Bryce Petty Injury Opens The Door For Christian Hackenberg

The scene wasn’t pretty. Trailing by more than two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty called a play. Immediately he was sandwiched by two of Miami’s most fearsome defenders, Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh and with it the Jets quarterback situation gets murky yet again.

As reported by the NFL Network, Petty suffered a chest injury that forced him to leave the game. The scans were negative, but according to Ian Rapoport Petty will undergo further scans.

The injury put embattled Ryan Fitzpatrick back into the mix as the Jets starting quarterback next week. Fitzpatrick has been twice benched this season, once for Geno Smith after racking up several poor games in a row early on in the year. Smith played well but was quickly injured in his only appearance against the Baltimore Ravens. A torn ACL put Smith out of commission for the remainder of the year and Fitzpatrick back in the starters role.

With the season in freefall, Jets fans were clamoring for coach Todd Bowles to bench Fitzpatrick for Petty. He eventually did after the Jets were embarrassed on Monday Night Football against the Colts two weeks ago. But over two-plus games, Petty showed why coach Todd Bowles was so reluctant to play him earlier in the season, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

“After a terrific first possession, he became easy prey for the Dolphins,” Cimini wrote, “who schooled him at every turn.” It was a stark contrast to his performance the week before when Petty started the game poorly but finished strong.

“Petty (20-for-36, 235 yards) didn’t experience early-game nerves. In fact, he started with a snazzy 75-yard possession, culminating with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson. The most encouraging part about the touchdown was Petty’s pre-snap read. He recognized a favorable coverage for Anderson, changed the play from a run to a pass and hit him on a crossing route. Baby steps, right?”

Cimini also notes that Petty was playing at a bit of a disadvantage, having to operate behind a “makeshift offensive line, down three starters, which suffered a myriad of breakdowns. It overshadowed a terrific game by Jets running back Bilal Powell, who amassed 162 yards from scrimmage — including 11 catches for 78 yards.”

And now the Jets QB situation is in disarray…again. If Petty can’t go it not only means a return to the starters role for Fitzpatrick but also means second round pick Christian Hackenberg would be the backup. The Jets would then be one Fitzpatrick injury from seeing Hackenberg in action for the Jets which would be quite the sight for New York fans.

Considering the team kept four quarterbacks heading into the regular season and had every intention of red-shirting Hackenberg all year, this would be quite the predicament for the Jets. Christian played sparingly in the preseason and showed very poor mechanics whenever he was in there. He’s the definition of a project. Fitzpatrick meanwhile, really has no future with the team after failing to play well on his current 1-year deal.

No, the real test was supposed to be for Bryce Petty. These four games were going to show whether or not the Jets would cut loose the former 4th round pick in the offseason or whether he would continue to develop as the potential answer for New York at quarterback. But thanks to the chest injury Bryce Petty may not get the chance.

[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]