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For Winning the Jets’ QB Job, Josh McCown Will Be Punished By Quarterbacking the Jets

Todd Bowles named a starter for the NFL’s least-desirable job opening Monday

Jets quarterback Josh McCown during a preseason game Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In the battle for New York East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Giants defeated the Jets on Saturday at their shared MetLife Stadium and ended the Jets’ miserable quarterback battle in the process when Bryce Petty injured his MCL and Christian Hackenberg left the game with a bruised ego. Jets head coach Todd Bowles has announced that career journeyman Josh McCown will be the starting quarterback for the Jets in Week 1. The Jets’ awful 2017 is perhaps best explained by Monday’s signing of a defensive lineman literally named Armagedon.

McCown has played for eight teams in 15 years and has been on the practice squads of several others. Changing employers that often might be acceptable for a millennial, but it is not an inspiring résumé for an NFL quarterback. McCown didn’t play during the debacle in Detroit nine days ago or against the Giants, but he seems to have won the job by default. (That seems to be a perpetual means of employment for both Josh and his brother, Luke.) Bowles, meanwhile, seems to have finally learned how to handle Jets quarterback competitions: Fans can’t call your starter terrible if nobody can watch him play.

Bowles had planned to announce his starter on Monday, but the answer presented itself on Saturday night. Gang Green (who this season should just be called gangrene) lost to the Giants 32-31 on Saturday, and though the final score was close, the G-Men absolutely embarrassed the Jets when the first-string units were on the field. The Giants forced Hackenberg into two pick-sixes, one of which was telegraphed to All-Pro safety Landon Collins, who snatched the ball before prancing into the end zone. This followed up the Lions feasting on Hackenberg before thoroughly confusing him in Detroit the week prior, when Hackenberg finished 2-of-6 for 14 yards, with both completions going to running back Bilal Powell. Hackenberg has played a full game over the past two weeks and managed to lead the Jets to only three points. He also gave up a safety, which, when combined with the two pick-sixes, means he’s netted minus-11 points in that stretch.

Adding injury to insult, Bryce Petty, who played himself into the competition after entering the season as an afterthought, led the Jets to four touchdowns in a five-drive span against the Giants, but injured his MCL in the process. He hopes to play in the preseason finale, but the Jets decided to move on and name a starter. Petty has been the third banana for the entire Jets quarterback competition. As of last week, he had received 227 practice reps to Hackenberg’s 365 and McCown’s 332, according to Rich Cimini’s unofficial tally, but Petty looked infinitely better in the past two preseason games. If Petty is healthy, he’ll easily win the backup job.

McCown won the job by doing nothing, a Daoist quarterback version of the Peter principle. It almost doesn’t matter who starts for the Jets, because between the offensive line and the receiving corps, this is the worst situation in football for a quarterback. No, really.

McCown is known around the league as a really nice guy, which is sad, because he’s going to get hit a lot. A four-win season with this roster would undoubtedly be a success. That would make most fan bases feel despondent, but at this point Jets fans can’t feel anything at all.