FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Josh McCown may be out for the season and unsigned for 2018, but he's not done helping the Jets young players just yet.
The 38-year-old quarterback was back on the practice field on Thursday, just two days after undergoing surgery on his broken left hand, and he will travel with the Jets to New Orleans this weekend for their game against the Saints on Sunday afternoon. There, according to Jets coach Todd Bowles, McCown will serve as a "player-coach" as quarterback Bryce Petty makes his first start of the year.
"It's not surprising," said veteran running back Matt Forte. "He's been in the league 15 years so his knowledge of the game is at the highest right now. There's nothing that's going to surprise Josh that a defense is going to do. So he can really help Bryce out by being around the team and at practice and just small nuances of the game that he knows from being a long-time quarterback in this league."
Bowles said McCown requested the "player-coach" assignment, "but we were going to ask him anyway if he was up to it." Of course he'd surely rather be playing, but the injury he suffered in the Jets' 23-0 loss in Denver last Sunday landed him on injured reserve.
That was a crushing blow for the journeyman, who was having one of his finest seasons, setting new career highs in completion percentage (67.3), passing yards (2,926) and touchdown passes (18), while throwing only nine interceptions in his career-high-tying 13 starts. And it was a crushing blow for the Jets, too, since McCown had been heavily praised by coaches and teammates for his positive attitude and influence on younger teammates who have exceeded expectations while playing with him.
That's why so many think McCown would be a natural to be a coach when his playing days are over, and why Bowles was glad to give him this trial run.
"Yeah, I could see that in him," Bowles said. "If that's what he wants to do I could see him being an excellent coach when he's done playing. He has a feel for people. The way he sees the game, the way he relates to people is very important. And he can put all that together."