NORTH CALDWELL, N.J. — Bryce Petty isn’t interested in hypotheticals.
The arrival of rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg is a reality he can’t ignore, but Petty said he isn’t wasting time worrying about what it all means.
Instead, the 2015 draft pick is focused on himself.
“It is what it is,” Petty said Monday at teammate David Harris’ annual charity golf outing, when asked about the Jets’ decision to take Hackenberg in the second round. “For me, I don’t deal with hypotheticals so it’s all about control what you can control. Hypotheticals are, ‘What’s going to happen with it?’ You don’t know. You don’t know.
“They drafted him, that’s what I do know,” added Petty, whom the Jets drafted in the fourth round last year. “What I also know is that it doesn’t affect me as a teammate in the locker room, it doesn’t affect my preparation in the spring. It doesn’t affect any of that. For me, I have to go out and prove that they made the right choice the year before and whatever happens, happens.”
Questions about Petty’s long-term future with the franchise were raised after the Jets selected Hackenberg 51st overall on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. But the former Baylor quarterback insists there’s a “night-and-day difference” in his ability to read defenses now.
“For me, it’s a process,” he told NJ.com. “Just watching film, I’m seeing things.
“I played Madden the other day, and it’s not just picking run plays anymore. It’s like, ‘Oh, they’ve got an under front.’ You start picking up things differently. That’s exciting for me.”
Not only will Hackenberg join Petty and Geno Smith in the Jets’ quarterback room, but the team still hopes to re-sign veteran free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick before training camp.
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said Monday that the challenge of keeping four quarterbacks is “you can’t give them enough reps to develop. That’s the problem you have.” But so far, he’s impressed with what he’s seen from the three QBs he currently has.
Asked about Petty’s development after one year, Gailey said: “Getting better. He made big strides in one year.”
Petty acknowledged this offseason will be paramount for him.
“I think that’s the key, especially right now,” he said. “It’s my job to go prove, and that rests solely on my shoulder. So I’m excited about OTAs starting and ready to see the development from Year 1 to Year 2, not only in the film room but actually hit the field and be able to see things and go from there.”
Smith, now in his fourth NFL season, quickly walked by reporters when approached for an interview. “I got no time,” he said.
Gailey, however, noted that Smith has learned a lot in the past year.
“I think he’s made giant steps too,” Gailey said. “I think he’s right on track for where I’d like for him to be.
“Just understanding offense, defense, fronts, coverages, how they go together, thought processes about where to go with the ball,” added Gailey, now in his second year with the Jets. “And probably part of it is getting used to our offense. How we call things. He was in different offenses the first two years, so all of a sudden, it’s his second year in the same offense. So he’s got a little bit more of a comfort level from that. So you have to make sure you don’t just say he’s gained a bunch of knowledge. The comfort level is a big part of that too.”