Bryce Petty announced his intentions return to the Jets starting lineup in Week 16, continuing his audition to be New York’s quarterback of the future. The second-year passer will have the opportunity to boost his stock against a revitalized New England Patriots pass rush on Saturday.
Petty left last week’s Jets loss after getting brutally sandwiched by Dolphins pass rushers Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake.
The former Baylor standout remained on the turf for several minutes before being helped off the field. He wouldn’t return to the game and was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who held down the starting position throughout the first half of the season.
While it originally looked like Petty would miss extended time, medical tests showed he was much healthier than originally thought.
Petty even felt good enough about the incident to make light of it on his Instagram on Sunday.
Petty had an up-and-down performance before being knocked out of the game. He had led the Jets to a brief 7-0 lead before the wheels came off in a 34-13 defeat. For the year, he’s completed just 57.7 percent of his passes and has thrown just three touchdown passes to go with six interceptions. The Jets are hoping these objectively bad performances are just growing pains and he can overcome a slow start to bring stability to the position for the future.
But Petty has been even worse than the man he replaced — no small feat when you consider Fitzpatrick has the league’s lowest quarterback rating among qualified starters. The journeyman passer led the Jets to a 10-6 record last season but has lost the magic that led him to a resurgent 2015. He’s thrown 15 interceptions and only 10 touchdowns for 4-10 New York.
Despite his struggles, head coach Todd Bowles was able to see some good in his bad performance.
Bowles on Petty: "His confidence came around last week which was a good thing but we've got to cut down on turnovers and make better reads."— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 22, 2016
The Jets were likely going to have quarterback trouble no matter who started Saturday. New England beat the Broncos last week behind a ramped-up pass rush that forced four sacks, two of which came from emerging star Trey Flowers. That newfound intensity, plus a mediocre offensive line (the Jets allow sacks on more than 6 percent of dropbacks) could spell disaster for the team’s passer(s) in Week 16.