Sunday’s NFL: Bowles mum on Jets’ top QB

Associated Press

Florham Park, N.J. — Todd Bowles has a secret — and he’s not letting on at all.

The only thing is, everyone has a pretty good idea what it is.

The New York Jets coach won’t say who his starting quarterback will be this season, despite all signs appearing to point to rookie Sam Darnold.

“I definitely won’t do it today,” Bowles said Sunday of an official announcement. “Sometime next week … maybe.”


Darnold has started New York’s past two preseason games and appears to be the front-runner in the competition that includes incumbent Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. The No. 3 overall draft pick has been solid this summer, impressing coaches and teammates with his decision-making and ability to quickly digest the playbook.

“As coaches, we’ll meet on it and keep meeting on it,” Bowles said. “I have my ideas in my head, which I’ll keep to myself at this point.

“But, I have a good idea.”

Bowles insisted that the decision is not something he’s even struggling with. No lost moments of sleep while juggling his signal callers in his mind.

“Not really,” he said. “No.”

To anyone watching the Jets throughout training camp and the preseason, it would be a surprise if Darnold isn’t under center when New York opens the regular season at Detroit on Sept. 10.

It would seem unlikely that Darnold will get much, if any, time on the field in the preseason finale Thursday night at Philadelphia — the game when starters typically sit out.

Bowles said he has not told any of the players yet who the starting quarterback will be. And that’s OK, as far as Darnold is concerned.

“I’m not really going about my day any different than I would,” Darnold said. “I’m still continuing in practice to take advantage of every opportunity I get to play football and to be able to play this position.”

Sunday’s preseason

Cincinnati 26, (at) Buffalo 13: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton celebrated a warm reception in Buffalo by completing two touchdown passes in leading Cincinnati past the Bills.

Dalton began the day by making a donation to Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute, then received two standing ovations from Bills fans before kickoff.

Once the game began, he proceeded to complete 11 of 16 attempts for 180 yards over five series.

Linebacker Carl Lawson had 21/2 of the Bengals five sacks in the first half, during which Cincinnati’s defense overwhelmed Buffalo’s starting offense and rookie quarterback Josh Allen.

Arizona 27, (at) Dallas 3: Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown after Dallas decided to sit quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott in what was supposed to be the dress rehearsal.

The Cardinals (3-0) forced eight turnovers to give them 16 takeaways in the preseason. That included two muffed punts by Dallas (0-3), the second recovered for a touchdown by Trent Sherfield to open the scoring in the first quarter.

Owner Jerry Jones said last week he didn’t need to see Elliott, the 2016 NFL rushing leader as a rookie, in a preseason game. It figures to be the first time in three seasons that Elliott, who is healthy, will miss the entire preseason since starters are generally expected to sit in the finales.

Decker retires

Receiver Eric Decker says he is retiring from the NFL after an eight-year career with the Broncos, Jets and Titans.

Decker had been in training camp with the Patriots this summer, but it wasn’t clear he would make the roster.

Decker caught 439 passes for 5,816 yards and 53 touchdowns in his career. He had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons, including a career-best 1,288 yards on 87 receptions in 2013 with Denver, when he reached the Super Bowl for the only time in his career.

Packers trade for LB

The Colts traded inside linebacker Antonio Morrison to the Packers for cornerback Lenzy Pipkins, giving each veteran a chance to impress their new coaches in this week’s preseason finales — and a better chance of making the 53-man active roster.

Green Bay already was thin at inside linebacker after incumbent starter Jake Ryan (Michigan) suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during training camp.

Vikings add center

The Vikings acquired center Brett Jones in a trade with the New York Giants for a 2019 draft pick.

The 6-foot-2, 312-pound Jones started 13 games for the Giants last year. His first career NFL start actually came at left guard in 2016. The Vikings have lost starting left guard Nick Easton, likely for the season, to a neck injury.

Extra points

Adam “Pacman” Jones is reuniting with Vance Joseph, who was his Cincinnati’s secondary coach during the veteran cornerback’s best seasons in the NFL.

Jones signed a one-year deal with the Broncos after visiting the team on Sunday. To make room, the Broncos waived inside linebacker Bo Bower.

... Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews has passed his physical and been removed from the physically unable to perform list. The Titans also placed receiver Michael Campanaro on injured reserve.