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NY Jets: De Facto Leadership

NFL: New York Jets at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets named their starting QB despite seeing only one preseason drive out of the 38 year old vet. As is often the custom after a quarterback competition, most fans aren’t particularly enthused about this decision. Let’s be honest: If your team has a quarterback competition going on, it’s probably because no one is very good at the moment and your team is going to be bad regardless who wins. At best, maybe a rookie surprises and will be good in a year or two.

Nevertheless, there are a variety of easy arguments to be made as to why McCown has no business being on the field this season. McCown has never started 16 games in a season, he posted a 72.3 passer rating last season, he’s won 2 of the last 24 games he’s appeared in, and he is clearly not the future for the Jets. He managed to win the position by attempting a grand total of 4 passes this preseason. It’s actually pretty hard to argue he did anything to win the QB position, yet he will start for the Jets week 1. And he should.

In one of the few moves that I have really agreed with this offseason, the Jets decided to let McCown ride the bench in the preseason despite being embroiled in a QB competition. Let’s face it...we know what McCown is as a QB. He’s 38 and a bottom 10 QB in the league. In a rare “preparing for the future” move, the Jets decided to give their two young bucks as many game reps as they could while propping up the total wild card and second round pick. Hackenberg responded by throwing twice as many pick-sixes as touchdowns while throwing for 5.1 yards per attempt and fumbling three times. At best, Hackenberg looked awful in the preseason. Hackenberg should count his blessings for being nearly guaranteed a roster spot because if he were a 6th round pick, it would be hard to justify it.

Despite Hackenberg being handed the most opportunities, Petty was also given a fair amount of time in the preseason. After an excellent outing against the Giants, some would argue that Petty earned a shot at starting week 1. Well those some are being ridiculous. Petty was given the opportunity to play with first and second string players against a group of Giants’ backups who would struggle to make rosters. Before his appearance against the Giants, Petty sported 42.4 and 64.6 ratings against mostly backups in two preseason games. Petty, not Hackenberg, was given a chance to play in 6 games last season. He posted a 60 passer rating with a TD-INT ratio of 3-7. Let’s be honest, he didn’t have a strong group of supporters when he was claiming his development was showing up in Madden games.

“Hey! He played against 3 playoff teams in those 6 appearances! You can’t judge him based on those tough opponents!”

Okay, Annoying Critic #1, but two of those three games were in relief and he posted a statline of 2-5 for 19 yards and an INT. He averaged 12.5 points per game (without overtime) against the horrid defenses of the Colts, 49ers, Rams, and Dolphins (last one is okay I guess.) In short, Petty was awful. In the preseason, Petty was awful, awful, and then exceptionally good...while he had vastly superior talent around him. To make matters worse, he injured his MCL during the game. Petty has definitely shown some improvement each year, but from what Petty has done at the NFL level (he’s 26 and has 3 full offseasons under his belt), it should be pretty clear that his ceiling is to be a decent backup. And I’d argue that’s only if he continues developing for a bit.

The Jets are predicted to finish near the bottom of the NFL. I hate to say it, but I agree with those predictions. The Jets will be lucky to win 5 games this year. So why start McCown? The fact is that McCown is the best QB on the Jets right now and you don’t throw in the towel before week 1. By most reports, McCown has been the best QB in camp. He’s been the best over the last two seasons. He was the best in preseason, however limited his appearance may have been. I’m comfortable saying Hackenberg and Petty aren’t the future, but even if they are, they’re clearly not deserving of winning this competition. Odds are McCown won’t finish the season (or even half of it) as the only QB to start, but for now, the coaches have made the easy (and obvious) decision at quarterback.


How long will McCown hold the starter position?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    1 year
    (27 votes)
  • 65%
    1 month
    (264 votes)
  • 3%
    1 week
    (16 votes)
  • 5%
    1 quarter
    (24 votes)
  • 1%
    1 quarter of 1 quarter
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    He will be injured before week 1
    (4 votes)
  • 14%
    He will live forever and lead the Jets until football is replaced by laserball
    (59 votes)
402 votes total Vote Now