FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — No longer is Bryce Petty packing on the pounds.
“Last year he was fat and overweight,” Jets receiver Brandon Marshall said Wednesday of his new starting quarterback. “I’m being honest. He was fat and overweight, [Ryan Fitzpatrick] picked on him all year.”
A year ago, Petty was a rookie quarterback overwhelmed by a mountain of material in the Jets playbook. Now, he’s the first player in the facility every morning, beating Marshall, who usually leaves his apartment around 5 a.m.
And not only is the 6-3, 230-pound Petty more confident this season, he’s also chiseled too.
“[Cornerback Antonio] Cromartie and myself were the first ones in last year,” Marshall said. “ . . . I’m not even trying to beat Bryce. I come all the way from Brooklyn.
“ . . . He’s been doing that all year. His body’s changed, he’s ripped up, he’s got abs. He’s focused. He goes from the weight room, to breakfast, to film [study] and he’s relentless about it.”
Marshall also praised Petty’s first practice after learning he’d be making his second career NFL start Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers (1-11). “He looked really good,” said the veteran receiver. “Sometimes you don’t want to say too much because you want to keep the expectations low, but I thought he looked really poised and comfortable today. More so than Monday night (when the Jets lost to the Colts, 41-10). He threw the ball extremely well and he threw it where it was supposed to go.”
Petty replaced starter Ryan Fitzpatrick at halftime of the Jets’ lopsided loss and went 11-for-25 for 135 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. After the game, coach Todd Bowles announced that Petty would start their final four games and Fitzpatrick would be his backup.
Asked what advice he would the young signal-caller, Marshall said: “I don’t think I have to give him any advice. I think he has a stud in his room already in Fitz. Everything he needs to know, Fitz is already covering it and he’s probably been doing it two years now. I just have to go out there and play and do my job.”