Todd Bowles has said publicly that the New York Jets are holding an open quarterback competition, but most assume Josh McCown is the heavy favorite to land the starting job. While that may be true, McCown is no lock.
Brian Costello of the New York Post has observed McCown and the Jets’ two other quarterbacks — Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty — in practice this offseason, and the reporter does not consider McCown a “sure thing” to start in Week 1. Despite reports last year that Hackenberg was not making any progress, Costello has been impressed with the former Penn State star.
Hackenberg surprised me, especially during the minicamp. He has made some strides and I’m not sure McCown starting Week 1 is a sure thing.
Hackenberg showed a deft touch on deep passes, and looked improved on the short and intermediate throws — an area in which he really struggled last year. He still looks inaccurate and unsure of himself at times. If he can make more progress in training camp and especially the preseason games, he could make the quarterback decision a tough one for coach Todd Bowles.
The biggest factor could be that Bowles is likely coaching for his job. Even if he thinks Hackenberg is going to be New York’s starter in the long-term, he might be better off going with McCown if he believes the 38-year-old veteran gives the team the best chance to win now.
In reality, there is no quarterback on the Jets’ roster who is going to lead the team to a playoff berth unless a miracle happens. When you read what one NFL executive said about Gang Green, it’s clear the expectations in New York should be very low.