The Jets have dropped four of their last five games and enter the bye week with a 4-6 record after Sunday’s 15-10 loss to the Bucs. Josh McCown didn’t have his best game, so with six games remaining, the discussion resumed about when to sit McCown for either Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg.
And Todd Bowles wasn’t having any of it.
“I can’t come up with a scenario right now,” he said Monday on a conference call. “We’re going to play the game and try to win each one and take them one at a time and Josh will be our quarterback, and then we’ll go from there.”
Sunday’s game notwithstanding, McCown is having a strong season. When he connected with Robby Anderson with 28 seconds left for his 14th touchdown pass, he became, at 38, the oldest quarterback in NFL history to set a career high.
The 15-year veteran also is only 270 passing yards away from a career best. He has 2,242 in 10 games, a remarkable number to those who didn’t believe McCown still would be the starter this late in the season.
Despite the feel-good story McCown has become, the bottom line for the Jets is to evaluate young talent. If they are out of the playoff picture — and their chances keep getting worse — the time is coming for the young quarterbacks to play.
“My approach is I give my all to the role that I’m in, and if that changes, then I will adjust accordingly,” McCown said. “I don’t really pay attention to what outside opinions are or any of that stuff. My role right now is to serve this team as the starting quarterback and I’m going to do that as best I can. And if that changes, then I’ll help as best as I can, in any way. For me, I don’t think too much about that.”
Three weeks ago, Bowles was asked about a possible quarterback change. He said he’d seen his two backups perform over the summer and that “Josh is my quarterback.”
He was strong in his conviction then and again Monday. He said the only situation in which he could see Petty or Hackenberg playing in the near future is if McCown is injured. “If something happens to Josh and those two get ready to play, they’ll play,” Bowles said.
McCown never has played a full 16-game season. He played 14 games and started 13 for Arizona in 2004, going 6-7. It’s clear he will get at least two more starts, barring injury: tough home games against Carolina (4-1 on the road) and Kansas City (6-3, first in the AFC West). If the Jets lose them, calls to sit him for Petty or Hackenberg will increase.
It’s something McCown isn’t ready to discuss fully because he has a desire to play the entire season. He admires the Giants’ Eli Manning, who has made 208 consecutive starts, tied for second in league history for a quarterback.
“Just to withstand a 16-game season, to be there for your team, I think it’s important for a quarterback, and it’s something I haven’t done throughout my career,” he said. “I would be proud of that.”