As the Jets got back to work Monday under a blazing sun, 39-year-old Josh McCown mostly did a lot of watching and coaching. While it wasn't a day at the beach with McCown getting a few reps, fifth-year veteran Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Sam Darnold handled the bulk of the duties under center.
"There are going to be days when Josh get more reps and there are going to be days when Teddy and Sam get more reps — today was that day," said head coach Todd Bowles.
Darnold has often looked to push the ball downfield, but he displayed his maturation on a short scoring toss to fellow rookie Trenton Cannon. He scanned the left and the middle of the field before coming all the way back to the right and finding a wide open Cannon in front of the pylon.
"So that was a man zone read type of thing where one side was for man and the other side was for zone. So I read man, went to the man side, saw that he wasn't really winning over there," Darnold told reporters. "(I) came back because the other play we drew up on the other side is a zone beater, but it's also a great man beater too."
Bridgewater's best moment came on a perfectly dropped in long ball to speedster Robby Anderson. He gave terrific loft and Anderson came flying in to beat a pair of defenders for the prettiest connection of the afternoon.
"I'm very confident. Those are throws you're expected to make as a quarterback in the National Football League," he said. "Making a throw like that is exciting because we love big plays and that's what you like to see. We run those plays and call those plays for a reason. That's just the expectations around here. We expect to call plays, take shots and hit them. If we don't have a shot down the field, we expect the quarterback to make smart decisions and find the check down. Fortunately today we had the opportunity to hit Robby on a big play."
McCown took things in stride. He knows the offense inside and out and the Jets will ultimately benefit from giving more work to Darnold and Bridgewater on certain days.
"This is my 17th training camp and I've done this for a while," he said. "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 those guys to get as much work as they can. We feel really solid with our quarterback situation and the room in general. 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."
Top Photos from a Hot Day at 1 Jets Drive
New Duo at OLB
Outside linebackers Brandon Copeland and Frankie Luvu received the majority of first-team reps today. Todd Bowles said the duo "peaked" the last couple of days and wanted to take a look at them against the starting offense.
Copeland played 32 games with Detroit in 2015-16 and joined the Green & White after missing the 2017 season with a pectoral tear he suffered in the preseason. Luvu signed with the Green & White in May after trying out for the club in rookie minicamp. Originally born in American Samoa, the Washington State product played in 46 games (22 starts) over four years and recorded 110 tackles, 19 for loss, eight sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles
"I think Cope has shown some good speed," said OLB coach Kevin Greene. "I think Luvu has done some good things. He's shown speed, quickness and he's athletic. There're some things there."
Minor training camp injuries have piled up for New York's AFC representative. With Kelvin Beachum in a boot (foot/ankle), veteran Brent Qvale worked with the first team at LT. And with Steve McLendon out another day, big Mike Pennel got some work with the starters along the defensive line. Bowles said TE Jordan Leggett (knee) continues to be held out for maintenance and Cannon appeared to get nicked up today as well.
Lights About to Come On
The Jets will begin their preseason action Friday at home vs. the Atlanta Falcons. While Darnold's summer debut will grab the headlines, Bowles says the summer games will be critical in the evaluation process of his entire team.
"It's a measuring stick for everybody — not just Sam," he said. "We have a lot of guys fighting to make this team."