Granted it's still early, but the signs were there.
Sure, Bryce Petty was facing the Falcons' backups. But Jets fans still witnessed flashes of an NFL-caliber QB.
Petty, the Jets' fourth-round pick out of Baylor, was 12 of 19 for 168 yards and a touchdown in Friday night's 30-22 preseason win over Atlanta at MetLife Stadium. The most impressive part of his performance is that he looked far more comfortable in the pocket than he did in last week's preseason loss to the Lions.
"For me, he was a little more poised," head coach Todd Bowles said. "And that's the progress we're trying to get with him - get better every week, a little bit better every week. And he got better from last week to this week, so hopefully he'll keep moving forward."
On Wednesday, the Jets signed veteran backup Matt Flynn to a one-year deal, reportedly worth $930,000, plus a $60,000 signing bonus. But with little practice time before the Falcons game for Flynn, it was clear Petty would be given another opportunity to shine against other backups.
And the rookie quarterback didn't disappoint.
After leading the Jets on two scoring drives in the second quarter (Nick Folk field goals of 36 and 29 yards), Petty teamed up with wide receiver DeVier Posey for a 13-yard score that gave the Jets a 23-14 lead late in the third quarter.
"Just experience," Petty said about his newfound pocket poise. "I think last week I had no idea what to expect as far as the game goes, as far as myself personally and emotionally, how it would roll, and so I felt like coming in to this week I would have a better understanding of how things went down and how things worked.
"I felt a lot more comfortable out there. There was definitely progress as far as where I was last week to this week so that's good."
He also had completions of 46 yards (to receiver Saalim Hakim) and 21 and 17 (both to receiver Jeremy Kerley).
"It's progress every week and that's what I got to keep telling myself, every day, to get better, and every week to get better," Petty said. "I can't get complacent, I can't get happy about this. I have to get back in there in the film room and go to work.
"I still have to get better at decision making. I think especially situationally in the red zone I have to throw catchable balls that only our guys can catch and allow us to score points and not put ourselves in jeopardy down there. We're learning."