Todd Bowles on Sam Darnold Absence: 'I Can Only Coach the Guys That Are Here'

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The Jets' first practice of training camp took place in the Atlantic Health Training Center fieldhouse due to heavy storms that hit North Jersey early this afternoon. And the first practice of their three-headed quarterback competition took place without one head, since first-round rookie Sam Darnold remained unsigned.

But head coach Todd Bowles was not about to run around like a chicken with its head cut off over Darnold's absence.

"Sam's not here so we're coaching [89] other guys," Bowles said evenly about his missing signalcaller as he kicked off his fourth training camp as Jets coach. "It's not a concern now because I can only coach the guys that are here. As a coach, we don't coach the guys that aren't here. When Sam gets here, we'll get him caught up. Until then, we'll go as planned."

"I've played, I've coached, I've scouted. It's part of the business, just another day in the office. There's no animosity there. It's just the business part. When he comes in, we'll get him caught up to speed and get him ready to go."

But that wasn't to say there was no downside for Darnold losing a precious day of camp.

"Anytime you're not here, you lose something," Bowles said. "Everybody needs to practice full-time, whether you're a rookie or a 15-year vet.

Best Images from Friday's Indoor Practice During Training Camp

"It's part of the business. We've got two other quarterbacks, and they can play, too."

Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater did play, too, and a lot for day one of camp. McCown worked with the first team, Bridgewater with the twos. Media observers pegged McCown with the stronger throwing practice, but Bridgewater finished his uneven day and concluded practice with a pretty longball completion to WR ArDarius Stewart.

With no other QBs in camp, Bowles acknowledged that number of reps are a point of discussion between him and new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

"We always talk about it. We keep a close monitor on them, keep a pitch count," Bowles said. "And we'll understand when we've got to do something and when we don't" about if and when the Jets will bring in another arm.

Two other players, S Marcus Maye and WR Terrelle Pryor, both continue to rehab injuries from last season and are being brought along slowly.

"He's making great progress," Bowles said of Maye, "and we'll have the timing right for when he plays." As for Pryor, the coach said, "Same thing. They did a lot of good things today, they're moving well."

Two more players, CB Rashard Robinson and Stewart, did practice and are allowed to practice this summer but received NFL regular-season suspensions this week.

"It's extremely disappointing for me, obviously," Bowles said. "It happened at the same time although they were isolated incidents. You deal with them as a team and as a coach and move on. At the same time, you don't want that type of thing happening on your team. ... But other guys have got a chance to play and improve themselves and you let the chips fall where they may."

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