Just when it seemed like Bryce Petty might have given himself a legitimate chance to become the Jets’ opening day starter . . . and this.
With Petty playing his best football since joining the Jets as a fourth-round pick in 2015, he suffered a freak injury late in Saturday night’s 32-31 loss to the Giants.
Just after he released a pass late in the fourth quarter, Petty collided with Jets offensive lineman Ben Braden, who rolled into the quarterback’s left leg. Petty lay on the turf and eventually walked to the sideline. He then tried to simulate a dropback, but experienced pain in the knee and had to sit down.
“It felt kind of weird,” he said. “[The knee] felt loose. It’s not something you want to feel.”
Petty is set to get an MRI on his knee Sunday.
It was a disappointing development for Petty, who had gone 15-of-18 for 250 yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions in bringing the Jets back from a 29-3 first-half deficit. Petty, who started the second half, finished with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
“It’s unfortunate, but things happen,” Petty said. “You’ve got to roll with it, keep your head up. There’s always a plan with everything. I know I’m in good hands on that. I’ll come back and hopefully be good for next week.”
Jets coach Todd Bowles is expected to decide on his opening day starter by sometime next week, perhaps as early as Monday. It’s uncertain whether Petty’s injury complicates the decision, or whether Bowles is leaning toward 38-year-old veteran Josh McCown, who has played only one series in the first three preseason games. McCown’s reps with the first-team offense have diminished significantly the last two weeks, although Bowles said that’s more a function of getting a better look at Christian Hackenberg and Petty than anything related to McCown’s play.
Petty played well in the second half of last week’s game against the Lions, but felt even more comfortable in offensive coordinator John Morton’s West Coast system against the Giants. He had touchdown passes to ArDarius Stewart on a 25-yarder in the third quarter, and running back Bilal Powell turned a short reception into an 85-yard touchdown later in the quarter. Petty again hit Stewart on a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Petty seemed undeterred by the injury.
“There’s a lot of things that happen that you don’t have answers for, but we just got to keep striving, keep pushing forward and keep trusting,” he said. “That’s what we do. We trust and don’t ask questions.”
Petty isn’t sure which way Bowles will turn with his decision on the Week 1 starter, but he said he’ll support whatever choice is made.
“That’s [Bowles’] decision and he’s going to make whatever decision is best for this football team, so what you want to do is you want to make it as hard as possible,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about us growing as a room and that’s competing each and every day, no matter who the starter is, and being behind each other, because when we’re fighting to be the best that we could be, that makes our offense better. That makes our team better. We’re excited for whatever decision he makes and we’re going to be behind it 100 percent.”