McCown was just what the Jets were looking for. The 15-year veteran has spent time with seven different teams and has had his fair share of opportunities in the NFL. Not only would McCown be a viable option for the short-term but could be a valuable tutor for the team’s young quarterbacks.
When McCown officially signed his one-year deal with Gang Green, analysts and fans alike created an ideal scenario for the Jets quarterback situation in 2017:
- McCown would be the team’s starting quarterback to begin the season
- McCown (and, unfortunately, the Jets offense) would struggle
- The Jets would elect to replace McCown with Bryce Petty/Christian Hackenberg
- McCown would help “coach” the young quarterbacks for the remainder of the season
So far, McCown’s play has altered that plan just a bit.
McCown won the starting job out of training camp but so far hasn’t given the Jets reasons to move onto the next steps of this scenario.
Through the first three weeks of the season, McCown has been surprisingly good for the Jets. The veteran signal-caller has served as a leader on the team and has helped the Jets offense develop and improve early on this season.
Oh yeah, and his stats through three weeks aren’t too shabby, either.
Josh McCown's season so far pic.twitter.com/xc518wlPJ4
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 24, 2017
Yes, it’s only three games but McCown’s early season play has been encouraging.
One of the most important keys is that McCown has limited the turnovers. After two interceptions in week one’s loss, McCown has gone two straight games without committing a turnover. His ability to protect the football has provided the Jets offense with more opportunities to score points.
With a 69.8 percent completion percentage, the veteran has made smart decisions and has been able to find the open receiver.
Early on, the Jets offense was focused on the short game. They featured a ton of short passes and didn’t take many chances down the field.
In week one, McCown averaged just 4.8 yards per completion. Since then, the veteran’s average yards-per-completion have drastically gone up.
On Sunday, McCown had a handful of chances to throw down the field and was pretty successful in those opportunities. According to Pro Football Focus, McCown was 6-10 for 162 yards and a score on passes he threw 10+ yards downfield.
The highlight of those downfield plays came just before the end of the second quarter, as McCown connected with Robby Anderson on an impressive 69-yard touchdown. The impressive throw-and-catch was a major highlight in the team’s first win of the season.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) September 24, 2017
Say what you want about McCown but the guy has done a very nice job for the Jets. However, as long as the Jets continue to use McCown at quarterback, questions about the team’s future will arise.
“What’s the point of playing a 38-year-old quarterback in a rebuilding year?”
“Shouldn’t Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg be getting regular playing time?”
“Why aren’t the Jets trying to ‘tank?'”
It’s time for everyone to face the facts: the New York Jets are trying to win football games.
Unfortunately for the fans who support the “embracing the tank” method, the Jets are not going to deliberately lose games for a draft selection. Supporters of the “tank” won’t like to hear this but the Jets have some winnable games on their schedule in the upcoming weeks. With the team playing competitive football, week three’s victory over the Miami Dolphins might not be the only win the Jets bring home this season.
For the time being, the organization will do whatever it takes to win on a weekly basis, regardless of how much it helps or hurts their draft positioning. When the time comes, the organization will focus on the draft. Until then, the focus is solely on winning football games.
McCown has proven so far that he is the team’s best option at quarterback. Unless he struggles or gets injured (knock on wood), don’t expect a change at the position in the near future.
Petty and Hackenberg will surely get their opportunities. Eventually, it is expected that one (or both) will get playing time during the regular season.
Until then, the Jets will continue to rely on McCown for his important veteran leadership. The organization is hopeful that he continues his solid play to help this team develop its young talent and compete at the same time.