By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Jets believe that Sam Darnold is the franchise quarterback of the future, but the Patriots are going to have to wait before being able to make an assessment.
The rookie quarterback sat out of Thursday’s practice due to a foot injury, leaving him unlikely to play Sunday against the Patriots. UPDATE: The Jets have ruled out Darnold for Sunday.
That absence will keep Josh McCown in a starting role for New York.
As a result, the quarterback matchup of the 41-year-old Tom Brady and the 39-year-old McCown will be the second-oldest combined age of starting quarterbacks in NFL history.
McCown has completed 17 of his 34 passes (50 percent) this season for 135 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He started against the Patriots last year, going 31-for-47 for 354 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 24-17 home loss, remembered largely for the “controversial” Austin Seferian-Jenkins fumble at an end zone pylon.
McCown’s only other experience as a quarterback against the Patriots came all the way back in 2004, when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals. In that game, he completed 13 of his 29 passes for 160 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions — both of which were made by Eugene Wilson. Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinest each had a pair of sacks, while Mike Vrabel recorded one sack for himself. Tom Brady threw for 219 yards (120 of which went to David Givens) with two touchdowns and two picks of his own, while Corey Dillon rumbled for 158 yards on the day.
None of that history will have any effect on Sunday’s game, of course, but the fact that so many of those players have been out of the league for so long does shine a light on just how long the careers of both Brady and McCown have spanned. (That was Brady’s fifth NFL season, and McCown’s third.)
McCown also has some rather unique experience against the Patriots, as he was used as a receiver for the Lions when they visited the Patriots in 2006. He caught two passes for 15 yards after then-offensive coordinator Mike Martz was fed up with his receivers and decided to use his 6-foot-4 quarterback to catch passes.
That, too, likely won’t play a role in Sunday’s game. Though with the rise of trick play passes to quarterbacks, one never can be too sure.