As expected Jets head coach Todd Bowles named 37-year-old veteran Josh McCown the team's starting quarterback for Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. McCown has only played in one series so far this preseason as Bowles has allowed youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg to duke it out to sort out the QB depth chart. Jets beat reporters questioned whether there was truly a quarterback competition at all and whether the starting gig was McCown's to use.
"No, it was even because we hadn’t played any games and obviously I wanted to see (Bryce Petty) and (Christian Hackenberg) play," admitted Bowles. "I’ve seen Josh (McCown) play and I was with Josh before and I know what he can do. I just wanted to see if the other ones will go ahead and step up and take the spot, but there was no starter going into training camp."
Petty outshined Hackenberg during the first three exhibition contests as the lights looked too bright for the second year gunslinger out of Penn State.
"It wasn’t disappointing," said Bowles of Hackenberg's performance. "Obviously (Christian) was the only one that hasn’t played in the regular season game either. The other two played in it so, they had a little more poise so, everything he was seeing, going out there against some great defenses the past two weeks, he saw for the first and second time but, he got better mentally and he got better in somethings to learn from so, it wasn’t disappointing. It was a learning experience."
With more than a decade of pro experience, McCown was the easy choice for Bowles given the quarterback's ability to grasp the offense.
Well, (Petty) and (Hackenberg) give the young players a chance to develop as well. Josh, from an experience stand point, knows more, but that’s not why we made him the starter. We put him to start because he gives us the best chance from his talent, he’s proven that this spring and this summer so, he gives us the best chance that way.
With the Jets on a endless quest to find a franchise quarterback, Bowles acknowledges that naming McCown the starter doesn't give him that designation by any stretch of the imagination.
"That’s kind of a strange question, but until we (go) 16-0, you have a franchise quarterback," Bowles stated flatly. "If you don’t, I guess you don’t."
With many "experts" predicting the Jets will flirt with a 0-16 record, at the very least they have a wiley veteran to command the huddle for the season opener when they take on Buffalo.