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Josh McCown ready to step in for injured Sam Darnold

The 39-year-old quarterback hasn't played since the preseason but said he's not concerned about rust if he starts Sunday against the Bills.

Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh McCown look

Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh McCown look on during the first half of a game against the Vikings at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 21. Photo Credit: Lee S. Weissman/Lee S. Weissman

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Josh McCown hasn’t taken a single snap this season, but that doesn’t mean the 39-year-old quarterback hasn’t been putting in work.

He's been working some with the Jets' scout team and preparing each week as if he were going to start. It’s been Sam Darnold’s job, but the rookie has a strained right foot. That’s expected to open the door for McCown to run the offense Sunday against the Bills.

McCown isn’t concerned about being rusty in his first regular-season game in 11 months.

“That's not the plan,” McCown said. “Part of being in professional football is the expectation is to go out and play at a high level. That can't be allowed to be an excuse and it won't be. I'll go out and expect to play to my standard and to the standard of this football team and win a football game.”

McCown was the Jets’ starter last season before he broke his left hand Dec.10 in a loss to the Broncos. He threw for a career-high 2,926 yards and 18 touchdowns in 13 games.

“Josh practices every day,” Todd Bowles said. “He takes reps all the time. He’s a true professional, and I think he’ll be ready.”

McCown’s value this season has been as a mentor and adviser to Darnold. McCown hasn’t played since the last preseason game and appeared in only two of them, attempting nine passes. But he hasn’t been hit since then and feels fresh.

“I mix in and get work,” McCown said. “I do enough every week to kind of keep myself tuned up. That's my main focus. Then the mental aspect of just going over the game plan every week with Sam and how much football he and I talk, that's the biggest part of my preparation.”

McCown doesn't expect his timing or chemistry with the receivers will be an issue. He’s worked with them in practice and said they would do additional work if needed.

“Whatever it takes to get ourselves up to speed, but for the most part with those guys I feel comfortable,” he said. “At the end of the day there's no rust, there's no excuses, you got to go out and get it done.”

Injury report

Seven Jets didn’t practice Wednesday, including Darnold. The others were Quincy Enunwa (ankle), Robby Anderson (ankle), Spencer Long (finger/knee), Steve McLendon (ankle), Neal Sterling (concussion) and Terrence Brooks (illness). Bowles said “he’s pretty concerned” about the players who didn’t practice, but he hasn’t ruled anyone out.

New York Sports