Eric Allen Senior Reporter
Jets head coach Todd Bowles has named veteran Josh McCown the team’s starting quarterback.
“He gives us the best chance to win right now,” Bowles told reporters.
McCown signed with the Jets in March and took the majority of first-team reps throughout the spring and early in training camp. He started the preseason opener against the Titans, leading an eight play, 78-yard march that culminated on a 4-yard TD pass to WR Charone Peake.
“You play this game to play and as a competitor you want to be out there, so I was excited and thankful for the opportunity,” McCown said of the decision. “I look forward to getting out there week one and going to compete with these guys. So, it’s going to be fun.”
Second-year passer Christian Hackenberg started the past two games for the Jets while Bryce Pettyclosed both contests. Hackenberg completed 61.5% of his passes for 267 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs in extended action. He was also sacked six times. Petty, who suffered a minor knee injury against the Giants, remains hopeful he can play when the Jets conclude the preseason Thursday vs. the Eagles. He connected on 67% of his throws this summer with 3 TDs and 1 INT and was sacked a pair of times.
“He had the best grasp of the offense right now,” Bowles said of McCown. “The other two got significantly better, but he still has the best grasp of the offense right now.”
Bowles said he could name a backup next week and all three quarterbacks will be available for game action Thursday. Despite playing just the one drive in the preseason, McCown says he’ll be ready regardless if he gets any futrther game reps.
“We’re getting good work in practice. Today and tomorrow will be good days and I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “Like I said and I’ve said before, regardless of when a decision is made or any of those things, in this league you’ve got to play. When your number is called, you’ve got to play and there’s an expectation that you’re going to play well.
The Jets are McCown’s 10th NFL team. In 82 career appearances, he has completed 59.1% of his passes with 79 TDs and 69 INTs.
“I’m looking forward to playing the best ball I’ve ever played and that’s my mindset,” McCown said. “In order to do that, you can’t look at that as 16 weeks, you have to look at it as one week at a time. That’s the only way you can look at it.”