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Jets' QB battle could be closer than most assume

theScore logo theScore 6/18/2017
© Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

With the New York Jets wrapping up their offseason program last week, the team appears no closer to deciding which quarterback will be under center come September.

When the team signed quarterback Josh McCown in March, it was widely assumed the veteran would start - at least as a stopgap until Christian Hackenberg is deemed ready to take over (if ever).

Despite reports of Hackenberg struggling with accuracy (and drilling reporters with errant passes) at Jets practice this spring, it sounds like he's still in the running to claim the starting gig before Week 1.

This is what ESPN's Rich Cimini wrote this week about the quarterback battle:

The quarterback gap isn't as wide as we thought. Christian Hackenberg performed a little better than expected and Josh McCown - aka the kindergarten teacher - wasn't quite as sharp as anticipated, especially in minicamp. McCown remains the favorite to start, but it's not an insurmountable lead. Hackenberg has to show he can perform in preseason games. Bryce Petty is running third. No matter how it shakes out, it won't be pretty.

And here's Brian Costello of the New York Post's take:

The quarterback competition between Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty is the most interesting storyline right now. Hackenberg surprised me, especially during the minicamp. He has made some strides and I’m not sure McCown starting Week 1 is a sure thing.

If Hackenberg's level of play at training camp is even close to McCown's, and based on these reports it sounds like it will be, Hackenberg should be the starter.

Related:Jets would be crazy not to start Hackenberg in 2017

Starting the 2016 second-round pick is a win-win proposition for the Jets, even if it won't necessarily appear that way in the NFL standings. Either Hackenberg shows enough promise that the Jets can enter 2018 knowing they don't have to draft a quarterback, or his play makes it abundantly clear that the team must spend a high pick on a passer after this season.

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