SAN FRANCISCO — Just how much has Bryce Petty learned during the past year?
The Jets knew the former Baylor quarterback possessed the size and arm strength to excel in the NFL. But the coaching staff had to teach the 2015 fourth-round pick quite a bit, starting with the basics.
“When he came here coming from that offense, where they never even huddled, he had to learn huddling, he had to learn calling out the ‘Mike’ [linebacker]. He had to learn protections. He had to learn everything,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “He’s come an extremely long way since he got here, but there was a long way to go. There’s still some more he’s got to do [and] I think as time goes on, he’ll get better at.”
Petty is poised to make his second NFL start Sunday after being named the Jets’ starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. After relieving Ryan Fitzpatrick at halftime of their 41-10 loss to the Colts on Monday night, Petty was named the Jets’ No. 1 quarterback by coach Todd Bowles.
The 25-year-old completed 11 of 25 passes for 135 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Colts. In his first start against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 13 — Fitzpatrick was sidelined because of a sprained left knee — he was 19-for-32 passing for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Despite the steep learning curve, Petty’s belief in himself never wavered. “My goal since I’ve been in here is to be the starter for the New York Jets,” he said this past week.
Asked if he believed Petty could progress far enough to become the Jets’ starter, Gailey said: “He made a statement when we were talking one time. The question [to him] came up, ‘You’ve been in that offense, can you learn what we need you to do?’ He said, ‘I learned Baylor’s offense and learned how to go play in it. I can learn this offense.’
“So the confidence factor led you to believe that he would be able to do it, yes.”