The New York Jets have quite the quarterback situation on their hands but make no mistake about it, they are grooming quarterback Bryce Petty to be next in line once he’s healthy.
Sep 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
For the first five weeks of the season, the New York Jets posted their injury report, and quarterback Bryce Petty was listed as “did not participate” and out for the game. However, things changed last week, as he was a full go in practice.
That means only one thing. Let’s all start the countdown until Petty is seen for the first time in regular season action.
Quarterback Geno Smith is listed as the team’s backup on the depth chart. So, it would make sense for him to be next in line, right? However, the team seems to not trust Smith.
Normally, teams go in order of their official depth chart, and Petty is the third string quarterback. However, he’s next in line if they go to someone other than Ryan Fitzpatrick. There could be several reasons why. Here are the top five reasons that it makes sense to go right to Petty this season.
Next: 5. The punch heard around the world
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali (51) takes a breather on the bench during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
5. IK Enemkpali‘s punch
If Petty’s career gets jump started, he can thank one man, former linebacker IK Enemkpali. The punch heard around the football world effectively ended Smith’s career as a starter.
None of the players in the locker room had Smith’s back. Neither did the coaches after that.
That punch proved to head coach Todd Bowles that Smith lost the locker room. Bowles is a former player, and he knows how important locker room chemistry is.
Once Smith got punched over a $600 debt, and no one had his back, Bowles knew it was time to part ways. With that said, Smith is still on his rookie contract, so it didn’t cost much to keep him.
Next: 4. Smith is only on the team as a viable backup
Aug 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) looks to pass against the New York Giants during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
4. Smith is only on the team as a viable backup
When Petty went down in the final preseason game, the Jets still decided to keep four quarterbacks on their final roster. That’s part and parcel due to both Smith’s experience in the NFL and with this team.
They could’ve cut Smith and signed a veteran backup, but that would mean he would’ve had to learn the new system and probably not be ready were anything to have happened to Fitzpatrick in Week 1. In addition to that, Christian Hackenberg was nowhere near ready to see any meaningful game action.
So keeping him was their best option. It’s not a big deal, though, because Smith can play and can win games.
Smith hasn’t started yet because the coaches don’t trust him. However, they needed someone with experience to back up Fitzpatrick just in case he got injured.
Next: 3. The schedule
Oct 28, 2015; London, United Kingdom; General view of NFL Nike Shield logo at Niketown London in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
3. The schedule
Fitzpatrick couldn’t handle the good teams in the NFL. The Jets fell to 1-5 with their loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and their season is basically over, no matter what the team says.
Only one team in the Super Bowl era has made the playoffs after starting 1-5. So, history isn’t on the Jets side.
They have three tough games remaining on their schedule with the rest of them winnable. So, getting some experience in both tough games and winnable games can build confidence for a young quarterback.
The Jets get to face the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins (twice), Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers in this stretch. All of them are good teams to build confidence against.
Next: 2. The contracts
2. The contracts
Petty is locked up through 2018, and Smith’s contract is up at the end of this year. So, it makes no sense to throw Smith to the wolves to see what he’s got.
Let’s say they do throw Smith in there as a starter and he performs well. Do they give him a one-year deal to see if he can do it for a full season?
If they do that, it leaves Petty with no true game experience. Therefore, they wouldn’t have a viable backup in 2017.
Smith has had his chance, and in the eyes of many, he’s failed. So, they should give the young quarterback who’s locked for at least the next two seasons a shot.
Next: 1. Petty needs to show if he can do it in real action
Aug 19, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) throws a pass in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
1. Petty needs to show if he can do it in real action
It may have been only the preseason but Petty has shown he can handle the NFL. The defenses in the preseason may be vanilla, but you have to start somewhere.
Petty has shown some growth and ability in the 2016 preseason. He was able to lead three touchdown drives through the air, and his yards per attempt went up from 5.8 to 8.6.
Now it’s time to prove it under the bright lights. Petty has a cannon for an arm, and that’s great, because now the teams have weapons that can separate and get down field.
He also showed a rapport with wide receiver Robby Anderson during their preseason time together. So, that’s a plus going forward.