FLORHAM PARK, NJ - Despite some fans holding on to some sort of delusional hope that quarterback Bryce Petty will somehow be ready to start this season the reality is his rookie year is all but destined to be a red-shirt year.
Petty has the physical tools to, one day, be an NFL quarterback (size, toughness, mobility in-and-out of the pocket and a more than strong enough arm), but he is far from a finished, or NFL ready, product. Petty needs to learn verbiage far more advanced than anything that could possibly conceived at Baylor, needs to learn how to read coverages and dissect defensive schemes before the snap as well as work on some raw technique issues such as using his lower body more in his throwing motion instead of making his arm do all the work.
All of this sounds so much simpler than it is but don’t be fooled. Petty certainly won’t fall for that trap and neither should the fans. The same adjustments Geno Smith had to make on the fly these last two years is exactly what Petty has to look forward to, in fact Petty probably has a bigger adjustment than Smith had which is exactly why Petty was still available in the fourth-round.
The Jets may still face uncertainty at the starting quarterback this season but general manager Mike Maccagnan did not draft Petty expecting him to compete for the starting job this year. He needs time to sit, learn and develop and that will be a long and drawn out process but a it’s process Petty is committed to.
“It’s a process,” Petty said when asked about learning the playbook. “It’s one you have to take day by day. It’s a mountain that I’m ready to climb and that I’m excited to climb. Being in a spread offense where things might have been a little bit more simplistic in college and then coming here, being able to play quarterback a little bit, not that we didn’t in Baylor, you just get more on your plate here, which is what I love. It’s why you play the position.”
Of course learning the playbook is about much more than just knowing the play-design. As a quarterback you have to, not only, know what each individual teammate is supposed to do on each play but you also have to be able to tell each player what their responsibility is, on any given play, by learning the proper verbiage.
“That just goes to my preparation. And for me, that’s exactly what I want to do right now. If you guys weren’t in here, I’d be in the playbook and that’s kind of what I said all along. It’s more about the person than it is the player as far as when you come out of a system,” Petty said. “For me, I want to be the best, I want to be productive, I want to put my guys in the best chance to be successful so they can get the ball and that comes with me knowing what to do. So any chance I get, I want to get in the playbook, learn it as quickly as I can, retain it, and go from there.”
Petty has, rightly or wrongly, been labeled a “system quarterback,” and even though he understands why people say this he looks forward to shedding that label.
“Like I said before, it’s a process. It goes day by day,” Petty said. “So hopefully one day you guys will stop talking about me as being a system quarterback, but right now I have to pay my dues. I’m excited about that, I’m ready for that challenge.”
As Petty embraces the process people around him continue to talk about his aptitude and his intangibles but coach Todd Bowles doesn’t want to get ahead of himself. As great as those intangibles are to have, as Bowles explains it, intangibles are really just a new way of saying potential.
“I don’t know if it gives him a chance or doesn’t give him a chance,” Bowles said. “It gives him a chance to learn it and he can get better and he has all the intangibles, but that word is thrown around so much, it’s sort of the new word for potential. He has intangibles to be a good quarterback as well as our other guys, so we’ll throw him in the mix and see what happens.”