FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Bryce Petty doesn’t feel like the forgotten man, even though he’s often the last quarterback mentioned in the Jets’ three-man race.
“It’s OTAs. How do you have an underdog?” he asked.
It’s widely assumed that the organization will eventually name veteran newcomer Josh McCown as their Week 1 starter, while second-year signal-caller Christian Hackenberg is the heir apparent. And to many, that leaves Petty on the periphery.
But the former Baylor star is even more confident in his ability now than he was a year ago. And by no means does he believe he’s already lost the competition.
“No, I don’t feel like No. 3,” Petty said on Tuesday after the team’s fourth OTA practice. “I don’t think Hack feels like he’s No. 3. I don’t feel like Josh feels like he’s No. 3. Or any of the above. We’re just trying to get better as a unit and as a group to get to where we want to be in the season. I don’t read headlines . . . I’m just focused on coming in here and getting better every day.”
Petty, who worked with backups, didn’t fare particularly well during Tuesday’s OTA session. His most egregious mistake? An interception that landed right into the hands of linebacker Randell Johnson.
(Keeping in line with the team’s rotation plan for the quarterbacks, McCown took first-team reps and Hackenberg mostly worked with the second-teamers.)
Asked about Petty’s development, coach Todd Bowles said: “He’s learning the offense just like everyone else. In the fourth practice, it’s starting to slow down for him . . . It’s a process. As OTAs go, you look for him to improve even more.”
Petty said his confidence improved after making the jump last year from third-stringer to starter after Ryan Fitzpatrick was demoted twice and Geno Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury. In six games, including four starts, Petty completed 56.4 percent of his passes and threw three touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“I have the confidence now that, ‘Hey, I can play this game,’ ” said Petty, whose season was twice derailed by shoulder injuries. “And I think that’s a big thing.
“ . . . Some guys need experience to build that confidence. And I think that’s kind of what I needed to see that, hey, I can see a rush, I see the defense, I can make throws, I can throw touchdowns and things like that. That’s part of growing up and maturing in this league as well.”