Jets’ McCown to start 2nd straight for injured Darnold

NEW YORK (AP) — Josh McCown is stepping in for Sam Darnold again.

And, this matchup will be one for the aged.

The 39-year-old veteran quarterback will start Sunday for the New York Jets against the New England Patriots, the second game in a row during which McCown will be under center in place of the injured Darnold. McCown and 41-year-old Tom Brady will be the second-oldest QB combo in NFL history at 80 years, 258 days.

Brady was limited during the week with a sore knee before sitting out Friday and is listed as questionable, but is still expected to play. Only Carolina’s Vinny Testaverde (44) and Green Bay’s Brett Favre (38) in 2007 would be older at 82 years, 44 days old.

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McCown was a third-round pick in 2002, two years after Brady went in the sixth round. The two have faced each other as starting QBs just twice, including once last year when New England won 24-17.

“I think as young quarterbacks, you look around the league and talk about guys that you say, ‘Who is the standard or what do you want to model yourself after?’ And, how they go about it,” McCown said Wednesday. “I think Tom has certainly set that mark. So it’s been great to watch him and compete against him over these years because of how consistent he’s been year in and year out.”

Darnold strained his right foot against Miami on Nov. 4 and hasn’t practiced or played since. He was listed Friday as out for the game on the team’s final injury report.

“It wasn’t (about) what he wasn’t able to do,” coach Todd Bowles said. “He didn’t practice, so he’s out.”

Darnold was in uniform for the last three days of practice, but didn’t throw any passes during the 30-minute periods the media were allowed to watch. While he has made some progress in his recovery — he shed his walking boot a few days after the injury — it’s unclear as to whether Darnold might be ready at Tennessee next Sunday.

“We’ll see,” Bowles said. “Don’t know yet.”

McCown was the starter last season, but Darnold won the quarterback competition in training camp and had started every game until he was injured.

Meanwhile, McCown hadn’t played a snap in the regular season until he filled in two weeks ago in New York’s 41-10 loss to Buffalo. He was 17 of 34 for 135 yards with two interceptions as the Jets could get very little going against the Bills.

“It’s not on Josh, it’s on the offense in general,” Bowles said. “As a team, we have to play better. It’s not just one person. Everybody has to play better. Everyone plays better, then we’ll do better.”

McCown had a season-high 354 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his start last season against Brady and the Patriots.

“I think we got in a good rhythm in the pass game,” McCown recalled. “We were able to mix it up and everybody contributed. I think that’s the key, and 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, and it gave us an opportunity to do that. Hopefully that will be the case this week.”

McCown will likely be without left guard James Carpenter blocking in front of him. Carpenter sat out practice all week with an ailing shoulder and is doubtful to play.

It wasn’t immediately clear who might replace Carpenter, although Dakota Dozier and Brent Qvale could be options.

Safety Marcus Maye is also doubtful with shoulder and thumb issues. Rontez Miles or Terrence Brooks could start in his place.

Wide receiver Robby Anderson (ankle) and linebacker Brandon Copeland (elbow) returned to practice on a limited basis, but were both listed as questionable. Anderson also missed the Jets last game after being injured against Miami three weeks ago.

Quincy Enunwa, who leads New York with 29 catches, was a full participant after being limited Wednesday and Thursday with a sore ankle.

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