The announcement Josh McCown is the Jets starting quarterback for opening day proved as shocking as karaoke singers being omitted from Grammy Awards. Bryce Petty, competing for the backup job with Christian Hackenberg, got the word, admitted he had his opportunity for the job and claimed he has his eyes set on one assignment.
To be the starter.
“Right now our focus is being the starter,” said Petty, 26, a fourth-round pick out of Baylor in 2014. “I know that’s already been named but you don’t come in to be the backup. You come in to be the starter and that’s how you approach it.
“It’s not about [job] titles. It’s about being the best quarterback that you can be.”
Petty received some good news over the weekend — the left knee injury he suffered in the preseason game against the Giants on Saturday that ended his strong performance was confirmed as only a sprain, not a tear. Just as he kind of knew McCown would end up as the starter, he also kind of knew the Grade 1 MCL sprain was not actually a tear. An MRI exam confirmed that. Still, it was nice to hear.
“It feels good,” said Petty, who did “individual stuff” while wearing a supportive wrap on the knee at practice in Florham Park on Monday. “On the field [Saturday] they said everything felt good so that was a relief to me and the MRI just confirmed that. It was nice that it was confirmed it was nothing serious.”
Petty insisted his knee felt strong enough that he hopes to play Thursday in the final preseason game against the Eagles.
“It’s coach’s decision, but I’m going to do everything I can to make it hard to not play,” Petty said.
Petty was having a strong effort Saturday before the injury. He threw for three touchdowns, completed 15-of-18 passes for 250 yards after relieving Hackenberg at halftime. It’s all part of the improvement Petty — and head coach Todd Bowles — felt were on display in preseason.
“He’s had legit improvement all training camp. It wasn’t just in the games. You see it in practice and in his maturity and the way the game was slowing down,” said Bowles, who noted he still has time to name his backup.
Bowles also said all three quarterbacks will be available Thursday.
For Petty, that could more opportunity. Whenever he gets a chance, in practice or games or whenever, he is determined to seize the chance.
“I learned that last year and that’s why it’s so important to me to not settle and not be complacent with anything because you never know when you’re opportunity is going to come,” Petty said. “You have to be ready because they are so few and far between as far as showing you’re capable. … Until that point I’m going to support Josh 100 percent and do everything I can to be a good teammate.”