The curious case of the Jets’ quarterback carousel went for another whirl Wednesday. For the second-straight practice, presumed opening-day starter Josh McCown saw only a handful of reps, while Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty received the majority of work.
Not including scout reps and leading a late two-minute drill walk-through, the 38-year-old quarterback unofficially received just nine reps in Wednesday’s practice. Hackenberg received the most work with the first-team offense, with Petty trailing right behind. Both signal callers had their fair share of nice throws, with neither throwing an interception. McCown threw the only pick of practice in his limited reps in 11-on-11 drills.
While having your presumptive starter receive the fewest reps out of your three quarterbacks may appear to be an odd decision, Jets coach Todd Bowles said onlookers shouldn’t read too much into it.
“I don’t. So you shouldn’t,” Bowles said after practice.
Jets coach explains why Josh McCown received only handful of reps
He later explained he doesn’t put much consideration into the amount of reps each quarterback receives, but rather focuses on the overall body of work.
“I’m not counting the reps. I’m just counting the games and putting together the production,” said Bowles, who previously said he’ll officially name his starting quarterback on Monday. “As I sit back and look back at mini camp and training camp and see where everybody is, I’m sure they’ll be pretty close.”
Although overall that may very well turn out to be the case, McCown has received considerably less work in practice this week, coming on the heels of not playing a single snap in the Jets’ 16-6 loss to the Lions on Saturday and attempting just four passes in the Jets’ preseason opener against the Titans. While most teams increase their starting quarterback’s workload heading into the third preseason game, Bowles appears to be doing the opposite.
When pressed for how he will evaluate his three quarterbacks and make a decision on Saturday’s starter against the Giants, Bowles refused to give much clarity – other than the fact he’ll need to “sit down and talk about it.”
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“We’ll sit down and talk about it and make our decision depending on what kind of game plan and what we’re trying to work with on offense,” Bowles said. “And I’ll determine it that way.”
Will all three quarterbacks play?
“We’ll sit down and talk about it. It’s still early.”
Is there a chance Hackenberg will start again?
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“We’ve got to sit down and talk about it. Still early.”
Would you consider sitting McCown for the entire duration of the game to avoid injury?
“We’ve got to sit down and talk about it. It’s still early.”
Based on Bowles’ comments and recent distribution of practice reps, Saturday’s playing time breakdown may not actually give much indication – if any – of who will be lining up behind center come opening day.
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