Sam Darnold will have to wait a bit before he faces The Evil Empire.
The Jets rookie quarterback was officially ruled out of this weekend’s game against the Patriots with a strained foot, an injury he suffered nearly three weeks ago.
So, 39-year-old Josh McCown will make his second start of the season with former Giant Davis Webb backing him up against their division rivals.
The Jets (3-7) have wisely taken a thorough and methodical approach with Darnold, who was injured Nov. 4 in a loss in Miami.
He’ll get a crack at Bill Belichick & Co. in the season finale next month.
“As a competitor, you always want to go out there and play,” Darnold said this week. “When you’re not doing that, you know, it sucks. I always want to go out there and play, but at the same time I also want to be healthy. So, I think trying to manage those things is really the hardest thing for me and the hardest thing for me to understand. But I just got to stay with the process and continue to work hard every single day to get back. At the end of each day, if I can tell myself I did the best I could to get better and get my foot better, then that’s all I can do.”
Meanwhile, Tom Brady was not spotted in the early portion of the Patriots’ practice Friday after suffering a knee injury earlier in the week that had limited his participation. (Backup Brian Hoyer would start if Brady somehow doesn’t play).
Regardless, McCown will try to help the Jets snap a four-game losing streak. The veteran signal caller threw for 135 yards with two interceptions and a 35.8 passer rating in Gang Green’s forgettable 41-10 loss to the Bills before their bye week.
Assuming Brady plays, it’ll be a daunting challenge against the well-rested and angry Patriots (7-3), who are seething from their loss to the Titans before their bye week
McCown threw for a season-high 354 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (including a costly one before halftime) in a 24-17 loss to the Patriots at MetLife Stadium last year.
“We got in a good rhythm in the pass game,” McCown said of that game. “We were able to mix it up. Everybody contributed. I think that’s the key. That’s what we are going to have to do this week. It’s all hands on deck. Everybody has got to be a part of it. More than anything, the O-line played well and played hard. It gave us an opportunity to do that. Hopefully that will be the case this week. Again, whether it’s run or pass, whatever it takes, you’ve got to be able to do that to win.”
McCown might get back the Jets’ best offensive deep threat as Robby Anderson, who missed two of the past three games with an ankle injury, is officially listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis on Friday.
McCown, frankly, could use all the help he can get with the Jets in an offensive funk the past month. But the Patriots defense won’t make it easy.
“I think it’s a testament to the way they coach the team and the standards they have over there,” McCown said. “They are just fundamentally sound. They are well-coached. They will be where they are supposed to be and they play hard. I think that’s what has allowed them to play at a high level all these years. You always have your hands full when you are playing against them.”