"He gives us the best chance to win right now," Bowles said about McCown. "He has the best grasp of the offense right now. The other two have gotten significantly better, but he has the best grasp right now."
This was the inevitable conclusion to a confusing QB competition that has lasted nearly five months. Although McCown hasn't taken a preseason snap since the first series of Gang Green's first game against the Tennessee Titans, and the Jets significantly tapered off McCown's practice reps over the last two weeks as they prepared Hackenberg to start, the veteran earned the job by default.
In three preseason starts, Hackenberg failed to steal the starting gig from McCown, a 38-year-old journeyman. Hackenberg turned 22 preseason possessions into just nine points and threw two first-half pick-sixes in the Jets' loss to the Giants on Saturday. Though New York simplified the playbook for the sophomore gunslinger, Hackenberg did not adjust accordingly when asked to do more against opposing first-team defenses.
And then there was McCown, and only McCown. This will be the seventh different team for which the elder statesman has started a game in his 15-year career. Brought in from Cleveland in the offseason to be a cheap, competitive mentor to Hackenberg and Petty, McCown has assumed the Jets' starting role by standing back and letting the young guns hand it to him.