faces the Patriots for first place in the AFC East.
But here’s the thing about Belichick’s praise. His team hasn’t played McCown in 13 years. And Belichick has faced him only once, a 23-12 Patriots win in 2004. McCown completed 13 of 29 passes for 160 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. McCown also was sacked five times.
McCown will have to do better than that if he wants to run his career record against Belichick to 1-1. Don’t be surprised if McCown does, now that he’s in a stable spot and with a competitive roster.