Let the Petty audition begin

Bryce Petty knows what’s at stake.

The Jets’ second-year quarterback has four games to prove that he’s capable of being more than just a backup. He’s gone from third string behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith to having complete control of the the first-team offense. And how Petty fares, starting Sunday in San Francisco, could go a long way in determining his future.

The Jets front office felt he was worth investing in and made the unconventional decision to keep four quarterbacks, including rookie second-round draft pick Christian Hackenberg. So now, the real audition for Petty begins.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t know that,” said Petty, 25, a 2015 fourth-round draft pick. “At the same time, I’m trying to take it one game at a time. For me, this is an awesome opportunity . . . I get to help my team in any way I can. I hold that real ly high on my priority list.” But his priority is getting a win. “I’m going to do all I can to win in San Francisco and then the rest will take care of itself,” he said.

So what does offensive coordinator Chan Gailey expect to see from Petty?

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“You always expect the best,” Gailey said. “You expect a guy to go out and play extremely well. I think we all realize there will be some bumps in the road, but you expect the best.”

There are two major differences between Petty and Fitzpatrick, Gailey said: experience and arm strength.

“He’s got a really strong arm, which we all know,” he said of Petty. “But other than that, they are similar in a lot of respects.”

Do sacks really come in bunches?

That’s what the Jets coaching staff keeps saying. Unfortunately for them, those sacks don’t seem to be coming their players’ way.

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Since sacking Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton seven times in Week 1, the Jets have only 13 sacks in 11 games.

“Sacks come in bunches. They really do,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. “You see some guys all of a sudden have a four-sack game, then all of a sudden he has five or six sacks and he’s right there tied for the lead on the interior guys. They come in bunches.”

With only four games left, the Jets are running out of time to see their sack totals cluster again.

“Trust me, I want them. I want as many as we can get,” Rodgers said. “But those guys are steady working at it and we’ll just keep trying to get there.”

Defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson (2.5) and Sheldon Richardson (1.5) haven’t had a sack since Week 8 and Week 7, respectively. But Rodgers and head coach Todd Bowles said they’re pleased with the effort shown by both players.

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“It’s more disappointing we’re not winning and we’re not playing good defense than sacks or anybody playing or not playing well,” Bowles said. “With the way we’re playing, you can make a case for anybody playing or not coaching well on defense.

“Sacks, turnovers, interceptions, correct defense, all of that helps get wins. It’s not about Muhammad and Sheldon. It’s about the entire defense.”


2016 - 20

2015 - 39

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2014 - 45

2013 - 41

How bad are the 49ers?

Think the Jets have issues? Consider this: the 49ers are last in the NFL in total defense (416.2), rushing defense (169.3) and scoring defense (30.8).

THE X-FACTOR: Matt Forte

The Jets should take advantage of the 49ers’ struggles against the run and give Forte the ball often. The running back, who turned 31 Saturday, needs 60 yards from scrimmage to reach 1,100 for the ninth straight season. He’d join Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin and Ricky Watters as the only NFL running back to begin a career with 1,100 or more total scrimmage yards in nine straight seasons.

Marshall’s memory

The last time Brandon Marshall faced the 49ers, he was a member of the Bears and caught three TDs in Chicago’s 28-20 victory in 2014. Too bad he doesn’t remember much about that game.

“I took a couple pain pills that masked the pain. I really wasn’t supposed to play,” the Jets receiver said on a conference call with Bay Area writers this week. “I came back from a high ankle [sprain] within 10 days. I was supposed to be out four to six weeks. I don’t remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls.”

Taking a knee

Colin Kaepernick says he’ll continue to kneel during the national anthem. “I’ll stand when I feel like this country represents what it says it represents,” the 49ers quarterback said. “Black people and people of color have been oppressed by this country, by this system in many ways and there are many things that need to be addressed and when those things are addressed fully, then I’ll stand.”

Kaepernick — who was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert after being sacked five times for minus-25 yards and going 1-for-5 for 4 yards against the Bears — said he’s seen changes as a result of his ongoing silent protest.

“I think people are having conversations about it now, which is a start,” he said. “It’s not something that we’re trying to hide or sweep under the rug. As a community now, it’s something that we have to talk about, we have to address, so there is progress as far as realizing and admitting that there is an issue, but now there are a lot of steps and a lot of things that need to be changed in order to fix those issues.”

Magic number

6: Tackles David Harris needs to tie Mo Lewis (1,231) for second on the Jets’ all-time list

Time travel

The Jets will make their longest trip of the season, traveling 2,543 miles to the Bay Area. They’re 2-10 all-time against the 49ers and 1-4 on the road. The Jets’ last win against the 49ers was 22-14 at Giants Stadium on Oct. 17, 2004, when Curtis Martin rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns.