The New York Jets have shocked us this season by winning more than two games and actually flirting with the playoffs up until this past weekend against the Panthers. The Jets were supposed to be fighting with the Browns and 49ers for the top pick in the draft, surprisingly though, if a few questionable calls went their way we could be talking about the 7-4 Jets instead of the 4-7 Jets.
As nice as it would be for the Jets to be in a playoff spot rather than on the outs that simply cannot change at this point. The main reason that they are even in a situation that we complain that they should be in the playoff hunt and not on the outs is the surprising play from Quarterback Josh McCown.
McCown was brought to New York in the offseason to bring a veteran presence to this young team and be the guy that took all the blame when they inevitably failed. To everyone’s surprise, McCown easily has had the best season in his career, posting career highs in completion percentage, touchdown passes, passing yards, and Quarterback rating.
While his numbers are all impressive especially considering he has never been a starter for an entire season and he is 38, he just simply isn’t the answer moving forward. This Jets roster is extremely young with an average age of 25.62 and a lot of potential to improve. If this team is going to grow they cannot let McCown finish the season as the starting Quarterback.
Don’t get me wrong if Josh McCown was 10 years younger there would be a solid argument that you could move forward with him, unfortunately, he is 38 and his final game as a Jet should be the one he just played against the Panthers.
Yesterday afternoon The New York Giants decided to bench their franchise Quarterback, Eli Manning to evaluate their backups and see what talent they have at the position for the post-Eli era. This move created a large uproar from football fans around the league simply because of who Eli Manning is. The move itself is smart and is one that the Jets should copy ASAP.
The Jets have two young Quarterbacks on their roster that have little to no NFL experience but deserve a chance to show their worth. Beyond this season the Jets Quarterback situation is up in the air and who knows, Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty could be an answer moving forward.
Bryce Petty is 26 and has the only regular-season NFL experience between him and Christian Hackenberg. Petty played in six games last season, starting four of them and his numbers were not very impressive. He had a 56 completion percentage, three touchdown passes, seven interceptions, and a 60 Quarterback rating. Those are not numbers that make anyone believe he is the answer, but he has had a year to grow and deserves a shot to prove himself.
Christian Hackenberg is 22 and was a second-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He has never taken a regular season snap in the NFL, but he was a three-year starter at Penn State before entering the draft after his junior season. Hackenberg is the guy that most people want to see play considering he is a former second-round draft pick and is only 22.
The season is basically over for the Jets and although they did well enough to compete for a playoff spot up to this point, however, they can still fall back into a tanking state, lose out and get a top six pick in the draft. The best way to do this is to allow Petty and Hackenberg to each have one half of football each for the next five games; this would inevitably lead to five losses and the coaching staff would have an opportunity to evaluate their young Quarterbacks.
There is no true way to tell how good either guy can be if they don’t get a shot to play in real games that matter because although pre-season games and practices are nice to see their ability, in a slower moving environment, the only way to know for sure is to let them play. Both Hackenberg and Petty have been learning from the sidelines long enough, let them show their stuff for the rest of the season.
The best case scenario is for one guy to show he can be a legitimate starter moving forward while the team loses out allowing the organization to obtain a higher draft pick to make the team better overall. The likelihood of that scenario is slim, but it could happen. The second best thing would be for both players to struggle, lose out and the Jets know that the Quarterback situation still needs to be addressed.
There are so many things that could happen if the Jets let their young guys play, but one thing is for certain, they have to let them play! Allowing the 38-year-old Quarterback with no future in the organization play another snap would not only be unfair to Hackenberg and Petty, but to the fan-base, and the organization as a whole.
The goal for the rest of the season should be to evaluate the talent on the roster and lose as many games as possible, there is no question about that.