Head coach Todd Bowles said on Monday that McCown would be the Week 1 starter for the Jets, who will have a different starter in the opener for the fourth time in six seasons.
The well-traveled McCown, 38, played only one series with the Jets -- in the preseason opener -- and threw a touchdown pass. It was apparently enough to edge 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg. Bryce Petty, who had three touchdown passes last week, left that game against the New York Giants with a left knee injury.
Hackenberg was given every opportunity to prove ready for the job after not playing as a rookie. The Jets sent Hackenberg to the field for 22 possessions this preseason, but scored only one touchdown in that stretch.
Last week against the Giants, Hackenberg threw two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.
Bowles said the depth chart behind McCown is to be determined. Petty's knee sprain was "minor," Bowles said, and he is expected to be available for the Jets' preseason finale Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Injuries have dogged McCown in his career, but Bowles said the Jets were not trying to protect him in preseason. Instead, the Jets wanted to use preseason games to evaluate their young quarterbacks knowing McCown was accustomed to being called into action.
In 14 previous NFL seasons, McCown started for six teams. Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, he'll start for a seventh team.