-- FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets' months-long quarterback competition came to a predictable end Monday, with coach Todd Bowles naming journeyman Josh McCown as the Week 1 starter.
McCown will be the Jets' fourth Week 1 starter in the past six years, following Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
McCown, 38, who signed a one-year, $6 million contract to serve as the bridge quarterback, landed the job even though he has played only one series in the preseason -- the first drive of the opener. At least he can say it ended with a touchdown pass.
It was enough to beat out Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty, who could be in a battle for the No. 2 position.
Hackenberg went into training camp as the biggest threat to McCown, but the 2016 second-round pick played poorly in extensive action with the starters. He was outplayed by Petty, but Petty injured his left knee in the closing minutes of a career game Saturday night against the New York Giants.
Petty, diagnosed with a minor knee sprain, is expected to be available for the season opener.
Bowles hasn't said whether McCown will play in the final preseason game, but it would be a surprise because the coach has rested his starters the past two years in the finale.
This creates an unusual dynamic as the Jets turn their attention to the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 10. Not only has McCown sat out the past two games, but he has received only a smattering of practice reps over the past 10 days.
Bowles defended his strategy, saying he wanted to use the heart of the preseason to evaluate Hackenberg and Petty. Bowles said he is "not concerned at all" about McCown's readiness for the opener.
"I got a ton of reps in the spring," McCown said Saturday night. "I'll draw on that, and I'll draw on my past. I've been there before, where you're a backup and you don't get reps, and then you're called into action. I feel like absolutely I'd be ready to go."
Based on experience, McCown was the presumptive starter from the outset, but the Jets gave Hackenberg an opportunity to steal the job. He struggled in one relief appearance and two starts, throwing two interceptions (both returned for touchdowns) and compiling a 65.1 passer rating. In 22 possessions, Hackenberg led the offense to only one touchdown -- against the Giants' backups.
Petty made a late charge, throwing three touchdown passes Saturday night, but he was injured when an offensive lineman rolled into his leg with two minutes left in the game.
It was Petty's third injury in the past 12 months. He underwent surgery in December on his nonthrowing shoulder, the result of another fluke injury.