Bryce Petty has now had five chances over the last 13 months to prove he can be the Jets' Quarterback of the Future.
He hasn't. And he's not.
The 26-year-old Petty was OK in his first start of the season (fifth career), but he was far from good and was a big reason why the Jets squandered an opportunity to pull off a major upset in New Orleans. Despite getting an outstanding effort from his defense, including three turnovers, Petty completed just 19 of 39 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Because he struggled with accuracy and directed the offense to only 294 total yards, he only converted those turnovers into three points in a 31-19 loss.
"It's tough," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. "Normally when you get three turnovers, you normally win the ball game."
That's true. But to be fair to Petty, he was thrown into a seemingly impossible situation when Josh McCown suffered the unfortunate break in his left hand last week. New Orleans is a difficult place to play, even for experienced quarterbacks. Petty, despite being in his third season, is still pretty raw.
That's the positive that Bowles took out of his effort. If nothing else, Petty didn't seem overwhelmed.
"It's his first game," Bowles said. "He played with confidence. It's faster-paced down here. Tough environment. I thought he handled himself well. He'll be more accurate as we go."
Accuracy, actually, was Petty's biggest problem. Even on plays when he seemed to have plenty of time and open receivers, he rarely hit the target right in his hands. And often when he did, he fired the ball late, giving the defender enough time to close the gap and turn the pass into an incompletion.
That it happened with an ultra-conservative game plan -- their only deep shot was to running back Elijah McGuire in the third quarter -- is worrisome. Most of his short throws were low. When he had a receiver open for a mid-range shot, his throws were high. His touch passes were off, like when he tried to find Robby Anderson in the front corner of the end zone in the second half. He might have had him with a back-shoulder throw. Instead, he threw to Anderson's front shoulder and was nearly picked off.
"A little high on some balls, a little low on some others," was how Bowles evaluated his performance. "Poise-wise, he was into the game. I thought it was a good experience for him."
Experience is good, especially for a quarterback. But at some point -- at some point soon -- the Jets have to make a determination about whether Petty has any place in their future. Nothing in that game gave anyone reason to believe he could be their future starter. He looked much more like a career backup who will have to fight each year to stick in the league.