The Jets can hope there is development going on behind the scenes with their two young quarterbacks, but Sundays are apparently not the time to find out.
While 38-year-old Josh McCown continues to be the starter with full support from his coaching staff, 22-year-old Christian Hackenberg and 26-year-old Bryce Petty will have to settle for making strides in the classroom as backups.
As an organization, this is professional football. This isnt Triple-A, Jets QBs coach Jeremy Bates said Tuesday on a conference call. Were going to play the best players that give us the opportunity to win, in all positions. Thats our philosophy. Josh is our starter. He gives us the opportunity to win on Sunday, and thats what were focused on.
Bates made it clear that any and all conversations about the Jets future at quarterback will happen after the season, when the organization will have to determine if they should draft another signal caller. Until then, McCown who already has thrown a career-high 14 touchdowns with a career-best 69 percent completion rate is the answer with the Jets solely focused on the short term.
While the Jets playoff hopes took another hit Sunday, when they dropped to 4-6 with a loss to the Buccaneers, there are still no plans to get Hackenberg or Petty into the mix.
Thats going to be our focus the next six games is win-loss record, Bates said.
In his first season on the Jets sidelines, Bates gushed about McCowns preparation and how it translates to Sundays. Its a lesson he said he believes is valuable for the two backup quarterbacks to learn from.
As for how hes evaluating the development of Hackenberg and Petty, Bates said hes watching them in the meeting room and during their limited snaps on the practice field during the week.
If theyre young or if theyre an old backup, they have to prepare like their number is going to be called, Bates said. We know that both Bryce and Christian, if their number is called, theyre going to go in there and they got an opportunity to showcase what theyve been working on.
Asked where Hackenberg needs to improve, Bates said the 2016 second-round pick is working on learning the system, playing fast and being more accurate.
But pressed on what wasnt happening or what was missing for Hackenberg to see the field on Sunday, the answer was less certain.
Right now, were focused more on the Carolina Panthers than getting into that debate, Bates said. Of course well have that conversation at the end of the season.
As the Jets enter their bye week, McCown has taken every snap at quarterback. The only other Jet to attempt a pass this season is Lachlan Edwards, who pulled off a fake punt in a Week 4 win over the Jaguars. Hackenberg has been inactive for nine games after serving as the backup in the season opener.
While McCown saw the least amount of action of the three quarterbacks during the preseason, Hackenberg failed to make enough of an impression to grab the starting job. He has yet to attempt a pass during the regular season, and it may be an uphill battle to get the first one under his belt any time soon.
We prepare the starter the same way we prepare the No. 2 or No. 3, Bates said. Theyre all in the classroom, theyre all grinding, they all come early, they all stay late and they get the same work on the field. All three quarterbacks are preparing in position to be ready to play the game on Sunday. I dont think theres a difference.
Once the season starts, youre focused on that opponent for that week. Thats the main objective.