The New York Jets Should Not Start Josh McCown in Week One

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Via Last Word On Pro Football, by Michael Pallas

On May 21, the Ringling Brothers traveling circus closed shop and had their last show at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Apparently, the circus hasn’t left the New York Metropolitan area. Todd Bowles all but gave the starting nod for Week One to Josh McCown.

In Rich Cimini’s most recent article for ESPN, Todd Bowles compared McCown to a kindergarten teacher.

“Even when you go to kindergarten,” he said, “somebody has to be the teacher.”

The problem with that statement is that even in kindergarten we learn to play together by doing it. The teacher doesn’t do it for us, then we learn from what the teacher did.

The New York Jets Should Not Start Josh McCown in Week One

Learn From the Mistakes of 2016

Starting Christian Hackenberg would probably be a mistake, but starting McCown would be an even more colossal blunder. Last season, the Jets fought tooth-and-nail to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick, and in the 11th hour, they caved in and gave him $12M. He was horrible, and they benched him too late, Geno Smith ended up injured, and they threw Bryce Petty to the wolves, which made him look worse than he probably is.

Petty started four games (played in six), and he threw 133 passes. That’s hardly enough of a sample size to determine if he can handle the NFL.

McCown on the other hand is 18-42 record as a starter. He also has completed only 59.1 percent of his passes with a touchdown to interception ratio of almost 1-1.

Expensive Backup Worth the Price?

Let’s see what the young guys can do. Let them learn from McCown in training camp, and make McCown the third-string quarterback. According to Spotrac, McCown’s contract counts as $6.5 million against the Jets cap. Also, he has an incentive for playing in 50 percent of the snaps, making the playoffs, making it to the Super Bowl, and even winning the Super Bowl. However, nothing in his past suggests any postseason incentives are possible. The $6.5M price tag makes him an expensive teacher, but given that both Petty and Hackenberg lack experience in the West Coast Offense, it’s worth it.

Training Camp Quarterback Competition

Having Josh McCown mentor the young bucks through training camp as they battle for the number one spot would be good for them. The quarterback competition that we were promised should be between the two young quarterbacks with the old man being like Mr. Miyagi. McCown can push the young guys in camp, and he can even start preseason games and get first team-reps during camp.

According to many accounts, their performances in OTAs makes the depth chart as follows:

  1. Josh McCown
  2. Christian Hackenberg
  3. Bryce Petty

That said, performances and stats in OTAs are essentially meaningless. There’s so much roster turnover in the NFL that it’s a new team every season. Also, it could be just a sign of Petty and Hackenberg not quite grasping an offense they are unfamiliar with.

Ultimately, playing games that count against live competition has value, both for the players and the team. If the team wants to find out where they actually stand, it would be wrong to stunt the growth of the young players to start the veteran. For that reason, Bowles needs to reconsider his plan to hand the starting job to Josh McCown.