Press Pass: Luke McCown

Luke McCown (Getty Images)

In this edition of "Press Pass," Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Luke McCown gives reporters a geography lesson, talks about his game-winning touchdown pass and what his role may be next week against Houston.

Where is Jacksonville, Texas?

Do you know where Tyler, Texas, is?

No. I've got Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. That's about it.

It's East Texas. It's about 2 hours southeast of Dallas and about 3 hours northeast of Houston. It's right in the middle there. Around Tyler, Longview, Lufkin area.

Do you consider yourself a Texan?

I do consider myself a Texan.

What does that mean, being a Texan?

It's where you were born. Those are my roots.

Is there anything special about Texas?

Well, we certainly are a very prideful people.

What was the plane ride back home like for you?

It was very, uh, I was exhausted. A lot more than normal weeks. It was good to sit back and take a breath.

Physically and mentally exhausted?

Yeah. I mean, physically, mentally, and emotionally. A lot of things went on during the game that gave us opportunities, other things went on that took opportunities away. To win the game, we ultimately relied on an opportunistic defense and that was the key to our win yesterday.

After the interception and the safety, were you sitting on the sideline saying, "Just give me one more chance?"

Certainly. You never want to end it like it was looking like it was going to end with a safety, especially with that type of mistake. I have to take full responsibility for that. I was trying to make a play out of nothing. I have to understand when to throw the ball away and sometimes that's the best play. I certainly was looking for another opportunity. I felt like if we could get another opportunity it would at least push us to overtime. Our offense had moved the ball well most of the day and I was pleading with the defense, "Get us the ball back, get us the ball back." And they did and again they're the key to our win. They come up huge for us every week.

Not getting rid of the ball in those situations, was that just rust from not starting in three years?

Yeah, probably. Certainly, I know better than that. It's not something that I don't understand. It was a situation where I had gotten out of the pocket and they had covered down my first two options so I came to my backside progression. I was out of the pocket pretty soon and I was working with Jerramy Stevens on a scramble drill. I was waiting on a hole. I felt like I was going to get a hole that I could stick the ball into for a first down and I just waited too long to try and make that happen. Will Smith made a good play in that situation. I have to get rid of the ball in that situation. The clock has to go off.

How much family did you have there at the game?

I had mom and dad (Randy and Pat), my old high school coach (Danny Long), my sister (Amy) and her husband. I believe that was it. My oldest brother Randy was going to come but he had an accident at work on Friday. He cut his finger real bad. He wasn't able to make it.

He missed your big W in New Orleans because he cut his finger?

Well he almost cut it off. So I could understand that. He has to have surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) to place a pin in it. But fortunately he'll be all right.

The last play happened kind of quick, with all the movement. Talk about that play, now that you've had time to look at it and think about it some more?

It was a great catch. A great design, number one, by coach. It had a quick shift. We were hoping we would get them in their goal line defense, but we didn't. And that wasn't something that we prepared for during the week. They stayed in their base defense and ran a corner out with Jerramy (Stevens). Jerramy recognized that and I recognized that and I tried to give him a throw that he could physically go up and get. We had a matchup. Jerramy and I were on the same page. We had the same thought process, thinking, ‘This is not the look, but this is what we need to do.' I just tried to give him a high — we call it a stop, a high stop throw — and he went up and got it. It was a lot better catch than a throw, I promise you. And, again, the protection the last two or three pass plays we had down in the red zone to win the game was phenomenal. It's a credit to our offensive line. It's a credit to Matt Lehr, who came into the game when John Wade was hurt. On short notice he came in on the fourth and one and helped us convert. It's a credit to those guys coming in and being ready to play.

Do you approach this week any differently now that you've played a game?

I'm going to approach this week like I've approached every week. I'll just prepare like I have every day since training camp and the season started. We'll see. I'm sure Jeff (Garcia) will be ready to go. He certainly seems like it. You always have to be prepared top play. That's been my mindset since Day One of training camp.

Guys gave chipped in everywhere on this team. Do you believe in the term "Team of Destiny?"

I believe that God has a plan for everybody. I believe God has a specific plan, a specific purpose, for every person on the planet. So as far as destiny, I don't know. I do think that we have a good football team here and we have a lot of guys that work hard and have a lot of heart and we showed it in this last game. I think that will help us go a long way.

Guys like Earnest Graham and a backup like yourself have finally gotten an opportunity to play. You hear it from backups all the time that all they need is a chance. Did you feel like yesterday was your ultimate opportunity to show what you could do?

I felt like it was an opportunity to go and play. The game will speak for itself. But my focus was on going out and helping this team win. I wasn't going out there to try and prove a point. I wasn't trying to prove anybody wrong. I just wanted to help us win. That's the ultimate goal. We're trying to win a championship and if any one person goes out there and says, ‘I'm going to prove you wrong,' then that's the wrong mindset. Then we're not collectively on the same page. So my mindset was, ‘Let's go win a game.' We just wanted to get one step closer to winning a championship.

When did you become aware of what Josh (McCown, his brother) had done with Oakland on Sunday (he threw three touchdown passes)?

I think somebody told me after the game. Somebody told me that he threw three touchdown passes. That was great. I called him as soon as I got on the bus. As soon as I called him, he had been home for a little while and was already watching my game on TiVo. He was critiquing me on a few things already.

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