Jets' quarterback competition trending toward two-man battle

Bryce Petty has seen fewer reps than fellow quarterbacks Josh McCown and Christian Hackenberg so far during training camp. Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Right now, it's a two-man race: Josh McCown versus Christian Hackenberg.

For the fourth straight day, Bryce Petty received the fewest number of practice reps in the New York Jets' quarterback competition. Coach Todd Bowles refused to attach any significance to the rep totals and rotation order, insisting Tuesday the starting job remains wide open.

Asked when he will change the order, Bowles said, "When they start to impress me" -- meaning Hackenberg and Petty.

Clearly, Bowles doesn't like giving daily updates, saying it's too early to form evaluations. He allowed this much: The eventual winner will be the quarterback who gives them the best chance to win.

"Always," he said.


This was perhaps his best day, at least from an efficiency standpoint. Operating a conservative passing attack, he completed 16 of 19 attempts with no turnovers and no "sacks." McCown worked exclusively with the first-team offense ... again. So far, he's in the lead even if Bowles won't admit it.

Wow moment: There were none, but one thing jumped out. During a water break between periods, McCown walked over to the defense and spoke to a handful of players, trying to fire them up. It's not often you see a quarterback do that sort of thing, but that's part of his rah-rah leadership style.

Whoa moment: None, really. It was a pretty clean day.


Hackenberg has to yet to throw an interception in 11-on-11 drills -- four practices and counting. Yes, he's aware of the mini-streak. Asked if it's a source of pride, he said, "That's a tough question, man. It's something to build on. ... It shows, at least for me, some growth in some areas -- recognition, those types of things."

Wow moment: This wasn't a particularly crisp practice, as he completed only 7 of 12 attempts (one sack). That said, there weren't any calamitous moments, which shows progress. Each day, he seems more comfortable at the line of scrimmage.

Whoa moment: In a 7-on-7 period, Hackenberg threw into double coverage and was intercepted by Dexter McDougle on a deflection. It was an ill-advised throw.


Petty received only nine reps, compared to 27 for McCown and 18 for Hackenberg. Saying he learned from past experiences, Petty said he refuses to count reps. He fell into that trap in the past, leading to frustration. On Tuesday, he made the most of his limited work, completing 6-of-8.

Wow moment: Petty connected with Chris Harper for a 35-yard completion. It was a fantastic, one-handed catch, but it also was a nice throw; it had to be squeezed between two defenders. It also came on an audible, as Petty changed the play at the line of scrimmage.

Whoa moment: None.