Jets’ quarterback Josh McCown has been in the NFL long enough to be fully aware of what he signed up for this season.
In the offseason, the options at quarterback for the Jets, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, basically served as an S.O.S. to the coaches they needed more at the position.
When the 38-year old McCown agreed to sign with the Jets, his experience and professionalism were at the top of the list for reasons why.
Yes, McCown has brought those qualities to the table. But more to the point, the Jets needed someone at the position they could trust.
McCown, in his 15th NFL season, also has filled that void quite nicely.
McCown’s credentials were on full display in the Jets’ in their week 3 home opener, on Sunday. He was an efficient 18 of 23 for 249 yards, with one touchdown pass and zero interceptions. The result was an impressive 20-6 victory over the Miami Dolphins, at MetLife Stadium.
McCown and the offense made sure they capitalized on a dominant effort from their teammates on defense. The Jets won the time of possession easily over the Dolphins, 36:08 to 23:52.
It wasn’t all crisp, however, as both teams couldn’t get out of their own way with too many flags – especially the Jets with 8 penalties for 94 yards.
But instead of allowing those mistakes to sidetrack their offensive attack, McCown kept his team on course with key pass completions at the right time to keep the chains moving. He kept the offense poised in the huddle and focused on the “next play mentality”.
One prime example of this was McCown connecting with Robby Anderson on a beautifully thrown 69-yard touchdown pass, on a play right after a holding penalty negated a big run.
“I had five guys madder than I’ll get at,” said a fired-up McCown after the game about his offensive line in the huddle. “They’re all mad. I’m like guys, c’mon, let’s come back, we’re going to get them the next play. That’s the mentality you have to have. It’s a next play mentality, next game mentality in this league.”
“So, we got right back in the huddle and then went right back at it and Robby (Anderson) and made a heck of a catch and score. I think that’s good for us as we build. Those are the little things when you’re a young team, young unit coming together. Those are kind of bricks in the process that you stack because it grows you. That was a good moment for us because we’re learning, hey you have to flush that last play good or bad and move on.”
It’s that mindset the Jets were looking for when they brought McCown in. They needed someone they could feel confident about getting a young and inexperienced offense from one play to the next.
“I thought he was very efficient,” head coach Todd Bowles said afterwards. “Josh has been playing well for the last three weeks. He controlled the offense. He sees things. He’s playing smart football.”
But it’s not just in the huddle or on the sidelines where McCown’s skill set have helped the Jets navigate through an 0-2 start to the season.
Everyone around the sports world is aware of how much of a role politics has played in recent weeks, specifically centering around athletes using their respective platforms to protest inequality and police brutality.
This is in the wake of controversial comments and tweets made by President Donald Trump, criticizing protests during the national anthem.
Shortly afterwards, NFL Teams were quick to respond with increased demonstrations of protest around the league. Players, coaches, and owners locked arms or kneeled during the national anthem.
Team owners were also quick to issue statements of support for their players.
So, there was McCown, after helping the Jets secure their first win of the season — at the podium answering questions on President Trump’s remarks, the team’s response, and if he’s ever seen anything like what’s currently going on across the league.
“No, not to this effect,” said McCown. “It’s a different feeling when you are reading about things that are kind of more outside of the football spectrum, but are in the football spectrum now.
“For us, as players, and as community leaders and those things, you can’t just turn a blind eye to it. It’s easy just to say, I’m going to get into this book and this is my job that’s it. But, at the same time, you have an opportunity to step up and come together and show people that you are together, and hopefully be able to create conversations that will bear fruit to push us towards unity. That’s the goal. I think that’s the saddest thing to me, in this whole situation, is people are scared to talk sometimes, and sit and exchange ideas. I’m thankful that hopefully those things will come about as we move forward.”
In McCown, the Jets have a leader in the huddle, with enough poise and awareness to keep a young team focused on what’s ahead.
And it just so happens, he’s also their starting quarterback.