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All eyes on Bryce Petty as he convinces he belongs

Aug 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) looks to pass as he scrambles with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) looks to pass as he scrambles with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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As the New York Jets continue preseason football, all eyes are on quarterback Bryce Petty, whose currently fighting to maintain a spot on the roster.

Second-year quarterback Bryce Petty of the New York Jets didn’t have the ideal preseason opener he envisioned. Petty was 7-14 with 93-yards through the air against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Besides completing just 50% of his passes, Petty was completely vulnerable behind a weak backup offensive line that allowed the Jaguars’ defense to obliterate him.

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Petty’s name falls in the same hat as others such as Dee Milliner, Trevor Reilly and Brian Winters. Players who are fighting to convince head coach Todd Bowles that they belong. The 25-year old sophomore quarterback arguably has the most attention surrounding him.

It’s truly all eyes on Petty this entire preseason. With the Jets re-signing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during training camp, they are now left with four quarterbacks. Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Petty and second-round draft pick Christian Hackenberg. With Fitzpatrick and Hackenberg’s roster spots secure, a second-round rookie will not be facing a pink slip.

Neither will Fitzpatrick who was re-signed as a returning starter, which leaves Smith and Petty fighting to show who truly belongs. Unless the Jets decide to maintain all four quarterbacks for the season, expect some sort of move by the Jets. Either Smith or Petty might be on the move by Week 1 of the regular season.

According to an article written by Manish Mehta of New York Daily News, when Mehta asked Petty about his thoughts on his upcoming debut against Jacksonville, he said that he wanted to “Brett Favre it.” The sophomore QB also said, “There’s got to be some inspiring plays in there and some things that make them say, ‘Wow! Did you see Bryce?'” said Petty before going 7-for-14 for 93-yards in five series against the Jaguars. “That’s what I want them to say.”

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While his later performance didn’t quite mirror such a big debut, he did do just enough behind a porous line to earn some more reps.

Hopefully for Petty, he’ll have a more supportive group of offensive linemen surrounding him for the remainder of the preseason.

Bowles however maintained his stance that there is no competition between Smith and Petty for the backup role.

He also made it very clear that anyone can fall down the depth chart if the man below them seizes the opportunity.

According to that same article written by Mehta of the New York Daily News, when Bowles was asked about the backup quarterback role, he said. “it’s up for grabs if the other guy plays well,” said Bowles. “It’s just like any other position. If you don’t play well, your spot is up for grabs, and if somebody comes in and takes it and if you let them take it, so be it.”

With Bowles also stating that Fitzpatrick’s, Smith’s and Petty’s performance against Jacksonville was they “played okay,” Petty should see more time. Giving him more reps to perform with the first-team offense will give the Jets a better opportunity to further evaluate him.

Not only that, but the theory of keeping four quarterbacks or minimizing the depth chart down to three.

If the Jets value his well-being, they should minimize his playing time behind third-string players. If they truly desire to observe the talent he possesses, then they must play him with the first or second-string units. Giving him players who most likely won’t make the final cut for the start of the season won’t show much.

Petty was unofficially pressured on eight of 17 drop backs. He was hit four times as well as sacked twice. Petty made the most of his opportunity in the grand scheme of things.

On a positive note, Petty was successful in executing good functional mobility in the pocket as well as being effective in shotgun and pistol formations.

He worked with what he was given and still managed to show signs of progress. The Jets’ endless search for a franchise quarterback has been nothing short of painful. Behind Fitzpatrick, the Jets have seen what Smith is capable of both on and off the field.

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It makes complete sense to give Petty more playing time with a much more functional and reliable offense heading into the remainder of the preseason to further evaluate his future with the Jets. Otherwise, there is no way the Jets can know if he’s a diamond in the rough or someone not worth keeping in the long haul.

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