Bryce Petty was unable to beat out Josh McCown for the Jets’ starting quarterback job, but it appears Petty won the consolation prize of serving as McCown’s backup.
Petty, who was listed as the backup quarterback on the Jets’ unofficial depth chart released Tuesday, was a full participant in practice for the first time since spraining his left knee in the Jets’ preseason loss to the Giants on Aug. 26.
Petty said he was able to practice without any restrictions Wednesday and he potentially could have played in the Jets’ preseason finale against the Eagles if not for the quick five-day turnaround.
“(The knee) felt great, felt fantastic — which I knew,” Petty said. “It was a timing thing. Last week was a little short as far as the recovery process.”
Petty said he will continue to wear a brace on his left knee, but added it’s simply for the “comfortability factor” more so than anything else.
Jets coach Todd Bowles wouldn’t necessarily confirm Petty’s availability for Sunday, but when asked if Petty will play, Bowles responded, “He got a full practice in today.”
Despite Bowles refusing to announce a backup quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Bills, it appears to be almost a foregone conclusion — now that he’s fully healthy — Petty would be the next man up if McCown were to go down with an injury.
While the former fourth-round pick didn’t do enough to warrant serious consideration for the starting job, Petty far outplayed Christian Hackenberg throughout the preseason.
Petty completed 32 of 48 passes (67 percent) for 426 yards and three touchdowns. He threw only one interception and was sacked just twice for 10 yards.
Hackenberg, on the other hand, struggled, and for the second-straight preseason failed to prove he was worthy of that infamous 2015 second-round selection. The former Penn State quarterback completed just 42 of 74 passes (57 percent) for 372 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two picks and was sacked nine times for 59 yards.
For his part, Petty said he isn’t putting much emphasis on whether or not he’s named the second-string quarterback.
“That stuff is just a number by your name,” Petty said. “The thing is we all have to be ready to play. …We’re all preparing like we’re the starter. We’re practicing. You just have more mental reps than you do physical reps. We’re kind of used to that at that end. But the number, the depth chart, that doesn’t affect us. That doesn’t affect how we play.”
Hackenberg said he understands some of the criticism he has received due to his inconsistent play, but he tries to ignore any talk about the team tanking in hopes of drafting another quarterback, and instead chooses to focus on his personal development.
“I stay out of that. It’s their opinions and stuff,” Hackenberg said. “My job is to just come in every day and continue to get better and learn as much as I can from the resources we have in our building and be prepared for when that opportunity does come.”
Unfortunately for Hackenberg, with Petty likely to be named the backup quarterback, that opportunity won’t come any time soon.