Bryce Petty Has Immediately Provided The New York Jets Flexibility
Brad Mills, USATSI

Not only has young Bryce Petty showed incredible improvement, he’s now provided the New York Jets with incredible QB flexibility.

Just like that, the second-year kid from Baylor is a hot commodity.

Bryce is ‘NYCe’ #NYJ #NYJvsWAS

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Bryce Petty’s overly impressive night in our nation’s capital on Friday night not only gave hope to the New York Jets that they can, indeed, develop a raw quarterback, it allowed Mike Maccagnan to breath much easier.

Mikey Mac no longer has to feel the pressure about the quarterback situation as it relates to the 53-man squad.

Rarely, in this day and age, does an NFL team keep four quarterbacks. That’s why the general consensus around Florham Park, NJ was that Petty and Geno Smith were actually battling for a spot on the roster – not just the No. 2 slot.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter and Christian Hackenberg is obviously safe. As it relates to Hack, the reason quarterbacks rarely find their way onto the practice squad is because all 32 teams are QB vultures. They sit and wait for their next prey, hoping that another team attempts to ridiculously slip one through waivers.

It’s not that New York won’t keep four quarterbacks on the roster, it’s, now, they don’t have to. Petty made that happen.

The kid was cool, calm and collected all night. His final line of 16-of-26 for 242 yards and two touchdowns doesn’t even tell half the story.

First of all, he showcased that golden arm. One direct example of that was the Jets first offensive score of the evening:

Obviously, this bullet of a pass to Zach Sudfeld on the post is worth every penny when digging for examples of arm strength. Where the interesting point lies, however, is how tough a connection it truly was.

The Skins were in some form of a Cover 3 on the play. Sudfeld was running a post directly at the free safety. Petty, as tough as it was, found a lane to get through the underneath zone level and hit his target at the perfect moment before the free safety and outside third corner could converge.

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Moreover, he did this while knowing the left edge pressure was getting to him. Petty stepped up just enough to cover for his left tackle. He felt the pressure while keeping his head downfield.

His other highlight reel moment of the night came during a big moment in the game (if any moments of preseason action can be labeled “big”).

Petty immediately recognized the play. He saw either a Cover 3 or 1 look with the single-high safety shading to the right side. This meant the only play was to rookie Robbie Anderson who was running a nine-route against press coverage.

It led to a confident throw in allowing Anderson to make a play while providing the Jets with their first lead of the game with just 4:04 remaining:

Forget the raw skills. We know that’s there. It’s what made this kid a fourth-rounder with a ton of potential two years ago.

What we’re seeing is development in between the ears at the NFL level. We’re seeing Petty dissect defenses and react quickly.

This is something Geno Smith has failed to show on a consistent basis in the league. It’s something the fans who back Geno fail to grasp. It doesn’t matter who your weapons are if the QB, the leader of the team cannot read and react properly.

The NFL in 2016 isn’t the league for Jeff George’s anymore. There is no more run-n-shoot. The days of raw physical abilities far outshining smarts at the QB position are long gone.

Geno’s poor 6-of-13 night for 47 yards and one terrible interception will only compound the poor attitude problem being reported out of camp.

The only thing saving Geno Smith from the unemployment line was the issue of whether Petty and/or Hackenberg could actually serve as the backup QB in 2016.

Immediately, after just one stellar half of play, Petty seems to have broad enough shoulders to take on that role.

Now, Mikey Mac is smiling knowing he’s not forced to keep four quarterbacks.

NEXT: The Defense Struggles Again, Petty Impresses In Week 2 Of Preseason (Highlights)

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