The San Francisco 49ers face an inexperienced quarterback on Sunday when Bryce Petty starts for the New York Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick had been the starter, but he was benched at halftime of the team’s 41-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts this past Monday. Petty took over, and after the game, head coach Todd Bowles said the plan all along had been to have Petty start the final four games.
Whether that’s true or not, Petty is starting on Sunday. User In Joe We Trust put together an initial look at Petty, with some highlights and analysis. I decided to follow up with David Wyatt of Gang Green Nation. He had the following to say about Petty, who is making his second start as a member of the Jets.
Petty came from that Baylor offense which is largely a one-read system for the QB, so when we took him, we knew he'd be a project. He had the benefit of sitting for a year last year and despite missing some time earlier this year through injury, he's had another year in this offense, learning the reads, getting through his progressions, and working from under center.
So far this year he's played one game against the Rams, where he was largely reigned in with a lot of short passes and some really uninspired play calls. He made some good throws, but he also struggled when his first read wasn't open, which was a major concern for evaluators during the draft. He was put into a no-win situation against the Colts, so I wasn't surprised to see him struggle.
He does have a very strong arm and he can make every throw in the book. He has size and he moves in the pocket well. It's hard to know how many of his strengths will translate to the NFL level because we just haven't seen him. I personally don't think he's the answer. From what we've seen, he still struggles to read defenses and he struggles moving through his progressions. However Jets fans are just happy to have an unknown back there after watching Fitzpatrick throw interception after interception, and not be held accountable for his poor performances.
We know that Fitzpatrick isn't the long term answer. A lot of fans don't think Petty is either, but at least we have four games to get a good look before we head into the off-season. As for moving on to 2017, it's likely both Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith will be playing for someone else, so it's good to get an idea of what we have with Bryce.