Jets stick­ing with McCown as start­ing QB

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Den­nis Waszak Jr.

NEW YORK » Josh McCown is still the man un­der cen­ter for Todd Bowles and the New York Jets.

A day af­ter his team dropped to 4-6 head­ing into its bye-week break, Bowles in­sisted he’s not con­sid­er­ing mak­ing a quar­ter­back change from the 38-year-old vet­eran to ei­ther Chris­tian Hack­en­berg or Bryce Petty.

“I’m not com­ing up with a sce­nario right now,” Bowles said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call. “We’re go­ing to play the games, and we’re go­ing to try to win each one and take them one at a time. Josh will be our quar­ter­back, and then we’ll go from there.”

The Jets’ play­off as­pi­ra­tions took a se­ri­ous hit Sun­day when New York fell 15-10 to short­handed Tampa Bay , which played with­out quar­ter­back Jameis Win­ston and wide re­ceiver Mike Evans.

The loss prompted some fans and me­dia to spec­u­late as to when New York might give Hack-

or Petty a look as the Jets play out the sea­son.

“If some­thing hap­pens to Josh, and those two get ready to play, they’ll play,” Bowles said.

That “some­thing” would be an in­jury, and that’s not a far-fetched sce­nario — par­tic­u­larly af­ter all the pres­sure Tampa Bay put on McCown. He was sacked six times and the Buc­ca­neers fin­ished with 14 quar­ter­back hits, send­ing McCown to the ground of­ten.

McCown said it was “fair” to ask him about whether he felt sore a day later.

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “You just take the hits, so to speak, and move on. Thank­fully, noth­ing ma­jor, and now we just take this time to heal up and uti­lize the bye and come back at it.”

Bowles said the Jets’ goal re­mains try­ing to win each game, and clearly be­lieves McCown gives them the best chance to do so — de­spite New York drop­ping four of its past five.

Some frus­trated fans took to so­cial me­dia and New York-area sports ra­dio to call for McCown to take a seat and for the Jets to see whether Hack­en­berg, a sec­ond-rounder last year, or Petty, a fourthrounder in 2015, can estab­lish them­selves as the an­swer at quar­ter­back for the

fu­ture.

“My ap­proach is that I give my all to the role that I’m in,” McCown said of the buzz. “If that changes, then I’ll ad­just ac­cord­ingly, but I don’t re­ally pay at­ten­tion to what out­side opin­ions are or any of that stuff.”

McCown, in his first sea­son in New York, had been mostly solid in his past few games en­ter­ing Sun­day, but has also had some in­ter­cep­tions that have helped lead to some losses.

Against the Buc­ca­neers, McCown fin­ished 23 of 39 for 262 yards with a touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion while be­ing ha­rassed all day by the de­fense. That TD toss, though, was his ca­reer-high 14th of the sea­son, mak­ing him the old­est quar­ter­back to set a ca­reer best, ac­cord­ing to the NFL.

His pre­vi­ous high was 13 with Chicago in 2013, when he started five games for an in­jured Jay Cut­ler.

“Re­ally, that num­ber needs to be a lot higher, to be hon­est with you, in my opin­ion,” McCown said. “I just look back at the few touch­downs that we’ve had taken away and other things that I feel like I could’ve done bet­ter to have more.”

McCown, in his 15th NFL sea­son, is also clos­ing in on an­other per­sonal mile­stone. His 2,242 yards pass­ing are just 269 fewer than his ca­reer high of 2,511 set with Ari­zona in 2004.

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