Bye Week Blues: Jets Sticking with McCown the Right Move?

Bye Week Blues: Jets Sticking with McCown the Right Move?
Oct 29, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) runs off the field against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into their bye after a soul-crushing defeat to Tampa Bay in Week 10, the Jets still have a lot of questions surrounding them. Now at 4-6, the playoffs seem like a stretch, and almost everyone’s job is on the line – sort of.

While Todd Bowles’ future with the organization is still uncertain, you’d have to think that the players are hoping to retain him. How do they make that a sure thing? Keep winning games.

Bowles and the rest of the coaching staff know that is the only solution as well. The seat has only warmed up a bit after the demoralizing loss against the team’s former quarterback.

In that same regard, the Jets still plan to avoid the tank, even as they will likely continue to further themselves from acquiring a franchise-caliber quarterback near the top of the draft.

To make sure these pieces fall into place, the coaching staff has decided to stick it out with veteran quarterback Josh McCown after their bye week. Bowles doesn’t seem to think it is quite time for Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg to see play time.

“We’re going to play the games and we’re going to try to win each one and take them one at a time,” Bowles said. “Josh will be our quarterback, and then we’ll go from there.”

The comments come after much speculation surrounding the immediate future of the team. With the playoffs not necessarily in the foreseeable future, why not plug in the young-guns?

While it could pan out to be a beneficial move for the Jets, the coaching staff, as mentioned, is now too focused on job retention. McCown gives the team the best chance to win night-in and night-out.

Now while the Jets acting owner Christopher Johnson clarified that he will not judge Todd Bowles by the team’s wins and losses, Bowles and the team understand the weight that is carried in that aspect.

But is it the right move? Debatable.

On one hand, yes, the Jets are remaining competitive and working to maintain a winning culture, but on the other, they are restricting development and furthering themselves from a potential difference maker in the draft. The debate has a voice on either end.

It is also notable that the decision to remain with McCown as the starter likely says something about the coaching staff’s thoughts on their young backups. While Petty has seen time on the field in the past, Hackenberg has yet to. The team likely understands that he is not prepared.

And that can be demoralizing to a team. You don’t hire someone to a full time position if they are not prepared to take on the challenges that come with it. If it shows, it makes the whole unit look bad.

The Jets don’t need that right now. While it could be helpful to see Hackenberg attempt to develop his play, it would likely limit the development of everyone and anyone else. McCown’s above average play has allowed players who have been in the shadows to step into the spotlight. It has opened the doors for the development of a variety of Jets on both offense and defense.

McCown has supported the coaching staff in putting the pressure on players like Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Elijah McGuire, and so on. He has forced them to become products of their own potential.

In return, the defense has mimicked the upstart. Players such as Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Jordan Jenkins, Darron Lee, and plenty of others have been seen stepping up their game as the goal has been to win games and maintain a competitive mindset. It has all become fluid for the Jets through McCown’s presence.

So in reality, the Jets are playing it smart. Sticking with McCown gives light to retaining a growing coaching staff, and a winning culture.

– Kyle Hirshkind is the Managing Editor for cover32/Jets and covers the New York Jets. He is also a weekly contributor to cover32/Fantasy. Like and follow on

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