By nearly every metric and even the good-old eyeball test, Bryce Petty is struggling in his first run of starts in the NFL. The New York Jets quarterback isn’t exactly piecing together a resume that says he’s the future quarterback of the franchise.
But he is seemingly better than the other guy on the Jets roster.
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Petty has dropped both games as the Jets starter this year. Through three games – two of which were starts, the third-year Petty is 36-for-76 for 312 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Jets fans have clamored for him for two years now to get a roll out and so far, there has been plenty of evidence that the former Baylor quarterback isn’t quite yet ready for primetime.
This might be a case of the backup quarterback being the most popular player on the team.
Perhaps head coach Todd Bowles was right to not bench Josh McCown earlier this year as the veteran clearly gave the Jets a better chance to win games than Petty. That is not to blame Petty, who seems to have room for growth and the work ethic to improve.
“It’s frustrating. It’s really frustrating. I think that mentally, I know exactly where I want to go with the ball and it’s just my feet are faster – they’re not as relaxed as my mind is if that makes sense.,” Petty said following Sunday’s 14-7 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. “So, I know exactly where I want to go with the ball, I’m seeing things and my feet are just a little bit rushed, so it’s causing me to be a step too much or a step too late - whatever the case. So it’s frustrating. This team deserves better, this offense deserves better, and I know I can make those plays. We’ve got next week and I’m going to grow from this, learn from this just like I always do and take the positive with the positive and work on the things I need to work on.”
According to Pro Football Focus’ John Gatta, Petty “continues to display inaccuracy with his passes -- his 59.3 adjusted completion percentage ranks 26th of 28 qualified QBs this week. Since his first snaps in Week 14, Petty has been the least "accurate" QB in the NFL, owning an adjusted completion percentage of 59.7.”
Petty had just 119 passing yards and a Quarterback Rating (QBR) of 15.4 in the Chargers loss. It appears that the Jets have more confidence in Petty than Christian Hackenberg, last year’s second-round pick that has yet to play in a regular season game and seems squarely entrenched as the team’s backup at this point.
“He’s not bad. Bryce is the backup quarterback. He won it in the summer. You put the backup in. You don’t put a three over a two,” Bowles said. “Christian is not that bad. Bryce did not have a good ball game. It’s only his second start. I’m not going to sit here and condemn the guy because he didn’t play well in week two of starting this year after not playing all year. I’m not just going to jump a guy in that hasn’t played all year and put him up there, either.”