New York Jets: Sam Darnold loses more than just a teammate in Josh McCown

Sam Darnold, Josh McCown (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold, Josh McCown (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

The retirement of Josh McCown affects more than just the New York Jets quarterback depth chart as Sam Darnold also loses a close mentor.

The New York Jets are heading into a critical season with plenty of eyes on the team’s progression. The changes in the front office, coaches and players have given the franchise an entirely new outlook on the future.

Sam Darnold enters his second season at the helm of the offense wiser and with an idea of what to expect in the NFL. The most significant piece missing this season, however, is his back up quarterback and mentor Josh McCown. The veteran journeyman quarterback called it a career earlier this week after 17 seasons in the league creating a possible hole for Darnold.

McCown was more than just a back up for the Jets as he at times served as an extra assistant coach helping to mold then rookie Darnold. The daily preparation and game plan reviews the duo did regularly helped push the former USC Trojan to win the starting job last season and progress throughout the 2018 campaign. The two were constantly shown on the sidelines either celebrating great plays or figuring out defensive alignments from the other team.

In his farewell article in The Players Tribune, McCown discussed being unselfish in his years with the Jets and enjoying the opportunity to help develop Darnold.

"”At the end of the day, no matter what team I was on, I tried to serve it to the best of my ability, and I tried to influence my team in a positive manner, I hope I did that.”"

Darold discussed his close relationship with McCown that extended to his own family in an interview during the regular season.

"“My parents know how much he’s helped me throughout the whole process,” Darnold said. “He’s been nothing but the best. I tell my parents all the time how awesome it is to have a guy like Josh, and how awesome it was to have a guy like Teddy [Bridgewater] — two vets in here. Now even to have a guy like Davis [Webb], there’s so much football knowledge going around. But to have Josh here is special for me.”"

Darnold finished last season with 2,865 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. After an foot injury midseason, McCown stepped in to start three games that would eventually be the last of his football playing career.

Darnold will be armed with new weapons on the offensive side of the ball including the unpredictable talents of running back Le’Veon Bell. It will be vital for him to take that next step and fully grab hold the reigns to this offense and become the leader.

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It wouldn’t be too farfetched for the Jets to possibly look into bringing McCown back as a legitimate assistant coach in the future.