The Jets may be the only team with a backup quarterback controversy. But coach Todd Bowles isn’t waffling on his starter for Sunday’s game at Oakland.
Josh McCown will start and either Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty will be his backup. Hackenberg was the No. 2 in Sunday’s 21-12 loss at Buffalo, but Bowles said, “It could change. It’ll probably change all the time.”
Of McCown, who was 26-for-39 for 187 yards with two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 56.2, Bowles said: “I thought he did a good job.”
The Jets as a whole did not, and their offense was not particularly dynamic. They’ll need to be better to keep up with the powerful Raiders.
“Just going back to basics,” Bowles said. “Hard work in practice. Making sure everybody’s accountable, doing the job they’re supposed to do.”
It should help that receivers Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Kerley and tight end Will Tye will have another week of practice under their green belts after joining the Jets late in training camp. Kearse had seven catches, Tye had three and Kerley was inactive against Buffalo.
“I think we’ll get better as they learn the offense more,” McCown said. “Shoot, those guys got here five days ago and they had some explosive plays in our game . . . Look at the drive that we moved the ball down there and scored. We know we can be that kind of offense. It’s just putting that together and we’ve got to all play consistent starting with myself. That’s the thing I’m driving for myself. If you look at the level of play that’s required, especially from the quarterback when you’re in a new unit, you’ve got to play at a high level. So I demand that out of myself and so there was a few things that I’d like to do better to give us a better chance to be more productive.”
One of those areas for the team is the running game, which was ineffective vs. Buffalo. The Bills stacked the box and dared the Jets to throw. Buffalo won that dare.
“We’ve got to loosen them up in the pass game some as well,” Bowles said. “But we’ve got to find different ways to run the football and loosen them up and not have as many guys down there.
Some downfield shots would help. But rookie offensive coordinator John Morton didn’t get to break out any for various reasons.
“We had some called,” Bowles said. “Obviously, we couldn’t get to them, either by coverage or by protection. We had some shots called, but we’d like to do that more. In the future, we will.”
Said McCown: “They were really staying on top of us and giving us the underneath stuff and I feel like we were taking good advantage of that. As we continue to grow as a unit, I think we would like to find other ways to push the ball down the field and I think we’ll get to that . . . We definitely want to create bigger plays for ourselves and there’s some that I think we left out there. Maybe the ball didn’t get thrown or there’s a miscommunication here and there. There’s some things from my end that I know I can do better that will help us create some explosive plays. It’s demanding a lot out of myself, but I believe we can get that done.”