It will be the first career start for Petty, whom the Jets selected in the fourth round of last year’s draft. He did get his first taste of regular season NFL action last week when he came in for the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, who suffered a minor knee sprain. Petty was in the game for all of four snaps, and he completed both of his passing attempts for 19 yards. Fitzpatrick subsequently reentered and finished the game, and he practiced every day this week, albeit on a limited basis.
As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com points out, Fitzpatrick and Petty received an even number of practice reps during the week, and although Fitzpatrick was “trending toward starting” by the end of the week, head coach Todd Bowles has decided to roll the dice on Petty.
Cimini further observes that this decision could make things complicated for Bowles. Despite Fitzpatrick’s struggles and the Jets’ disappointing 3-6 record, Bowles has remained publicly committed to the veteran and has made it clear that he believes Fitzpatrick still represents the team’s best option under center. In a separate piece, Cimini writes that Bowles preferred a healthy but unproven Petty over the banged-up Fitzpatrick, and it seems as if Fitzpatrick could be reinserted into the starting lineup next week if his knee is sufficiently improved (unless Petty sets the world alight with his performance today). If Fitzpatrick does return, there will be a fair amount of backlash from Jets fans, who have been clamoring for Petty to replace the struggling Fitzpatrick for weeks.
Petty served as the backup to Robert Griffin III during his early collegiate career at Baylor, but he became the Bears’ starter for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. His tenure was nothing short of prolific, as he passed for more than 8,000 yards and 61 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions during those two seasons.
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