At last, the Jets’ quarterback competition has entered Phase 2.
Gang Green kicked off their preseason slate Saturday with a 7-3 victory over the Titans at MetLife Stadium. Granted, these games don’t count, but with all the obsessing over the QBs’ practice performance each day, at least fans have some new film on how the passers are progressing.
Here’s a look at how the Jets’ three-way QB competition looks after the preseason opener.
Leading the way
Josh McCown may already have sewn up the Week 1 starting gig, and his lone series Saturday is proof. The 38-year-old veteran, who joined the Jets on a one-year deal in March, completed 3 of 4 passes for 72 yards and the lone touchdown of the game. The highlight of the drive came on a completion to Robby Anderson that went for 53 yards and set up a first-and-goal.
McCown is a well-traveled veteran, but he’s also started 60 NFL games and is considered the safe option in case the Jets’ other two young passers haven’t earned the starting nod by the regular-season opener.
McCown’s day was finished after the Jets’ opening drive. From there, second-year pro Christian Hackenberg saw the lion’s share of the snaps.
Hackenberg, a second-round pick in 2016, went 18-for-25 passing for 127 yards and no turnovers. Although he wasn’t asked to look downfield often — just three completions went for more than 10 yards, none longer than 14 — the performance can be seen as encouraging at this stage.
One shouldn’t expect Hackenberg to earn the starting nod unless he displays a knack for handling tougher throws too, so this Saturday’s preseason game against the Lions in Detroit could provide the 22-year-old with a new challenge.
Continuing a narrative that has developed since the start of training camp, Bryce Petty looks to be the clear No. 3 in the race.
The third-year pro entered Saturday’s game near the midway point of the fourth quarter and failed to impress. He completed only 2 of 6 passes with a long of 10, plus a 10-yard scramble.
At 26, Petty offers far less upside and hasn’t produced in limited opportunities since the Jets made him a fourth-round pick in 2015. Unless he shows more in practice and game action this month, the Jets might consider cutting him.