Can quarterback Bryce Petty truly be the ultimate dark horse for the New York Jets? The Jets had one of their most productive and fan approved offseasons in a handful of years. From trading for one of the most productive veteran wide receivers in the league to bringing back the “Dynamic Duo” in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. New general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles have made the right moves in the eyes of the media and fans alike.
The move that most fans were wondering if the new leadership regime were going to make was for a future quarterback to run their team. Although many fans wanted to see the likes of Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston in green and white, the Jets got the next best quarterback in Petty.
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With the 103rd pick in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Jets selected the popular quarterback out of Baylor. Petty throughout the offseason seemed to be overlooked as he was not as immediately NFL ready as Mariota or Winston.
Petty however has been said to be a very hard worker when it comes to football and that he will bury himself within the playbook till he has it down perfect. Petty’s former Baylor head coach in Art Briles commented on what he thought about the doubts people had, when it comes to his former starting quarterback.
Here is what Briles had to say in an article written by Manish Mehta for the New York Daily News:
"“To me, here’s his football IQ: 8,600 yards, 61 TDs, nine INTs, two Big 12 titles,” the coach added. “That’s a pretty good IQ. It’s about how you produce on the field. Did you win? Are you a leader? Do you have the intangibles? Do you love the game? Yeah, he’s got all of those, but the most important one is that he wins. He’s a winner.”"
The coach continued in saying that “Jets fans are in for a big treat.” Petty will be facing an uphill battle especially from a QB that came from a system that is predominantly based on a single read shotgun setup. This allows for the quarterback to get the ball out of their hands quicker and cut out any mental errors from having to read the defense. These type of systems are largely used in college football because of the turnover rate for quarterbacks with their school.
If a school lands a quarterback that is really shining and gaining national attention they can be in and out of the school within two seasons. This causes many teams to rely on a system that can be effective for a large variety of quarterbacks. Although Petty will have a lot to learn during his first season with the Jets, he does have the luck of being placed with an offensive coordinator in Chan Gailey, who is known for being able to fit his system to his players so that they can thrive within it. He is also very lucky to a have a journeyman quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has played within Gailey’s system and thrived.
Petty does have a long way to come until he is completely NFL ready and is ready to take the reins of the Jets as he does seem to have all the physical attributes that will allow him to succeed in the future. This is reiterated by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden. Leading up to the draft, Gruden had Petty participate in his annual “Gruden’s QB Camp” show where he breaks down each tape and reviews it with the players asking them about what they were thinking during the play.
He also tests their football IQ by having them draw out specific plays and what happened during that specific play. Throughout the evaluation, Gruden went over how much he loved the way Petty thought through the plays and how much of a talented arm he possesses. This was due to the ability Petty has of dropping the ball into tight windows in the red zone and down the field.
May 8, 2015; Florham Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) drops back to pass during rookie minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Petty has truly turned heads with his obvious physical abilities and his work ethic, but he has also touched many with his heart and the effort he puts into his fans and the community he’s a part of. He seems to be what every coach and owner want in a quarterback. Petty seems to be the perfect man from holding a bible study in his local community to even gaining so much praise that his teammates love playing for him.
ESPN writer Max Olson even wrote a piece on Petty called “Turns out Bryce Petty isn’t perfect.” In it, he talks about the silly things that Petty isn’t good at. For example, according to fellow teammates, Petty is an awful dancer and singer. It seems like Petty has everything you can ask for in a quarterback, he just needs to learn and transition into an NFL system.
Petty may or may not be the future for the Jets, but one can be certain they are willing to give Petty the season to develop and learn the offense that he may be running in the future and maybe even beyond that. Petty already has had his ups and downs in OTA’s and mini-camp, but it’s going to be a fun ride to see if he will one day take the reins and bring the Jets back to the playoffs.