McCown: Why working with Jets' quarterback Sam Darnold was such "a blast"

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Quarterback Josh McCown has made a lot of stops in his 16-year NFL career, but his last was one of the best. Here's why.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Josh McCown interview, fast-forward to 1:06:05 of the attachment above)

Playing for eight teams in 16 years as an NFL quarterback, Josh McCown had a chance to learn from some of the best – including Hall-of-Famer and former Arizona teammate Kurt Warner. But when it came to enjoying the experience – basically, to having the most fun – there were two quarterbacks he mentioned you might not expect.

One was Jon Kitna, and, OK, he’s not so under-the-radar. When Carson Palmer talked about the greatest influences on his career, Kitna was high on his list, too.

But McCown's second choice was more of an upset. Because his second choice was Sam Darnold.

It’s not just that, at 22, Darnold is almost 18 years younger than McCown. No, it's more that Darnold is the quarterback who in 2018 put McCown on the New York Jets’ bench -- one year after the most productive season of McCown’s career.

Nevertheless, McCown -- who announced his retirement Monday -- had nothing but praise for the former USC star, saying it was “a blast” to work with him in Darnold’s rookie year.

“Just the age gap alone provided comedic relief every day,” McCown said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, “because there were just so many things that would come up.

“He’s barely older than my oldest child, and, so, for me, it was always having to put myself in his shoes and kind of in her mode of thinking; (of) how my daughter thinks. And so that was a blast.

“I really had a lot of fun being around Sam and enjoyed his friendship and enjoyed working with him as he learned the pro game.”

As an unrestricted free agent today, McCown may have quarterbacked his last NFL game. And that’s OK with him. There are no regrets with a career that saw him shuttled from Arizona … to Detroit … to Oakland … to Carolina, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and, finally, the New York Jets.

Granted, that’s a lot of teams. It’s a lot more coaches, assistant coaches, playbooks and terminology, too. Yet somehow, some way, McCown survived.

His secret?

“The main thing,” he said, “is just figuring out your learning style when you’re going from one offense to the next and trying to adapt. Getting to know people (and) understanding teammates … those are the things that probably came more easily to me; just relating to guys or whatever.

“But the harder part was just the actual downloading of information and learning the new terminology. I would tell rookies all the time, ‘You’ve got to figure out how you learn and what’s best for you.’

“Some guys want to convert everything. (They’ll say) ‘Well, we called this Double Formation Right last year, and we call it Aces Right this year. And so every time I hear it I’m just going to convert it.’ So that works for some people.

“For me, it didn’t. Because then it always confused me as to what team I was on. So I had to learn very quickly how to wipe what was the previous season … and wipe that information out and really study, study hard, hard, hard to get it down to where I felt good about the new info and the new playbook to a point where I could execute it and play well.”

Follow on Twitter @ClarkJudgeTOF

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