Bowles mum on Jets starter, but all signs point to a returning Darnold
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets’ starting quarterback against the Buffalo Bills is … still to be determined.
All signs indicate it will be rookie Sam Darnold under center after he was a full participant at practice all week following missing three games with a strained right foot. Coach Todd Bowles declined, however, to announce Friday whether it will be Darnold or Josh McCown.
“We’ll decide that on Sunday,” Bowles said. “Between him and Josh, they both had good weeks.”
If Darnold plays, it would be his first game action since being injured against Miami on Nov. 4. Darnold was replaced the last three games by McCown, who had one touchdown pass and four interceptions while the Jets went 0-3.
McCown fully participated in practice Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday by a sore back.
The 21-year-old Darnold is healthy, but Bowles’ decision will be about whether the rookie has his timing back after a three-game layoff.
“Just us deciding whether he’s ready or not,” Bowles said.
The coach added that Darnold being a full participant all week and McCown being limited most of the week wouldn’t play a factor in the final decision.
Bowles shed little light on what would go into the team’s decision-making process. When asked what he saw from Darnold this week that he liked, he said simply: “Just that he was healthy.”
Despite the cloak-anddagger gamesmanship, Darnold is fully expected to take the field against Buffalo to face fellow rookie Josh Allen.
Darnold acknowledged that the final four games are important for him and the rest of the team, which is in the midst of a six-game skid, to finish on a positive note. Bowles said there are things Darnold can improve on as his first NFL season draws to a close.
“Well, everything,” Bowles said.
Darnold has thrown for 1,934 yards, second to Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, among rookies. He has 11 touchdown passes along with the 14 INTs, but his 55.0 completion percentage and 68.3 quarterback rating rank near the bottom of the league.