Jets coach dangles last-minute starting quarterback decision

Get comfortable, Jets fans. A decision on the team’s starting quarterback isn’t coming any time soon. You may even have to wait past Labor Day.

Jets coach Todd Bowles was typically evasive on his plans regarding his three quarterbacks’ playing time in Friday’s preseason opener, and in the midst of dodging questions, he mentioned the potential of keeping his regular-season starter a secret all the way up until the opener Sept. 10 in Detroit.

“It’s possible I will make my decision after the fourth preseason game,” Bowles said. “I’m not pinpointing a decision. When the guy runs out on the field [Monday] in Week 1, you’ll see who the starter is.”

The competition, a three-man battle between veteran Josh McCown, fifth-year pro Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Sam Darnold, will likely be determined by how well the three play in the preseason, according to Bowles. The Jets released their initial depth chart after practice, which had the predicable order of McCown No. 1, followed by Bridgewater and Darnold, just as Bowles listed them when camp began.

The fourth-year coach said all three quarterbacks will be ready to play Friday night against the Falcons, but wouldn’t confirm all three will be in action. Bowles has decided on his plan for the game, but has yet to go over it with his coaching staff.

McCown, 39, was very inactive in Monday’s practice, while Darnold and Bridgewater got a majority of the reps because “they’re going to play [in] the games and they didn’t see enough work on Saturday [in the Green & White scrimmage].”

That was often the case last year when McCown appeared in just two preseason games and threw 12 passes and beat out Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty for the job. Of course, the players he’s going up against this summer are far more talented and advanced. He understands the other two need the work more than he does.

“This is my 17th training camp and I’ve done this for a while,” McCown said. “It’s good for the team for those guys to get as much work as they can.”

There weren’t many surprises in the Jets’ first depth chart of the season. The lone rookie projected to start is defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd, the team’s third-round pick. In a slight surprise, rookie tight end Chris Herndon is listed on the fourth team despite receiving a significant amount of first-team reps. The other noteworthy battle is at outside linebacker, where Josh Martin and Jordan Jenkins are the starters. David Bass and Lorenzo Mauldin are listed as the backups.

Before practice, the Jets signed OL Alex Balducci and waived OL Austin Golson.

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