Jets need to give Bryce Petty a real shot to prove he belongs

Bryce Petty isn’t going to make any promises even though he’d love to tell you that there’s no better man for the job than him.

He isn’t going to assuage your fears that the Jets’ never-ending search for a franchise quarterback will never end.

He isn’t going to pretend that he can see the future, because he knows damn well that the future, his future, might not be with the team that drafted him two years ago.

Petty wants badly to be the Jets’ franchise quarterback, the leader to take them to a place they haven’t been since man fist walked on the moon, but his crystal ball is blurred.

“You know what? I don’t know,” Petty told the Daily News in a quiet moment about being the future leader of this star-crossed franchise. “I can only control so much. I hope so. I really do. I love it here. I love this team. I love Coach. Shoot, it’d blow my skirt up if that was the case… I’m going to work to make that happen. You got to go out and get it.”

Petty will watch Monday night game’s against the Colts from the sideline. Todd Bowles’ curious decision to bench the second-year quarterback after his first career start against the Rams in Week 10 for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick has led some to wonder whether the brain trust already has made up its mind about the young signal caller. Maybe, they figure, the kid just doesn’t have the goods.

Bowles & Co., after all, are privy to mountains of more evidence than the rest of us. They have lived the Bryce Petty Experience for a year-and-a-half. Surely, Bowles would have handed over the reins to Petty by now if he looked ready in practice.

“I take my bumps, I take my bruises, but I do good things too,” Petty said about his practices. “The good thing about what coach does is A) he’s not going to put anybody in position to fail and 2) he’s a really good evaluator of talent and knowing when you’re ready. I don’t know if it’s as much as I’ve had bad practices, but maybe I’m not ready yet in his eyes.”

“It’s Coach’s decision regardless if you’re stinking it up or if you’re playing well,” Petty added. “I don’t question that part of it like, ‘Man, am I not showing enough?’ Because I feel like I am. I’ve shown a lot of growth. I’m getting better every day. So those are things that I need to pull from and not worry about that doubt or fear that I’m not doing this or that.”

Bryce Petty has been offered little game action this season.

Bryce Petty has been offered little game action this season.

(Szagola/CSM/REX/Shutterstock/Szagola/CSM/REX/Shutterstock)

There’s no denying that Petty has made important strides since being plucked from Baylor’s spread system. His rookie season was an invaluable learning experience even if he suffered at times from information overload.

“I think I was learning so much that not a whole lot of information sunk in,” Petty said. “I was just playing slow.”

He’s picked up the pace in the past year, but the pivotal question remains: Is he learning fast enough for the Jets to justify investing time in him beyond this season?

Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s recent admission that “every young player needs all of the work they can get” and “it helps to play in games” makes plenty of sense, so why aren’t the Jets giving Petty that chance right now given that this 3-8 team is out of playoff contention?

Gailey believes that practices give coaches a “75-80 percent probability” of knowing what a player will become. Games bump it up to “90-95 percent,” according to the offensive play caller, so why not eliminate as much doubt about Petty’s prospects by giving him a chance to showcase his ability in that setting?

Although Petty admitted that he hasn’t mastered Gailey’s playbook, he’s confident that he’s trending up.

“I feel like every time I get in there, I get better,” Petty said. “I just need at-bats.”

When he’ll step up to the plate again is anyone’s guess. While rookies Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Dak Prescott get invaluable snaps with their respective teams, Petty continues to wait with no real commitment from the Jets.

Petty.

Petty.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

“Everybody has a different route,” Petty said. “Fortunately for me, I got to learn a lot last year. Because I can honestly tell you that I don’t know if I was ready had I been called on last year. I feel so much more comfortable this year. Now I’m just hungry for more.”

He speaks with a maturity of a 10-year veteran. His respect for Fitzpatrick, who has been a friend, mentor and teammate, is evident. He has tried to help rookie Christian Hackenberg, too. He’s fueled by competitiveness rather than anchored by bitterness.

“Every day you come in here you got something to prove,” Petty said. “Because they’re looking for the next (quarterback). There’s no time to settle. There’s no time to get complacent, because they’re just going to keep rolling them in and out. So you take it personal on a competitiveness level … not on a I-can’t-stand him-and-I-don’t-even-know-him level. That’s not fair.”

Petty beats everyone to the team facility at 6 each morning (even though he’ll never volunteer that information).

He wants it work. He wants it to work here.

But is there enough time? He felt like he was on the roster bubble in the preseason. Will these final five weeks of the regular season be the final five weeks of his Jets career?

What’s a large enough sample size for a young quarterback trying to prove his worth? Two games? Three? Four? More?

“Who knows? I don’t know if there’s a number on it,” Petty said. “It’s practice. It’s who you are every day in here. It’s the culmination of a lot of things. We’ll see… I’m going to work to do everything I can to make it a point to be here for as long as they let me.”

The Jets need to give him a fair chance in real games to show if he belongs.

Tags:
nfl
new york jets
bryce petty

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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