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Bowles Handling of Jets QB’s; Brilliant or Baffling?

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Just when Jets fans thought the handling of the team’s quarterback situation couldn’t possibly be worthy of any further scrutiny, it appears head coach Todd Bowles’ sudden change of direction in handling his three signal callers has divided fans on the issue once again.

After veteran Josh McCown received the lions-share of reps through the first dozen or so practices in Florham Park, a drastic turn of events has taken place, and now fans and media types are scratching their heads.

The major change started when Bowles announced before the start of last weeks tilt with the Lions that Christian Hackenberg would play the first half, with Bryce Petty playing the second half.  This, after a week in which Bowles said that McCown would see extended reps after playing just one series a week earlier against the Titans.

In the practices that have followed, McCown has been a spectator, throwing just one pass in a couple of days ago, and even that was as a member of the scout team.  So what could Bowles possibly doing, and what impact could it have on the Jets and his future with the team?  Let’s take a look at a few possibilities.

McCown has been ordained:  

Like it or not, it’s possible that McCown is already the team’s unofficial starter no matter how Petty and Hack perform. Bowles is using the remainder of camp to get an extended look at Hackenberg and Petty.

Brilliant Because: Hack and Petty were both tabbed as multi-year developmental prospects out of college.  They both need every rep they can get at this point ,and that’s what Bowles’ current approach is doing.

IMG_8244-300x266.jpg

Bryce Petty appears to be part of what is now an actual quarterback competition.

Baffling Because: Even if the goal is to get Hack and Petty maximum reps, putting McCown on ice with the season approaching will be seen as reckless and irresponsible if he plays poorly out of the gate.  There’s no reason the Jets couldn’t ratchet up the tempo at practice and give McCown a series or two with the starters.  It wouldn’t be much, but it’d be better than nothing.

Challenging the kids: 

Bowles and the Jets know what they have in McCown.  He’s a steady veteran who has had some shining moments but an injury at some point is likely, and he’s not going to be much better than average at this point.  If the Jets can hand the job to McCown, but then tell Hack and Petty that either one of them can steal the starting job with a strong showing over the final weeks of camp.

Brilliant because: This scenario is closest to what many Jets fans have been calling for since the day McCown was signed.  “Play the kids” has been the mantra for countless fans, and it’s entirely possible that this is what Bowles is trying to do.  If one of them steps up, they win the job.  If Hack or Petty can’t do enough to convince Bowles to sit McCown, the reality of the situation is that neither of them deserve it.

Baffling because: If Bowles knew in the back of his mind that this approach was even a possibility, why not give Petty more reps earlier in camp?  He has outplayed Hackenberg in practice and on game days, but is only now being given a fair shot.

Following orders:

Conspiracy theories are usually nothing more than a way to write garbage headlines to get clicks.  However, the shift in Bowles’ approach has been so dramatic, that you can’t help but wonder if he’s been instructed from the folks upstairs to change his approach.  NFL teams do sometimes listen to their fan base, especially when it’s becoming an angry mob and tickets aren’t selling.  Hackenberg or Petty as the starter would mean plenty of unknowns for Jets fans, but the one thing they would know is that it isn’t McCown.

Brilliant because: Popular decision or not, a head coach doing what he’s told to help save his job wouldn’t really fall under “brilliant” or “baffling:

Baffling because: See above

IMG_1171-1-1-300x220.jpg

Despite extensive playing time through two pre-season games, Hackenberg has yet to lead a touchdown drive.

Bowles is Baffled:

Clearly the least desirable of all the scenarios, is Bowles not committed to any one approach because he’s not sure which approach to take?  His detractors will jump at the chance to say so, while his supporters will point to the fact that Bowles has said all along that the reps would even out.

Brilliant because: Well, being baffled wouldn’t be brilliant, would it?

Baffling because: It’s right there in the name, but in all seriousness, if the Jets have an NFL head coach who’s flying by the seat of his pants in regards to the handling of his quarterback situation with the season just a couple of weeks away, that’s just no good for anyone.

Now with their week three dress rehearsal just a couple of days away, Bowles and company are keeping everyone guessing, refusing to name a starter against the Giants, and having not taken any reps, you can’t rule out the possibility of Bowles sitting McCown this week, and then again during the final pre-season game in which starters rarely see the field.

If Bowles’ plan is to start McCown in week one without giving him more than a handful of reps before the season kicks off, it would be hard to call his approach anything but baffling, and if the season goes off the rails in the opening weeks, it could be his approach during this camp that spells the beginning of the end for Bowles.

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Integrity28 said:

Neither - if they all suck, they all suck and Bowles + co. did what they could to try and get one of them to emerge. If one of them emerges, then it's because it was going to happen regardless. The more I follow this sport, the more I have accepted that a QB is either going to be or not be. There is not "developing". There is just the curve that it takes a QB to reach his potential. On his own. A good environment and coach can help shorten the curve, but the outcome is determined at the individual level. 

Even with what we've seen from QBs who play well in one system and flop in another?

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I will give Bowles this much: he had nothing to do with drafting Hackenberg or Petty, so in that way he's been hamstrung. Falling in love with Fitz was dumb, but given how brutal Hackenberg has shown himself to be, you can't entirely kill Bowles for it in retrospect. 

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9 minutes ago, T0mShane said:

I will give Bowles this much: he had nothing to do with drafting Hackenberg or Petty, so in that way he's been hamstrung. Falling in love with Fitz was dumb, but given how brutal Hackenberg has shown himself to be, you can't entirely kill Bowles for it in retrospect. 

 McCown’s questionable credentials — 38 years old, eight teams, 18-42 career record as a starter, including 2-20 over the last three seasons — will be good enough to hold off Hackenberg and Petty this all falls on Mike Maccagnan......

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42 minutes ago, Integrity28 said:

Neither - if they all suck, they all suck and Bowles + co. did what they could to try and get one of them to emerge. If one of them emerges, then it's because it was going to happen regardless. The more I follow this sport, the more I have accepted that a QB is either going to be or not be. There is not "developing". There is just the curve that it takes a QB to reach his potential. On his own. A good environment and coach can help shorten the curve, but the outcome is determined at the individual level. 

Yep. What you start with is going to determine what  you finish with. Peyton and Carr started poorly and eventually showed how great they are/ were. Sanchez came out strong and eventually became who he is. I do think with guys like Breeze and Gannon it took a lot longer but eventually they become who they are. You just need to be the team they are on when they get it. There is a 'true' ceiling with QBs. 

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35 minutes ago, AFJF said:

Even with what we've seen from QBs who play well in one system and flop in another?

Yes, because it's at the individual level that they can learn one system vs. the other. Just because Connor MacGregor is a great MMA fighter (system A) doesn't mean he's automatically going to be a great boxer (system B). It's on the individual when it's all said and done.

Sometimes what we think are QB benefiting in one system vs. another, is really the difference between one QB playing for 3 years vs. 5 years. Like I said, there's a curve. It's different for all QBs, but I believe whole-heartedly that a QB is either going to be or not be. Just my opinion.

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Just now, Integrity28 said:

Yes, because it's at the individual level that they can learn one system vs. the other. Just because Connor MacGregor is a great MMA fighter (system A) doesn't mean he's automatically going to be a great boxer (system B). It's on the individual when it's all said and done.

Sometimes what we think are QB benefiting in one system vs. another, is really the difference between one QB playing for 3 years vs. 5 years. Like I said, there's a curve. It's different for all QBs, but I believe whole-heartedly that a QB is either going to be or not be. Just my opinion.

I don't completely disagree.  After seeing so many guys fail at the position for all these years, sometimes I look at the draft and wonder if any GM knows what they're doing.

John Elway, one of the greatest QBs in NFL history, should be able to recognize a great QB, right?

Yet he tried to give Osweiller $14 mil per season, and his first round pick QB from last year, just got beaten soundly by a seventh rounder for the starting job.  

 

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5 minutes ago, AFJF said:

I don't completely disagree.  After seeing so many guys fail at the position for all these years, sometimes I look at the draft and wonder if any GM knows what they're doing.

John Elway, one of the greatest QBs in NFL history, should be able to recognize a great QB, right?

Yet he tried to give Osweiller $14 mil per season, and his first round pick QB from last year, just got beaten soundly by a seventh rounder for the starting job.  

 

People need to realize this!!! 

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7 minutes ago, AFJF said:

I don't completely disagree.  After seeing so many guys fail at the position for all these years, sometimes I look at the draft and wonder if any GM knows what they're doing.

John Elway, one of the greatest QBs in NFL history, should be able to recognize a great QB, right?

Yet he tried to give Osweiller $14 mil per season, and his first round pick QB from last year, just got beaten soundly by a seventh rounder for the starting job.  

 

I don't think this has any correlation, tbh.

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12 minutes ago, KRL said:

The only way you can find out about Hackenberg is by putting him into live situations.

That is not true. It may be the case that seeing Hackenberg in live situations is what you've decided it will take you to find out whatever it is you're hoping to or hoping not to find out. I would certainly hope that the trained professionals in our employ have a threshold as to what is required to assess Hackenberg's competence that is somewhere well short of having to let you see it with your own eyes in games that count. You don't need to see a baby take reps to know that a baby can't play quarterback in the NFL. There's no difference in kind here.

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28 minutes ago, KRL said:

The only way you can find out about Hackenberg is by putting him into live situations.  It's moronic to focus
on a journeyman QB who we know isn't the answer (maybe the team learned from last year).  A young QB can't 
develop if the team throws their plans in the garbage if he struggles for a game or more.  One of the main
goals for this season is to determine if Hackenberg can be "the man", if not we move onto the 2018 draft.
But one thing all fans better realize is ANY QB they draft (Darnold, Rosen, Allen, Jackson) is going
to have the same growing pains that Hackenberg is going through   

That's not guaranteed to be true, the growing pains Hack is having is WAY more then any growing pains Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, hell even Mark Sanchez ever had just to name a few.  Hacks growing pains are much more exaggerated then most rookie QB's who end up playing in their first 2 years IMO, now you can say it's the coaching, or the player I honestly don't know, but I'm of the opinion your either gonna have "IT" or not, so far Hack looks like the not category.

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Other rookie QB's  look decent and better than Hackenberg, if you draft a QB in the 2nd round and he's not ready to play then you obviously drafted the wrong guy..

With the 6th pick in the 2017 NFL draft this team could have upgraded the QB position, they chose not to and here we are today. 

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How would you like to try to evaluate young QB's when you have a horrendous O-Line that can neither run nor pass block and a set of WR's and TE's that can barely get open and when they do they drop way too many passes? it's like Simon and Garfunkel sang so many years ago...." laugh about, shout about, when you have to choose, every way you look at it you lose." 

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8 minutes ago, BigRy56 said:

How could anybody hate on Bowles for giving Hackenberg & Petty every chance to win the starting job? They've got to earn it, Saturday will be their last shot.

I don't think guys are hating on it, I can only speak for myself, but to me one of two things are happening, 1.  Todd Bowles got instructions from above to play Hack, or Petty no matter what, or 2.  Bowles is holding a pretend QB competition for the fans, media, and maybe even the front office even thou he already made up his mind he is starting McCown, but feels he needs to put on a song, and dance.  IF it was just him getting the young guys reps, and he had the backing of the front office to do what he pleases with the QB position this wouldn't be so secretive, and flat out unprecedented in it's handling, Bowles since year 1 up until the beginning of this training camp has always said he wants a starting QB in place for week 3 of the preseason, now come last Saturday McCown mysteriously gets no snaps (which I'm fine with, but I know sure as sh*t Bowles isn't), and then after the game he says he was told he can speak about it (McCown), something happened last Friday, and I'm sure when the first guy who is butt hurt by what happened last Friday realizes this team is officially failing, and they have no future here it will get leaked out to the media what actually happened last Friday.

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33 minutes ago, joewilly12 said:

Other rookie QB's  look decent and better than Hackenberg, if you draft a QB in the 2nd round and he's not ready to play then you obviously drafted the wrong guy..

With the 6th pick in the 2017 NFL draft this team could have upgraded the QB position, they chose not to and here we are today. 

Put any of those rookie QB's behind the Oline that showed up last Saturday and you most likely would have seen the same results .

Cue the buuuuuuutt  Mahomes response in 3.2.1.   

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1 hour ago, T0mShane said:

I will give Bowles this much: he had nothing to do with drafting Hackenberg or Petty, so in that way he's been hamstrung. Falling in love with Fitz was dumb, but given how brutal Hackenberg has shown himself to be, you can't entirely kill Bowles for it in retrospect. 

Yeah much like 'It is not Rexs fault' syndrome where the D based head coach gets ALL resources poured into his precious defense and then complains that the offense cannot stay on the field.

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2 hours ago, JetNation said:

TB.jpg

Just when Jets fans thought the handling of the team’s quarterback situation couldn’t possibly be worthy of any further scrutiny, it appears head coach Todd Bowles’ sudden change of direction in handling his three signal callers has divided fans on the issue once again.

After veteran Josh McCown received the lions-share of reps through the first dozen or so practices in Florham Park, a drastic turn of events has taken place, and now fans and media types are scratching their heads.

The major change started when Bowles announced before the start of last weeks tilt with the Lions that Christian Hackenberg would play the first half, with Bryce Petty playing the second half.  This, after a week in which Bowles said that McCown would see extended reps after playing just one series a week earlier against the Titans.

In the practices that have followed, McCown has been a spectator, throwing just one pass in a couple of days ago, and even that was as a member of the scout team.  So what could Bowles possibly doing, and what impact could it have on the Jets and his future with the team?  Let’s take a look at a few possibilities.

McCown has been ordained:  

Like it or not, it’s possible that McCown is already the team’s unofficial starter no matter how Petty and Hack perform. Bowles is using the remainder of camp to get an extended look at Hackenberg and Petty.

Brilliant Because: Hack and Petty were both tabbed as multi-year developmental prospects out of college.  They both need every rep they can get at this point ,and that’s what Bowles’ current approach is doing.

IMG_8244-300x266.jpg

Bryce Petty appears to be part of what is now an actual quarterback competition.

Baffling Because: Even if the goal is to get Hack and Petty maximum reps, putting McCown on ice with the season approaching will be seen as reckless and irresponsible if he plays poorly out of the gate.  There’s no reason the Jets couldn’t ratchet up the tempo at practice and give McCown a series or two with the starters.  It wouldn’t be much, but it’d be better than nothing.

Challenging the kids: 

Bowles and the Jets know what they have in McCown.  He’s a steady veteran who has had some shining moments but an injury at some point is likely, and he’s not going to be much better than average at this point.  If the Jets can hand the job to McCown, but then tell Hack and Petty that either one of them can steal the starting job with a strong showing over the final weeks of camp.

Brilliant because: This scenario is closest to what many Jets fans have been calling for since the day McCown was signed.  “Play the kids” has been the mantra for countless fans, and it’s entirely possible that this is what Bowles is trying to do.  If one of them steps up, they win the job.  If Hack or Petty can’t do enough to convince Bowles to sit McCown, the reality of the situation is that neither of them deserve it.

Baffling because: If Bowles knew in the back of his mind that this approach was even a possibility, why not give Petty more reps earlier in camp?  He has outplayed Hackenberg in practice and on game days, but is only now being given a fair shot.

Following orders:

Conspiracy theories are usually nothing more than a way to write garbage headlines to get clicks.  However, the shift in Bowles’ approach has been so dramatic, that you can’t help but wonder if he’s been instructed from the folks upstairs to change his approach.  NFL teams do sometimes listen to their fan base, especially when it’s becoming an angry mob and tickets aren’t selling.  Hackenberg or Petty as the starter would mean plenty of unknowns for Jets fans, but the one thing they would know is that it isn’t McCown.

Brilliant because: Popular decision or not, a head coach doing what he’s told to help save his job wouldn’t really fall under “brilliant” or “baffling:

Baffling because: See above

IMG_1171-1-1-300x220.jpg

Despite extensive playing time through two pre-season games, Hackenberg has yet to lead a touchdown drive.

Bowles is Baffled:

Clearly the least desirable of all the scenarios, is Bowles not committed to any one approach because he’s not sure which approach to take?  His detractors will jump at the chance to say so, while his supporters will point to the fact that Bowles has said all along that the reps would even out.

Brilliant because: Well, being baffled wouldn’t be brilliant, would it?

Baffling because: It’s right there in the name, but in all seriousness, if the Jets have an NFL head coach who’s flying by the seat of his pants in regards to the handling of his quarterback situation with the season just a couple of weeks away, that’s just no good for anyone.

Now with their week three dress rehearsal just a couple of days away, Bowles and company are keeping everyone guessing, refusing to name a starter against the Giants, and having not taken any reps, you can’t rule out the possibility of Bowles sitting McCown this week, and then again during the final pre-season game in which starters rarely see the field.

If Bowles’ plan is to start McCown in week one without giving him more than a handful of reps before the season kicks off, it would be hard to call his approach anything but baffling, and if the season goes off the rails in the opening weeks, it could be his approach during this camp that spells the beginning of the end for Bowles.

 

 

 

 

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Great article Glenn.

I do think there is one possible other scenario, though slight.  Is it possible that McCown has a sore throwing shoulder?  He's certainly not a young guy, and has had the majority of the reps in camp. perhaps he's just sore, they want to get him healthy for the season, and don't want to start the injury rumor.

IDK anything else is very bad news for the Jets 

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If its Bowels and not Mac/Woody thats doing this, then I give him credit.

Can't say its brilliant or baffling until the end of the season really. But it is encouraging. It'll be even more encouraging if he actually starts Petty and/or Hack for the regular season, instead of waiting for midseason to bench McCown.

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I don't think how the QBs are being handled has anything to do with Bowles.  He is a complete moron and would give every single rep to McCown so that he could maybe win 5 games this season.  

This is coming from above and that's a good thing.  Every ounce of effort should be revolved around the kids and not a singlie ounce of effort should be put into McCown.  

I'm starting to get a feeling Mac will get his choice at HC next season. 

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18 minutes ago, Lupz27 said:

I don't think guys are hating on it, I can only speak for myself, but to me one of two things are happening, 1.  Todd Bowles got instructions from above to play Hack, or Petty no matter what, or 2.  Bowles is holding a pretend QB competition for the fans, media, and maybe even the front office even thou he already made up his mind he is starting McCown, but feels he needs to put on a song, and dance.  IF it was just him getting the young guys reps, and he had the backing of the front office to do what he pleases with the QB position this wouldn't be so secretive, and flat out unprecedented in it's handling, Bowles since year 1 up until the beginning of this training camp has always said he wants a starting QB in place for week 3 of the preseason, now come last Saturday McCown mysteriously gets no snaps (which I'm fine with, but I know sure as sh*t Bowles isn't), and then after the game he says he was told he can speak about it (McCown), something happened last Friday, and I'm sure when the first guy who is butt hurt by what happened last Friday realizes this team is officially failing, and they have no future here it will get leaked out to the media what actually happened last Friday.

I think the QB competition was "pretend" to begin with, but when you get in a spot where your starting QB may only get a series or two (possibly none) in the three weeks leading up to the start of the season, you'd better be giving the kids a shot to legitimately win that job.  If McCown plays 0 snaps vs. Detroit, the Giants and Eagles, you're probably getting fired if the QB plays terrible football out of the gate. 

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