New York Jets: Preseason Week 1 will enlighten quarterback competition

Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images
Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images /

The New York Jets will say a lot about their quarterback competition when they face the Tennessee Titans.

The New York Jets open their preseason schedule on Saturday, Aug. 12 against the Tennessee Titans. The rebuilding Jets take the field for the first time, and fans get the chance to see how these young players are starting to come together as a team. It’s slated to be a tough year in the win department, but these young men are looking to make their mark. They won’t quit and some will be putting their first footage on tape as NFL players. It will be an exciting night.

It will also be the first night that the quarterbacks take center stage. Okay, rather the first night of 2017 that they take center stage. The Jets quarterback situation has been in the forefront for decades. They need one, haven’t had one and likely won’t win until they get one. We know the players in this year’s competition: Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. It’s the veteran against the two youngsters. Who is going to win?

The bigger question is whether or not the competition is legitimate. We will see a big window into the answer in this game. The Jets have given a lot of lip service to the fact that it is an “open competition”. Is that really the case? It’s questionable to say the least.

Per Rich Cimini of ESPN, McCown has almost exclusively been with the starters, Hackenberg with the second string, and Petty with the third string. Other than a few reps here and there, there has been no split in that set up. At Monday’s practice, Hackenberg did receive six reps with the starters (via Rich Cimini of ESPN), but that is not exactly a big change to the strategy. McCown is receiving the reps as if he has already been named the starter.

How can the other two compete if they haven’t had the chance to practice with the starters? It doesn’t seem fair.

Saturday night will tell us once and for all if the quarterback competition really is that — a competition. Expect McCown to get the start. That’s fine as he is the veteran. It would be surprising if he didn’t start. But the staff has more than enough film on Josh McCown. They know what he can do. Even in Week 1 of the preseason, they should turn the game over to the kids quickly. Let Hackenberg and Petty split the balance of the game to really give them a chance.

If McCown continues to take all of the first team reps in games and in practice, coach Bowles might as well just name him the quarterback. If they don’t actually make it an open competition, stop pretending that it is one. Either let Hackenberg get his shot or let us know that there is no competition. We will learn a lot on Saturday night against the Titans.