The Jets quarterback quandary will wind through Geno Smith before the inevitable next stop during this lost season: Bryce Petty’s time is coming.
The second-year quarterback offers this star-crossed franchise some hope for the future. The temporary transition from Ryan Fitzpatrick to the erratic Smith is doomed to fail. Petty will be next in line to show team decision makers that he deserves serious consideration to compete for the starting job in 2017.
“To this point, I’ve been taking advantage of the checks,” a candid Petty told the Daily News. “I want to contribute. I want to compete. But that’s everybody in this locker room. So, I just have to continue to get better and study that book and study the gameplans and be ready to rock n’ roll. That part hasn’t changed since Day One…. So, definitely, yeah, I’m ready to play.”
Petty might have already had his chance if not for a shoulder injury suffered in the preseason finale in Philadelphia that prompted him to miss five weeks of practice. He displayed poise, pocket presence and a cannon arm during a promising preseason that opened plenty of eyes within the organization. He was far from perfect, but he flashed enough to make decision makers wonder about the possibilities.
Although Todd Bowles said that Petty, who returned to practice on a full-time basis last week, needs to “practice a good bit and get reps,” before becoming a serious option to start, don’t be fooled. Petty will get a chance when the 1-5 Jets lose their eighth game (signaling the unofficial official end to any flickering playoff hopes), if not sooner.
“Shoot, I want game action,” Petty said about getting a chance to play at some point this season. “I think that’s what everybody in this locker room wants… is to get an opportunity. That’s all you can ask for in life in general, much less in this game. So, I definitely want an opportunity. … My plan is to go in and prepare like I am and then just wait for my number to be called and just jump on that opportunity. I’ve been in this league a short amount of time, but what I have learned is that when you do get your opportunity, you got to jump on it. Because they’re quick and few and far between.”
Petty’s work ethic is commendable. He is literally the first quarterback to arrive at the facility at 5:30 each morning, according to people other than Petty. He has been a willing learner for the better part of the past year and a half. He has never complained, whined or tweeted cryptic messages about a lack of playing time. He is authentically humble. He has leadership qualities that should be cultivated.
The organization’s decision to draft Christian Hackenberg in the second round prompted him to elevate his game. He entered the preseason unsure whether he’d even make the Week 1 roster. He responded by outplaying Smith and Hackenberg before getting hurt.
The preseason success emboldened him.
Bryce Petty will likely lean on Ryan Fitzpatrick for advice, and Fitzpatrick is eager to continue to play the role of team leader despite his reduced playing time.
(Norm Hall/Getty Images)
“The biggest thing is the confidence level,” Petty said. “When I was in the game, I was so much more comfortable than I was (last year). In the last two weeks on scout team… it’s a totally different feel. I’ve built a foundation now from OTAs this past year to camp to preseason to where it’s like, ‘Man, you can play. You can do this.’ And that’s huge for the quarterback position. You got to be confident with your abilities. Last year was a whirl-wind like ‘Man, this is a lot.’ Now it’s like, ‘I can do this.'”
Petty will lean on Fitzpatrick for guidance as always. Fitzpatrick is still the team leader even though his job description has changed. He’s always willing to help.
“Well, I still am,” Fitzpatrick told The News about being the team leader. “I still am going to be looked at as that. I still have to go about my business that way, but it’s hard because it’s in a different capacity. But that just doesn’t go away. … The respect that guys have for me just doesn’t go away because I’m not out there playing.”
Fitzpatrick has been an invaluable resource to Petty, who’s been smart enough to understand how helpful the veteran can be to his development. His time is coming.
The Jets need to evaluate what they have in him. He provides hope.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News