With Nothing to Lose, Jets Should Give Kid a Chance

Bryce Petty is apparently OK to play on Saturday. How? Even I’m still feeling the pain from the bone-crushing double whammy the QB received from Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake in last week’s contest against the Dolphins. 

We know this for certain about Petty: he doesn’t lack toughness. We also know he’s a true NFL quarterback. As I said a few weeks back, the second-year pro has proven that he can last a long time in the league. 

What Petty hasn’t yet shown is that he can be a solid starter, one who consistently gives his team a decent chance to come out on top. The QB has won one of his three starts while throwing twice as many INTs as TD passes, and his 64.6 rating is even worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick’s slightly less unsightly 69.1. 

But it’s more than just the numbers. Petty makes the occasional impressive downfield pass, but it’s very much the exception. Unfortunately, the rule with him is that any toss more than 10 yards north and south is essentially up for grabs. A good QB makes his receivers better. Petty makes his worse. 

Over the past three games, Quincy Enunwa has come away with only 50 percent of the balls thrown his way. And as for Brandon Marshall -- the very rare species of WR so sublime that he usually makes his quarterbacks look better -- he’s caught just eight of 27 targets. 

It looks as if Petty will play against the Pats this weekend, and that makes sense. Fitz’s ship has sailed, and throwing Christian Hackenberg to the Belichick-led wolves would likely scar the rookie for life. 

But when the Jets conclude this nightmarish season on New Year’s Day vs. Buffalo, Hackenberg should be starting under center. 

We keep hearing the kid isn’t even close to ready. Well, when will he be -- and, more importantly, how will he get there? 

Full disclosure: I never would’ve drafted Hackenberg if I were Mike Maccagnan, and I don’t think he’s anyone’s QB of the future. I watched the Jets second-round choice a few times when he was at Penn State, and while he showed flashes of impressive talent, he was just too inaccurate to bank on. 

Remember, Hackenberg completed just 56 percent of his passes in college. Tim Tebow, who can’t hit the side of a cruise ship, converted on 66 percent at Florida. 

But the fact is that the third-stringer has already been tested, starting for three years in the Big 10 while playing behind an offensive line that, due to severe scholarship restrictions, was hardly even a speed bump for opposing defensive fronts. 

Hackenberg showed Gang Green’s front office enough that they believed he was worth the 51st overall pick (as the fourth QB selected) just eight months ago. 

Does the organization really want to be in this same spot next season, with no clue as to whether the kid can play? 

Give him a shot. At 4-11 (after the Pats whip them), it’s not like the Jets will have anything to lose.

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