For the first time in at least a decade, the New York Jets have a good problem to solve at the quarterback position.
The Jets have not one, not two, but three quarterbacks capable of starting for the team Week 1. First-round pick Sam Darnold has displayed tangible signs of being the franchise’s savior at the position. The incumbent Josh McCown proved he could still start in the NFL last season.
But the quarterback who has made New York’s quarterback situation much more interesting is Teddy Bridgewater. The former Minnesota Vikings first-rounder proved he had fully recovered from the gruesome leg injury suffered two years ago. Bridgewater completed 10-of-15 passes for 127 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception during Thursday’s Week 2 preseason loss to Washington.
Bridgewater is more than just a flyer at this point and could seriously contend for the starting job. Even better, the Jets could still flip Bridgewater to a quarterback-needy team, depending on how things develop through the rest of camp.
Darnold will have something to say about how the competition shakes out. While many expected the 21-year-old USC product to require a learning curve, Darnold has accelerated his development and is seriously in the mix to start Week 1. The rookie started Thursday’s game and held his own, completing 8-of-11 passes for 62 yards and an interception while leading the Jets to a field goal on three possessions.
Darnold’s interception was a glimpse into his turnover issues in college. On 4th down inside Washington’s 20, Darnold forced a short pass to Jermaine Kearse that caromed into the air and was intercepted. It’s important to mention that Darnold wisely didn’t want to take a sack on 4th down and that the Jets most likely would’ve settled for another field goal attempt in a regular season contest. But Darnold’s miscue showed the rookie still has some things to work on.
But overall, it was a good performance for both quarterbacks, despite shoddy protection from New York’s offensive line. Looking ahead, the emergence of Darnold and Bridgewater add even more intrigue to the annual MetLife Bowl next week against the Giants. First of all, who will start the game? Secondly, how much will Thursday’s contest impact Todd Bowles’ decision?
The Jets have those questions to answer as the calendar flips from August to September. However, keep in mind where we were at this point last year – when the Jets were practically begging Christian Hackenberg to show them signs of competency last preseason. This year, the Jets have not one, not two, but three quarterbacks who are capable of starting.
One thing is certain, the Jets have come a long way from last year’s lousy competition between McCown, Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. That’s a darn good problem to have.