Perhaps it’s not the Jets‘ biggest issue, at least right at this moment, but it’s still high on the list and will definitely be a priority this offseason: The team is in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. Josh McCown, 38 years young and now on his eighth NFL team, hasn’t even been replacement-level through the first half of the season; he does has 12 touchdowns against seven interceptions and a passer rating of 95.3, but he also ranks 25th among all quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders, just ahead of Jacoby Brissett, Brian Hoyer and Trevor Siemian.
McCown played a starring role in the Jets’ loss to the Dolphins two weeks ago, throwing an interception deep in New York territory with less than a minute to go that set up Miami’s game-winning field goal.
These things happen, of course, and McCown probably has more to do with the team’s three wins than their five losses, but the reality is that he’s a bridge to whomever the Jets find to be their next franchise quarterback. Christian Hackenberg, the embattled 2016 second-round pick, couldn’t win the job in training camp, forcing coach Todd Bowles to try to make the best of a bad situation.
“I would say that he’s learning the offense and he didn’t have enough playing time yet,” Bowles said at the time of Hackenberg. “We got him some significant playing time. It has nothing to do with his development. He’s 22 years old, he has time to grow and he’ll grow from it.”
But it’s not like Hackenberg had to beat out Tom Brady or Drew Brees. This is McCown we’re talking about — the same guy with the lowest winning percentage for a starting quarterback over the last three seasons.
Halfway through the season and McCown remains entrenched as the starter.
Whether Bowles will be around to see the next candidate to take a spin as the Jets’ starting quarterback remains up for debate but it’s not like the previous regime didn’t make an effort. Rex Ryan, who had the ignominious distinction of being fired by both the Jets and Bills, admitted recently that he desperately wanted Tyrod Taylor in New York when he was the coach there.
ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini explains:
“I wanted Tyrod Taylor when I was with the Jets,” Ryan said in a recent phone interview. At the time, Taylor was a seldom-used backup for the Baltimore Ravens. Ryan said Cam Cameron, the Ravens’ offensive coordinator and a close friend, was “the guy that turned me onto him.” The way Ryan tells it, he approached the front office about trading for Taylor, but it apparently gained little to no traction.
Instead of making a move for Taylor, the Jets drafted Geno Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After Mark Sanchez suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason, Smith was forced into the starting job as a rookie. The team won two more games than they had the year before and finished 8-8, but Smith was one of the league’s worst quarterbacks. He completed just 55.9 percent of his throws and had 12 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and four lost fumbles. According to Football Outsiders’ metrics, Smith ranked 45th in total value among all eligible quarterbacks, ahead of only Terrelle Pryor and Brandon Weeden.
Ryan believed that then-general manager John Idzik did not do enough to surround Smith with talented players.
“I don’t think we helped Geno by any stretch of the imagination,” Ryan said. “We never added anything that could help him. And he didn’t help himself, either. It was that combination.”
Meanwhile, Ryan called McCown “good” for the current team though conceded that “He knows he’s not the long-range answer.”
But what about Hackenberg?
“None of those guys are,” Ryan continued, “certainly not [Christian] Hackenberg.”
Two months into the season and the Jets remain competitive, which is something no one would’ve expected as recently as early September. In fact, we joked that if the Jets won six games in 2017 Bowles should win Coach of the Year honors. But after having the easiest schedule over the first eight games, the Jets now have the third-toughest.
You know what would really help them down the stretch? A legit franchise quarterback. But that will have to wait until next year (again).
Our prediction: Bills 24 Jet 13
How to watch, stream
It’s Color Rush Thursday (again), y’all!
Every Thursday is Color Rush Thursday in the NFL. You’re welcome.
From all green to all white:
Just like last season, Color Rush will be a Thursday Night Football staple. In the meantime, here is every team’s Color Rush uniform from 2016.
AFC Color Rush
NFC Color Rush
Thursday night schedule
- Week 9: Bills at Jets, Nov. 2 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NFL Network
- Week 10: Seahawks at Cardinals, Nov. 9 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
- Week 11: Titans at Steelers, Nov. 16 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
- Week 12: Giants at Redskins, Nov. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC
- Week 13: Redskins at Cowboys, Nov. 30 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
- Week 14: Saints at Falcons, Dec. 7 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
- Week 15: Broncos at Colts, Dec. 14 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
‘TNF’ comes to Amazon
After Twitter hosted several “Thursday Night Football” games during the 2016 for live streaming, it lost a bid for the NFL’s 2017 streaming package to Amazon, which will stream 10 Thursday night games during the season for Amazon Prime members. You can read more about Amazon’s deal here.
Here are the games available for streaming from Amazon:
- Week 10: Seahawks at Cardinals, Nov. 9 at 8:25 p.m. ET
- Week 11: Titans at Steelers, Nov. 16 at 8:25 p.m. ET
- Week 13: Redskins at Cowboys, Nov. 30 at 8:25 p.m. ET
- Week 14: Saints at Falcons, Dec. 7 at 8:25 p.m. ET
- Week 15: Broncos at Colts, Dec. 14 at 8:25 p.m. ET
- Week 16: Steelers at Texans, Dec. 25 at 4:30 p.m. ET