Give credit to Todd Bowles, the New York Jets head coach isn’t giving away any secrets when it comes to the quarterback race. He has maintained a relatively even keel when it comes back to this year’s installment of the quarterback battle, maintaining that he will make a decision on the Week 1 starter when he wants to, when he feels it is right.
As well it should be. There is no reason to rush this decision.
Bowles won’t concede the starting quarterback race to Sam Darnold just yet, even though the first round pick impressed in Saturday night’s scrimmage held at High Point Solutions Stadium at Rutgers University. There are still two proven veteran quarterbacks on the roster and either Teddy Bridgewater or last year’s starter Josh McCown are fully capable of winning this competition.
And not just winning the camp battle but either veteran can perform well this year for the Jets.
“You got to play preseason games,” Bowles said on Monday. “I’m not into hypotheticals and nothing that hasn’t happened yet but we are going to let him play, then after the fourth preseason [game], sometime that week I’ll make my decision and go from there.”
It is common sense to not rush to judgment on Darnold in a practice scenario, especially since the former USC quarterback missed several days at the start of training camp due to a contractual holdout.
Darnold has the look of being the real deal. Physically he checks every box, he can make all the throws and has a good college resume as well as pedigree. But he is still a rookie and will need to not only absorb the playbook but simply adjust to the NFL game. The reports saying he has a chance to win the starting job are certainly true, but Bowles is wise to let him win the job and not anoint him the starter.
This, even as Darnold is the obvious future of the franchise under center.
And while it is good so far from Darnold throughout training camp, it is still a big jump from college to the NFL and the veterans also in the battle will have a jump on him in terms of experience as well as time in the classroom at the Jets facility. Both Bridgewater and McCown are fully capable of taking the field on Week 1 without missing a beat.
Bowles wouldn’t commit to who will play – or not play – in Saturday’s preseason opener. All he did say is that all three quarterbacks are healthy and should be available.
Bridgewater and Darnold split the majority of reps on Monday.
“Well they are going to play the games and I didn't see enough work this Saturday, so we needed more work today on certain situations that Josh McCown has been through,” Bowles said. “There are going to be days when Josh get more reps and there are going to be days when Teddy and Sam get more reps, today was that day.”