Sport Josh McCown, Jets starting offense look decent in win over Titans

06:51  13 august  2017
06:51  13 august  2017 Source:   New York Daily News

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Josh McCown led the Jets down the field on the team’s opening drive. - Elsa/Getty Images© Provided by New York Daily News Josh McCown led the Jets down the field on the team’s opening drive. - Elsa/Getty Images

The Jets starting offense certainly didn't look like the worst unit in NFL history Saturday night.

Gang Green kicked off its preseason slate against the Titans at MetLife Stadium and actually looked competent moving the ball on the opening drive of a 7-3 win -- a relatively surprising feat considering the lack of talent and depth at most positions, especially wide receiver.

BOX SCORE: JETS 7, TITANS 3

Josh McCown, the 38-year-old journeyman, started under center and led the Jets on an eight-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. Second-year receiver Charone Peake, who entered this season with 19 career catches, hauled in a short reception and crossed the goal line for a four-yard score. It was the first time the Jets scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the preseason since 2003 at Tampa Bay, when Chad Pennington was the starting quarterback.

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McCown and Jets picked up a massive chunk of their yardage on a long completion to Robby Anderson, who was elevated to the team's No. 1 wide receiver after Quincy Enunwa was placed on injured reserve Monday because of a bulging disc in his neck. Anderson joined the Jets as an undrafted free agent last spring and caught 42 passes in his rookie season. Now he's the second-most experienced receiver on the active roster.

If the Jets offense is going to be anywhere close to adequate this season -- which is a lofty goal -- Anderson must have a breakout campaign. And he showed signs of that ability Saturday night.

On the sixth snap of the game, McCown dropped back in shotgun formation and unleashed a soaring throw down the right sideline. Anderson had sprinted untouched off the line of scrimmage and created separation on cornerback Logan Ryan. McCown's pass floated in between Ryan and safety Kevin Byard and into the waiting arms of Anderson, who fought for the end zone but was tackled out of bounds two yards short.

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It was a 53-yard connection. Three plays later, Peake found the end zone.

Charone Peake celebrates his first quarter touchdown. - Elsa/Getty Images© Provided by New York Daily News Charone Peake celebrates his first quarter touchdown. - Elsa/Getty Images The drive was even more unexpected considering both Matt Forte (hamstring) and Bilal Powell (neck) -- the Jets' top two running backs -- sat out the game with injuries. Rookie sixth-round pick Elijah McGuire started in the backfield, and while Gang Green attempted to run the ball in the opening series, they didn't have much success.

McCown threw for 72 of the 73 yards gained on the scoring drive. The other five came on a penalty.

McGuire finished with six carries for seven yards.

That lack of production is hardly all McGuire's fault, though. The Jets also boast an unproven offensive line, and three of the five starting positions are up for grabs: right tackle, center and left tackle. Right guard Brian Winters and left guard James Carpenter are the only locks.

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Josh McCown wants to be the New York Jets ' starting quarterback. He expects to win the job and keep it. The Jets got a close look at Josh McCown in October, when he threw for 341 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Browns in a loss at Cleveland.

Josh McCown started the preseason opener for the Jets , and the way he played in his only series will improve his chances of starting at quarterback when the regular season begins. The Titans ’ offense tonight didn’t look like what the Titans ’ offense will be in the regular season.

Free agent signing Kelvin Beachum started at left tackle Saturday night. Wesley Johnson, who started eight games at center for the Jets last season, began the game in the middle of the line. And Brent Qvale started at right tackle.

That group of five played two series to start the game, one in front of McCown and one in front of second-year signal-caller Christian Hackenberg, who completed 18 of 25 passes for 127 yards in eight possessions.

Hackenberg's first series came with the entire starting offense. He completed all three of his passing attempts for 17 yards. For most of the night, though, Hackenberg was limited to short throws by John Morton, a savvy move from the greenhorn offensive coordinator.

Morton has one of the toughest challenges in the league this season, attempting to run a successful offense without many playmakers. But Saturday's opening drive was an encouraging step in that process.

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