Jets’ Petty proves why Fitzpatrick should start

Rookie QB Bryce Petty had a very rough outing in his first preseason action -- giving more reason for the team to start Ryan Fitzpatrick.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Jets’ Petty proves why Fitzpatrick should start

If you were a Jets fan hoping that Bryce Petty could actually challenge journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick to start now that Geno Smith is out of action with a broken jaw, Thursday night’s preseason game against the Lions did not fan the flames of hope.

Petty completed just 10 of 18 pass attempts for 50 yards. He completed nothing over 10 yards in the air, attempting only three such passes, and looked very uncomfortable at times.

The Baylor offense is far from NFL-friendly, relying on spread concepts and wide-open single-covered receivers down the field all day long. In an NFL offense, with a little more nuance to it, Petty looked in over his head for much of the game.

The physical tools were clearly all there, but the adjustment period for him is going to be significant. There was even one play where he either forgot he was supposed to be under center, or (a more concerning possibility) simply didn’t know and had to be physically shoved into the correct position by veteran running back Bilal Powell.


Fitzpatrick by contrast only played the first series with the first-teamers, but completed two of his three passes and was close to completing the third but for a nice play by the defender to break it up. The placement of that final pass was dangerous, but at this point he looks the only real option for the Jets at QB until Smith is healthy. As we wrote earlier this week, he has been better than you might expect the past two seasons.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • a57se

    What a stupid article.
    A rookie 4th round QB isn’t ready for primetime! WOW!!!

    • JC

      “If you were a Jets fan hoping that Bryce Petty could actually challenge journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick…” clearly there are some fans out there who believe they should throw him in the fire and let him start.

      • Sam Doohan

        Well I can at least see the argument there. At this point Geno isn’t likely to succeed with the Jets and Fitzpatrick is a known quantity at this point. And if there’s another garbage fire in New York then I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought Petty into the first team just to see what they have.

        He’s underdeveloped now but he’s only going to develop if he gets to play with the starters. Sure that might lead to another clown car season for Jets QBs but if they are 1-5 already then it makes sense to try him out, see how he prepares and what he’ll do given the opportunity.

        I definitely agree that they need to start Fitzpatrick to start the year but like a lot of other QB needy teams you absolutely have to try the other guys out. No-one really knows who is going to be effective in real games against real NFL caliber defense until they get out there and do it. And that leads to a lot of eye rolling performances but there’s been a lot of good QBs who started as back up and thrived once they had the chance – Look no further than Tom Brady.

        • JC

          I disagree, sometimes you throw a player into the fire too soon, like Blaine Gabbert, and they never recover, especially QBs who come out of shotgun, one or two read, spread systems. I think under no condition should Petty play this year. Unfortunately for the Jets they continue to prioritize defense over offense.

          • Sam Doohan

            If a guy doesn’t know the playbook or doesn’t even look good in practice then you shouldn’t start him but that’s true of EVERYONE in football. Obviously they shouldn’t play Petty if he looks crappy in practice. But if he looks good enough to go on the field and this season is going poorly then how can they not give him a chance?

            Looking good in practice isn’t enough to decide who’s a good player in the real world so any opportunity to try players out in real world situations is critical. Petty obviously shouldn’t be starting but he absolutely should be getting on the field if the Jets have the chance.

            It doesn’t matter how much the Jets develop Petty off the field or how good he looks in practice, they can’t even see his real ability until he’s playing against someone under the lights. Again, look at basically every backup who has ever taken the job from a starter – Their teams saw them practice every week, saw them prep, saw them pass but that alone wasn’t enough to put them in ahead of anyone else. It was performing in a real game that got these guys the job.

            No-one saying Petty should start. But in blowout games getting him in for a 4th quarter is a smart move. It’ll let his coaches see how he handles himself and gives him the chance to rise to the occasion. Barring injury a good player will never be hurt by getting first team reps in a real game.

            Gabbert didn’t fail because he was thrust into the role too early, it’s because the Jags were a bad team. He was playing injured and with almost no support in a run-centered offense. He certainly could have played better but the ‘damage’ was injuries and an absolute lack of talent around him.

    • Douglass Pinkard

      Jeez, bro, get a grip. It’s not that serious.

  • Jpick

    I still love petty and know hell be good in the league. Wait til the lights come on.