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NY Jets Spotlight: Bryce Petty

New York Jets v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Welcome to the Spotlight. Here we spotlight one key player for each game of the season, hopefully putting a different player in the spotlight each week. Today's player in the spotlight is New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty.

Bryce Petty is a 26 year old, 6' 3", 230 pound quarterback out of Baylor University. Petty was drafted by the New York Jets with the 103rd overall selection in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft. While at Baylor Petty played in a very simple scheme that did not prepare him for the complexities of running an NFL offense. As a result Petty was viewed as a developmental project who might take years to develop. Now towards the end of his third season in the NFL and approaching his 27th birthday, the developmental phase of Bryce Petty’s career is drawing to a close.

For better or worse, Petty's time has come. Petty was thrust into the Jets game last week when starter Josh McCown broke his hand, and the results were ugly. Now Petty is the starter, for the second time in his career, and this may well be his last shot at proving he belongs in the mix for a starting quarterback position in the NFL.

Thus far in his NFL career Bryce Petty has played in seven games, starting four. In that brief playing time Petty has completed a paltry 54% of his passes, thrown more than twice as many interceptions as touchdowns, and posted a dismal 58 passer rating. That’s not good. The season ending injury to McCown means the Jets are Petty’s team now, at least for Sunday, and likely for the next three games. The opponents are all very tough. The New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots are nobody’s idea of an easy slate. Nonetheless, whether or not Petty has been dealt a bad hand here, these are the cards he must play, and play well, or he may not get another shot.

Bryce Petty has very good arm strength. In football parlance he can "make all the throws." His arm is not in question. It is the rest of his game that the Jets need to evaluate. Has he improved upon his previously terrible performances reading NFL defenses? Can he process information quickly and efficiently and make good decisions based on what he's seeing? Can he get the ball away in a consistently timely manner? Can he avoid too many costly sacks and turnovers? How does he deal with defensive pressure? How is he in two minute situations? These are the types of things the Jets need to evaluate over the next three games in order to begin to determine whether Bryce Petty has a long term future with the team.

If Bryce Petty excels over the next three games, or at least proves composed, confident, and competent, he will make the case for the Jets retaining his services in 2018, and perhaps even giving him a shot to compete for the starting quarterback job. If Petty is terrible these next three games Petty may not have much of a future with the Jets, or perhaps any other NFL team.

The 2017 NFL season is over for all practical purposes for the 5-8 Jets. This game against the New Orleans Saints represents, in effect, the start of an extended tryout for Petty for the 2018 season. This is Bryce Petty's time to shine. This is an opportunity for a developmental 4th round project quarterback to seize the day against one of the better defenses in the NFL and begin to make his case to be a starting quarterback in this league. Bryce Petty, the spotlight is yours. May you shine brightly this Sunday in the Big Easy.