QB Josh McCown told reporters on Wednesday that he was excited to be a member of the New York Jets. Jet fans should be excited he’s here, too. The 37 year-old journeyman is the closest thing the Jets have to a professional QB in their building right now.
McCown has been predominantly a backup in his 15 years in the NFL, which began in Arizona in 2002 as a third round draft pick out of Sam Houston State. Since then, he’s appeared in 82 games, starting 60, first with the Cardinals and then with Detroit, Oakland, Carolina, San Francisco, Chicago, Tampa and Cleveland. It was in Chicago where he met new Jets QB coach Jeremy Bates, who he is reconnecting with in Florham Park this spring.
“Obviously we had a previous history in Chicago, having worked together,” McCown said of Bates. “So he talked me through what they were looking for and … what he felt they were going to do offensively. As we talked through it and examined it, it made sense to come take a visit. We got to meet Coach (Todd) Bowles and some of the staff and see the facility. It checked a lot of boxes and made sense for the situation we were looking for. So that’s what really led me to become a Jet and I’m excited about being here.”
McCown appears to be in good shape. At 6’4″, 212 he is chiseled. He is battle-tested and yet fresh at the same time. He knows the Jets’ offense is in flux with a lot of young and unproven players and it will be up to him to try to hold down the fort until one of the young QBs (Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg) is ready to take the reins. McCown clearly came here to play but said he welcomes the competition.
“It’s a full competition between the three of us,” he said. “All three of us will approach it as trying to be ‘the guy,’ and I think that’s good for our team, healthy for our team, to compete as hard as we can. So that’ll be our mindset and Coach will determine at the end of the day who the starter is and we’ll support one another accordingly after the decision is made.”
But he is under no illusions. This is a short term gig for him – one year at $6 million, with hopes of a possible extension. He plans on winning the job outright and then eventually step aside for one of the youngster. The Jets are hoping it unfolds that way, too.
“I look forward to every day coming in here and working w Bryce and Hack and trying to give away the things I’ve learned in my career and hopefully make their journeys better as they go throughout their careers, “said McCown. “Then as we compete, if they’re at their best and they’re pushing me to be at my best, it hopefully makes our room better.”
McCown likes what he sees in the Jets’ receivers, which is mainly a young group led by veteran Eric Decker.
“What I love about the group is just the energy,” he said. “Although Deck is a veteran guy who’s got a great attitude, and Quincy [Enunwa] the same thing, they’re coming in, working hard, and it’s fun because if you need some extra work, it’s ‘Hey, let’s work this route, that route.’ That energy is good as you try to build something, especially with young quarterbacks. These young receivers that are hungry will work for you. It’s been fun these first 2½ weeks.”
Hopefully, he’ll get to tap into that energy and hunger as the Jets attempt to turn their fortunes around.