FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Josh McCown took imaginary snaps along the sideline Thursday. He chatted with quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates and surveyed the action. On Tuesday, he amused himself by running gassers. At this point, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him doing some light yardwork to pass the time.
The Jets’ unorthodox quarterback competition got stranger on the final day of training camp, with coach Todd Bowles walking back slightly from his promise to name a starter by Monday. Now the timetable has been moved to early next week, which he clarified could be Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Yes, the Wednesday before the final preseason game.
McCown, who long has been considered the favorite over Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty, took exactly one scout-team rep Thursday, capping a week of relative inactivity. Hackenberg and Petty got more practice time than McCown leading up to the Jets’ third preseason game against the Giants tomorrow night — a game that is universally believed to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
Afterward, Bowles was as cagey as he has been all preseason. Asked if McCown will even play tomorrow night, Bowles said he would discuss the quarterbacks with his coaching staff later last night. Asked if the week’s practice reps were any reflection of who will start, he said, “No, none.”
“He’s got a lot of work in practice,” Bowles said of McCown. “He had a good drive the first game. I want to see how the other two guys play.”
Reminded that McCown got only one rep, Bowles replied: “I don’t count the reps.”
Contrary to accepted practice, the starter tomorrow night will not necessarily be the starter in Week 1 against the Bills, he said.
In two preseason games, McCown has played a single series — the Jets’ opening drive against the Titans in Game 1, which ended with a touchdown. Hackenberg looked lost in Game 2 against the Lions, and Petty again displayed the inconsistency that has made him an unattractive option from the outset of preseason.
McCown did say that Bowles has a plan, one that they discussed at the beginning of the week. The limited reps, he said, weren’t a surprise.“I trust that coach Bowles has a vision for this team for how he’s evaluating everything, and I support that,” he said. “When you’re a member of an organization, you trust that plan.”
The 38-year-old career backup said his particular experience lends itself to the Jets’ plan . . . whatever it is.
“I understand how to prepare with limited reps, so it’s great because we have two young guys getting a lot of work,” he said. “I know as a young player, I would love getting a lot of work.”
Added Bowles: “The more they play, the more they learn mentally. You’ve got to make some mistakes in order to get better. So it’s a process for those guys and they’re learning more every day and they’re getting a lot better. They’re getting better and better.
“It’s an open competition.”
So we’ve heard.