Bryce Petty out of second chances to prove value to Jets

It’s now or never for Bryce Petty with the Jets.

If that sounds harsh, so be it. But it’s reality.

The words we expected hear from Todd Bowles about Josh McCown were delivered shortly after 3 p.m. Monday.

“He’s out for the year,’’ the Jets coach said of his 38-year-old starting quarterback, who broke his left hand in the third quarter of the Jets’ 23-0 loss in Denver on Sunday and requires surgery.

What’s next for McCown, who was extremely emotional after the game, feeling he was “letting’’ his teammates down? Who knows?

But everything that has taken place in the last 24 hours — the injury, the way McCown spoke so emotionally after the game and Bowles’ tone on Monday — sure had a feeling of finality to it.

“I have respect for him as a player and a man,’’ Bowles said Monday in a rare public show of his inner feelings. “We’ll move on from there, but we’ll forever be connected.’’

So Bowles and the Jets move on to Petty at quarterback. He has these final three games to prove he belongs at least in the conversation as the Jets 2018 starter.

Petty is a nice young player oozing with enthusiasm and someone who has shown signs of moxie and leadership in the small chances he’s had to play. He’s a guy easy to root for, because he’s remained upbeat through numerous setbacks.

But Petty is in his third season with the Jets and, beginning Sunday in New Orleans against the Saints, he’ll have his first true chance to show the Jets he belongs as a part of their future, that he’s more than the backup they’ve viewed him as since they drafted him in the fourth round in 2015.

Petty doesn’t have to be perfect. He doesn’t have to go 3-0 (though that would help). As long as he stays healthy and plays in all three games, he’s rewarded with games against the 9-4 Saints, the surging 7-6 Chargers and 10-2 Patriots (entering Monday night) the rest of the way.

Petty does have to show more consistency than he has in the seven NFL games he’s played, during which he’s completed just 54.2 percent of his passes for a 5.80 yards per attempt, with three TDs, seven INTs and a 57.9 passer rating.

He has to get the Jets into the end zone, which they failed to do Sunday — the first time they’ve been shut out since 2014.

“It’s an opportunity for him,’’ Bowles said. “He knows he’s got an opportunity to step up and make plays, and we look forward to seeing him play. He’s been taking notes on the sideline from Josh.’’

Petty showed some encouraging signs of improvement when he played in the preseason. But that was summer and this is December. And his 2-of-9 for 14 yards on Sunday isn’t going to be good enough against anyone, let alone some of the league’s elite.

“Mentally, I know he’s come a long way,’’ Bowles said. “He’s learned a lot from Josh standing on the sideline, but until he plays physically, we won’t know that answer [to how far along he is].’’

So now the fans who failed to appreciate McCown for all of the things he’s brought to the Jets — on and off the field — get what they want for these final three games of the season. They get a look at the young quarterbacks, Petty and Christian Hackenberg, an exercise a lot of Jets fans wanted in the first place as this season began.

Hackenberg, the 2016 second-round draft pick who’s 29 games into his NFL career, has never taken a snap in an NFL regular-season game. Now he’s one step closer to that and, if the Jets are smart, they get him into some of these final three games — even with Petty starting.

“I have all the confidence in the world in Bryce,’’ center Wesley Johnson said Monday. “He’s great in the huddle, great in the locker room. He works hard. He prepares like a starter every week. I’m not worried about him at all. I’m actually … I’m excited for the opportunity he can get. I think he’ll do well.’’

So, too, does receiver Jermaine Kearse.

“I think Bryce is going to come in prepared and he’s going to be ready to go,’’ Kearse said. “His energy is high. His presence in the huddle is there. He has the ability to make tough throws and be able to extend the play. I think that’s on thing that’s going to come in handy for us.’’

It had better. It needs to. Because it’s now or never for Petty.

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/12/11/bryce-petty-out-of-second-chances-to-prove-value-to-jets/

Leave a Reply