Josh McCown has been touted as the likely starter by many New York Jets beat writers ahead of the 2017 season, but it’s not set in stone just yet.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, McCown still has the best shot, but it’s “not a done deal” at this point, weeks away from the start of training camp. Cimini was answering a question by a fan who asked if a surprising start could disrupt the team’s plans at the quarterback position.
“You’re assuming Josh McCown will be the opening-day starter, and I happen to agree with you even though it’s not quite a done deal,” Cimini writes. “You present a fascinating scenario, John, because this could spark an internal struggle that I believe is likely at some point.”
The internal struggle would revolve around the Jets brass wanting to see what it has in Christian Hackenberg. Remember, to the shock and horror of many, the Jets actually traded up in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft to land the Penn State product.
So we’re entering Year 2 of this Hackenberg product. And it’s not like the Jets are realistically going to be competitive this year after dumping almost all their top veteran talent this offseason. So the idea of letting Hackenberg get his feet wet to see what the kid can do will absolutely be on the table this year for the Jets.
“Presumably, coach Todd Bowles, who needs to win games to keep his job, won’t bench McCown if the team is winning,” Cimini opines. “(I’m assuming your 3-3 scenario isn’t based on a 3-0 start, because that would change things.) Beyond job security, what kind of message would it send to the locker room if Bowles demotes a productive player?”
The Jets are certainly in a pickle. Bowles wants to win games. His job absolutely is on the line, despite the raw hand he’s been dealt. And at this point McCown has clearly been the best quarterback on the roster during the offseason, while Hackenberg has made headlines for his awful displays of inaccuracy.
So the only way to really interpret this situation with any amount of honesty is that if Hackenberg is the starter in Week 1, Bowles is likely already on his way out. Because Hackenberg isn’t the best quarterback on the roster. Meaning, if he’s starting, then it’s not a football decision but a front-office decision.
Things will likely get ugly this year for Gang Green.