Panthers QB Coach Josh McCown Excited for “Huge Task” of Developing Bryce Young
Josh McCown was one of Frank Reich’s first hires in Carolina.
Reich hired McCown to be his quarterback’s coach in February, and when the Panthers traded up to No. 1 in the NFL Draft a month later, things got real: McCown isn’t only taking on his first-ever NFL coaching role; he’s also the man tasked with developing the Panther’s quarterback of the future, Bryce Young.
No pressure, right?
Sure, McCown has dabbled with coaching in the past. He led his son’s high school football team while playing for the Eagles in 2019, flying to Charlotte on Friday afternoons to help coach at Myers Park High. And he was often called “coach” by his fellow Houston Texans players during his time with the team (something he didn’t always love, as a matter of fact). More recently, McCown interviewed for the Texans’ head coaching position (twice, actually). Though Houston eventually hired David Culley (2021) and Lovie Smith (2022).
So some experience? Sure. But he’s hardly a veteran NFL coach. And yet, he’ll soon be coaching the No. 1 pick in the draft, Bryce Young.
With OTAs starting this week, McCown spoke to reporters via Zoom to discuss this new challenge. And unsurprisingly, he’s taking it very seriously. McCown is apparently spending “every waking second” with his young quarterback. He was quite literally by Bryce Young’s side for every minute that the CBA allowed during last week’s second phase of the offseason program.
What did he learn about his newest project?
“He’s a worker,” McCown said. “He loves to be around it.”
Bryce Young blew away the S2 Cognition test, so McCown knew he was smart. Young’s exceptional ability to quickly process information and ask insightful questions of McCown and the Panthers’ coaching staff has left McCown amazed.
“Every time we step into a meeting with him, it’s clear that he’s taken the material, whatever was presented the day before, and he’s spent time with it at home,” McCown said. “And he’s digested it, and he comes with questions. That’s what a pro does.”
Regarding the much bandied-about size concerns with Young, the six-foot-four McCown admitted that Young’s size was “unique” to the NFL but insisted that he views it a unique challenge. McCown said Young’s size was never a concern for Carolina in the pre-draft process because it “just didn’t show up on the tape.”
“But when you turn on the tape, you don’t feel that. You never felt it,” he added. “You look at all the studies and the balls going over the middle especially; that’s where you get into some issues. And his percentages are higher than taller quarterbacks. …
“That never really entered into the evaluation as a critical factor because it just didn’t show up on the tape.”
Overall, McCown is excited about the “huge task” of developing Bryce Young. As he should be. This could be the launching pad for that head coaching gig he sought in Houston. As for the failed attempts at becoming the head coach of the Houston Texans, McCown appreciates the experience. However, he feels he’s in the right place with the Panthers.
“It was a great experience. I appreciate them having me be involved in that process,” McCown said. “But really for me, being here, this was the right thing. And this is what I’m excited about. Things happen for a reason and I certainly am valuing every day that I step into this building and get to be around coach Reich, and guys like coach Caldwell, coach (Ejiro) Evero. We just have fantastic people.”