Through 10 games, Josh McCown has posted a passer rating of 93.7 while completing 69 percent of his passes with 17 total touchdowns and 10 turnovers. Reunited with QB coach Jeremy Bates, he has played arguably the best football of his 15-year career.
"Josh is playing at a high level, and he's done some good things on the field and off the field. He's exciting to watch both in the classroom and at practice and on gameday," Bates told reporters during a Bye Week conference call. "He's playing at a high level, he's continuing to get better. At the end of the day, as we all know, quarterbacks are judged by their win/loss record, so we have six games to improve that. So that's going to be our focus for the next six games is improving the win/loss record, but we're excited about the way he's playing."
In six contests this season, McCown has compiled a passer rating of over 100. He has been the steadying hand of a newly constructed offense under coordinator John Morton. Bates, who coached McCown with the Bears in 2012, consults with the signal caller on the sideline while Morton calls each game from the press box.
"I was with him in Chicago, of course, and he's just a special person," Bates said of McCown. "He jumped in in the offseason and this is his style of offense that he likes, and he's gone 100 miles per hour since the day he got here. So just giving him the opportunity with what he represents and how he plays the game and how his focus is, this is what I expect out of Josh and I think he expects the same thing. We'll continue to watch him grow."
Bryce Petty, who serves as McCown's backup, and Christian Hackenberg, a pro sophomore, continue to share the scout-team reps while McCown gets the bulk of the work at practice.
"I couldn't be happier with both Bryce and Christian," Bates said. "They come into work every day, they are grinding, they are studying on their own putting in the extra hours, and then they go to the practice field and they're focused. They are not just throwing the ball out there, they are competing."
In scout team, a quarterback gets to stay on with a completion. An incompletion means rotate, so Petty and Hackenberg are constantly competing. But as Todd Bowles has reiterated Monday, McCown will remain the club's starter for the foreseeable future.
"This isn't Triple-A, and we're going to play the best players that gives us the opportunity to win in all positions, and that's our philosophy. Josh is our starter. He gives us the opportunity to win on Sunday, and that's what we're focused on," Bates said. "We're focused on a very good Carolina Panthers team. They're playing hot and (they are) well-coached. And if you watched last night, they are flying around the field, so we have to prepare for that."