December 11, 2016
Bryce Petty's New York Jets 2017 Audition Begins Under Less-Than-Ideal Circumstances

Will the future New York Jets quarterback please step forward?

As reported by ESPN, today marks the start of the Bryce Petty era in New York Jets football and all eyes will be on how he performs against the equally woeful San Francisco 49ers. But despite the fans clamoring for weeks for Petty to replace the horrendous Ryan Fitzpatrick, Rich Cimini thinks things aren't exactly stacked in Bryce's favor.

"Petty is stepping into a challenging situation. His inexperience (91 regular-season snaps), coupled with a depleted and ineffective supporting cast, will make it extremely difficult to accomplish his ultimate goal: to claim the 2017 starting job."
Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott
[Image by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images]

Cimini is quick to note that, despite being a fourth round pick like this year's surprise sensation Dak Prescott, the Jets and Cowboys are light years different in talent surrounding the quarterback, making any such comparison prohibitive to Petty's development.

"Petty didn't have a full training camp with the starters; he has had only one full week -- actually, a short week. He doesn't have Ezekiel Elliott or the NFL's best offensive line to protect him. In fact, he will play behind a line missing three starters. The offense has generated only 33 points in the past three games, so it's not as though he's being handed the keys to a Ferrari."
But you can't blame the Jets fandom for being impatient and expecting to see results. Last year's banner year for incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick turned out to be a mirage. After throwing for almost four thousand yards, setting team records for touchdowns and nearly leading the team to the playoffs, Jets fans expected similar results this year – especially considering the team went out and signed top free agent Matt Forte to help bolster their offensive line.

But instead, Fitzpatrick is ranked as one of the worst quarterback in the league this year, posting 14 INTs to only ten touchdowns according to the NFL, and leading the Jets to one of the worst red zone offenses in the league. Their decision not to sign Fitzpatrick long term is looking like a strong one from GM Mike Maccagnan, but it still leaves the Jets searching for their starter in 2017.

New York may have thought their future starter was on the roster in the form of backup and former second round pick Geno Smith, but unfortunate circumstances intervened yet again during the season. Smith went down with an ACL tear midway through his first game back as starter in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens. You might recall Geno was poised to be the starting QB in 2015 when he was punched in the face by fellow teammate IK Enkempali. The blow broke Smith's jaw and ended his chance of leading the Jets at QB in 2015. Fitzpatrick's poor play in 2016 opened the door for a Smith audition after Ryan significantly underperformed on Monday Night Football Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, but that did not go as planned.

New York Jets Ryan Fitzpatrick
[Image by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]

Fast forward to now and it took one of the all-time worst performances from his team, yet again on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts to trigger the audition for Bryce Petty. The team was embarrassed 41-10 on national television with Petty coming in for mop-up duty in the second half of the game. He finished with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Bowles wasn't overly effusive or dismissive over Petty's performance, according to Northern New Jersey Dot Com, recognizing the situation he was brought into wasn't quite ideal.

"He was against the odds," Bowles said. "They were up a bunch, so they played a prevent defense. He threw a couple of good balls. He threw some bad balls. Obviously, you don't want to turn the ball over, but we were down 31-3. Those things are going to happen."

And now they'll look to Bryce Petty over the next four games to see what they have in the young quarterback.

[Featured Image by Rich Schultz/Getty Images]