Todd Bowles officially announced that Fitzpatrick will no longer start for the Jets this season, and that Bryce Petty will be the man for the next four games. Many will state that this has come way too late in the season, but it is still better late than never. Ryan looked disinterested and the whole team showed a lack of effort in the thumping received by the hands of the Colts 41-10 on national TV on Monday night, the biggest stage of NFL football every week.
After a ill-thrown interception by Fitzpatrick in the 2nd quarter, Petty looked like he was alerted that he will be going in and he did. He finished 11/25 for 135 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. He showed he could make some really nice and crisp throws on target, and then he showed that when things are not perfect, he throws some random balls and his accuracy can be off. No one excepts him to be Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady in 2 games, and yes, that is what we have to understand. He has played in less than 2 NFL games. To judge or rate him as an NFL quarterback today would be absolutely ludicrous. Even the most experienced professionals in this business would say you need at least a dozen quality NFL starts in a row to judge any quarterback, and many others would say at least 18-25 games.
The NFL quarterback position is hands down the toughest position to play consistently in sports. It requires that rare combination of reflexes, strength in lower and upper body, quick thinking and proper decision making, great vision, knowledge of the game, unequivocal work ethics in the film room, and most importantly, courage. The speed at the NFL level cannot be compared to college or practice. Thus most quarterbacks need to get used to that timing first on how long they have to throw, how quick their receivers are, and also, accepting the fact that when they get hit, they will hurt more than they have every experienced before, and it will happen over and over again.
Bryce’s first game was versus the Rams, who have a top 10 pass defense in the NFL. He executed a very conservative game plan and showed pretty much what he showed against the Colts. The great part was his composure, he never panicked, held the team together, and his post game press conference showed a maturity and intelligence that may serve him very well. This played through on Monday night as well, where he showed that even though he missed his favorite target Robbie Anderson twice for long gains downfield, he made an adjustment and finally got him on the third try for perfectly thrown touchdown. This type of adjustment and execution shows he is learning and executing, which is a high significant barometer in a young quarterbacks progress in his early days in the NFL.
Now we have 4 more weeks where he will get first team reps and starts, and that should relax him more and better prepare him. he lost many reps earlier this season because of injury and being behind Ryan and Geno Smith. Now the whole team is on him and he can lead and succeed or crumble. From all indications so far, he seems to be handling the responsibility well and the true test in his numbers will come when he faces:
49ers (14th ranked pass defense)
Dolphins (11th ranked pass defense)
Patriots (12th ranked pass defense)
Bills (8th ranked pass defense)
There is no easy game there, but it is his job to show that he can overcome these challenges and still improve and exceed expectations and make the Jets organization believe that he is the man for 2017.