FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Jets coach Todd Bowles will likely play some starters in the fourth preseason game against the Eagles on Thursday, but declined to reveal his quarterback, or even to say whether his Week 1 quarterback will sit out the last preseason game.
“We're not trying to keep them from getting injured, we're just trying to get them into playing shape and make sure they get some game time,” he said of his preseason philosophy. (Many coaches opt to rest their starters in the fourth game, for fear of injuring them just in time for the games to matter.)
“It's just a matter of working on things," he said about playing starters. "Sometimes you just feel like you need to work on things against a different team. It has nothing to do with an advantage or a disadvantage. If you feel like your guys haven't jelled yet or certain guys need to play together with a few guys out, you kind of put them out there and let them play a little bit.”
Of course, the greatest intrigue surrounding the Jets is the thing Bowles has been the most reluctant to talk about. From training camp and through the preseason, it certainly seems like Sam Darnold has earned himself the starting role. But Bowles has consistently said that all three quarterbacks need to be ready. On Monday, that refrain didn’t change.
“You want me to answer that, right?” he said to laughter, when asked if the Week 1 quarterback will sit out the fourth preseason game. “All three need to be ready to play, and I'll let them know who's playing and who's not playing, if any are not playing, when I get to it.”
Bowles did say he was planning to hold some starters out.
“I have a few starters nicked up,” he said, adding that players will be informed on Wednesday whether they’ll play.
RB Isaiah Crowell sat out of practice with soreness, but is expected to be ready for Week 1, Bowles said. DL Steve McLendon (leg) is “in a good spot” and “making progress” but Bowles would not say if he’ll be ready for the regular season…Bowles said he has a good idea on his starters at outside linebacker and tight end – two pivotal position battles – but did not specify who won the spots.