FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Todd Bowles has a plan for his quarterbacks. But what it is remains unclear.
The Jets coach said Saturday that there is no timetable for making a decision on his Week 1 starter. Instead, he repeatedly said the competition between Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty “will sort itself out.”
“No, I can’t detail it,” Bowles said when asked how he expects to divvy up reps between all three signal-callers. “It’ll work itself out. The reps will be different every day or every week. But we have a plan when the preseason games start.”
McCown, 38, took the first-team reps on Saturday, followed by Hackenberg and then Petty, save for one quarterback-wide receiver drill when Petty went second. But Bowles cautioned against reading too much into the order on any given day.
“We don’t have a starter, regardless of who goes first, who goes second and who goes third,” he said. “They’ll all get a chance to play. We’ve got a lot of evaluating to do. Once the preseason starts and we play some games, we’ll go from there.”
So, how exactly will the coaching staff split up reps between three guys?
“I really don’t know,” said Petty, now in his third year. “I’m just focused on what I need to do, and when I’m in there, execute that rep.
“In my past, I’ve worried about that stuff and it’s done nothing but hurt me,” added the 26-year-old, who is 1-3 as a starter. “So I’m trying to take a new approach to that.”
Many assume McCown will eventually earn the starting job, while Hackenberg is viewed as the heir apparent. But when asked if he feels he has as good a chance to win the job, Petty said: “Yeah. Without a doubt.”
Hackenberg, 22, still has a ways to go, but he was the only quarterback who didn’t turn the ball over on Saturday. Cornerback Marcus Williams picked off a tipped Petty pass and former Cowboy Morris Claiborne intercepted a poorly-thrown pass by McCown.
“I definitely feel more comfortable, I think that’s just a natural progression,” Hackenberg said. “I try not to compare years to years, I think it’s just part of growing up, man, and being in a situation where you just continue to go.
“My focus is just coming in and trying to get better, be as comfortable as I can, talk to people and talk to my coaches, just taking it one day at a time. So if it comes off that way, I guess that’s a good thing.”
The true test begins when the Jets have their first padded practice on Monday. For now, Bowles reaffirmed his confidence in his quarterback position, saying: “Mine is good. They’ve been working hard. They’ve all been working and studying. Just have to see them play.”
But it remains to be seen how the workload will be shared between now and their first preseason game against the Titans on Aug. 12. “I don’t think you get equal anything during training camp,” Bowles said. “They may have unequal during the days but when you add it up at the end, I’m sure they’ll be close.”
“No, it’s not possible (to expect all three quarterbacks to have the same amount of reps),” he added, “but you’ve got to make plays at the position, just like any position. So once we see everybody play it’ll work itself out.”
When that decision will be made is anyone’s guess.
Said Bowles: “As soon as it sorts itself out, I’ll give you a decision.”
Until season opener, Sept. 10
Jets at Bills, Noon