Currently in his 17th training camp, Jets QB Josh McCown has seen it all when it comes to quarterback battles. So, his answer to the question of why fellow quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater getting more first-team reps isn't anything out of the ordinary.
"I'll defer to the coaches on that," McCown said after practice Monday when asked about his low rep total early on in camp. "Obviously just like we did last year, we understand the situation. This is my 17th training camp, and I've done this for a while, and we have a lot invested in the other two guys, and as far as them learning the offense and getting comfortable with things. It's good for our team for those guys to get as much work as they can. We feel really solid with our quarterback situation, and the room in general."
McCown has a large enough sample size to estimate what he is going to give the Jets. Last season, it just so happened to be a career year for the journeyman. He notched a career-high in yards (2,926), touchdowns (18), and completion percentage (67.3) in just 13 games before an injury ended his season.
But Darnold and Bridgewater don't have that sample size. Darnold, the Jets' first-round draft pick and hopeful franchise quarterback, has yet to take an NFL snap. Bridgewater is trying to prove that he is still a quality quarterback after a devastating knee injury two seasons ago.
McCown fully understands why the Jets want to see what his competition can prove early on in camp. They need the reps.
"What's missing for those guys, and especially for Sam, is his reps, his experience. As much work as we can give him and Teddy, both getting used to the system, and him getting his feet back under him coming off his thing. I think it's good for them. Like I said, I understand it, and more importantly it's the best thing for our team to get better."
The Jets' first preseason game against the Falcons on Friday night will show just how NFL ready both Darnold and Bridgewater are, while McCown may only get a couple series if any at all.
As for Bridgewater, McCown has been impressed by how quickly he has grasped the offense, and more importantly, his execution of it doesn't show any rust.
"No, he's sharp," McCown said. "I think obviously he's had a long road recovery wise from his knee, but his mind has been in football. You can tell he's sharp and I've been really impressed with everything he's done. I think the future is really bright for Teddy. I'm excited for him."
The Jets' future, though, is revolving around Darnold at the moment. Darnold wasn't taken No. 3 overall to be a backup, and the mindset of some is that if he is ready during the preseason, he should be under center in Week 1.
That first step will be Friday night, and McCown has some advice for the rookie on taking his first NFL snaps.
"Overall for any rookie, just to enjoy the first moment you put the uniform on, you go out there under the lights, and en if it's preseason, it's really cool," McCown said. "That's kind of the first step in realizing the dreams all of us have had. That's the main thing. Just soak it up and enjoy it. As you play the game, no different than any other game, just one play at a time. Just go execute that play and I have high expectations that he'll go out and play well."
The spotlight may be on Darnold, and Bridgewater has been getting good press for his early development, but McCown is still viewed as the starting quarterback at the moment. And he knows that preseason games won't do much for him to be ready for the regular season.
"What'd I have last year, (three) series? So (three) serires I guess is the answer," McCown said on how much time he needs out on the preseason field.