DENVER — Bryce Petty will get another chance — perhaps for the final time — to prove he can be part of the solution for the Jets.
The third-year quarterback replaced the injured Josh McCown late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Broncos. In all likelihood, Petty will get the opportunity to start again, perhaps for the remainder of the season.
McCown, who hadn’t missed a snap until Sunday, suffered a broken left (non-throwing) hand and was fitted with a cast. He will have further tests, but he acknowledged his season might be over.
If McCown is unavailable for next Sunday’s game in New Orleans, coach Todd Bowles said Petty, not Christian Hackenberg, will start.
“I’m ready to go,” said Petty, a fourth-round pick out of Baylor in 2015. “You never want to see [McCown] get hurt. We have to pick up the slack in the [quarterback] room. It’s going to be a big opportunity for us, but at the same time, you want to make him proud as much as anybody else.”
McCown got hurt when he was hit after a completion to running back Matt Forte with 2:42 left in the third quarter. He walked toward the sideline and went to a knee before being examined by the team’s medical staff. X-rays taken in the locker room showed he had fractured the hand.
“I’ve seen [McCown] get up pretty quick, but that was a little tougher on that [hit],” Petty said. “It made me get my helmet. He played his butt off, he fought and fought, and that’s what you want in a leader and a veteran guy. We see it day in and day out, his grit and his passion for it.”
Petty took over late last season after Ryan Fitzpatrick was injured and started four games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against the Patriots on Dec. 24. He threw three touchdown passes and seven interceptions.
With the Jets almost certain to acquire a quarterback next season — in the draft or free agency or a trade — Petty might not be in their long-range plans. Even so, he insists he won’t approach the rest of the season as a final audition to remain with the Jets in 2018.
“Shoot, man, I’m not worried about that,” said Petty, who was 2-for-9 for 14 yards. “We got three games left, and I’m going to give my heart and soul and prepare this week for New Orleans. Whatever happens in the future happens. All I can do is worry about the things that I can control, and whether Josh plays or whether he doesn’t, I’m going to go in there and prepare and be ready to lead this team.”
Hackenberg, who would be the primary backup to Petty, said the Jets will “be ready and keep preparing. We’ve always done that.”
Hackenberg said he was extremely disappointed to see McCown hurt.
“Just seeing him in the locker room [expletive] for a lot of people, just because of how much respect he has gained in this locker room,” said Hackenberg, the team’s second-round pick in 2016. “Josh has been a rock for a lot of us on this team. We hate, all of us, hate seeing that. He’s been awesome. The most important part is making sure he’s all right.”