Now that the Jets have Ryan Fitzpatrick back as their starting quarterback, that is one story-line to thankfully take off the board.
NFL training camps are in high gear as teams continue to prepare for the upcoming season. The New York Jets have a handful of potential position story-lines worth keeping an eye on, the backup quarterback position is one of them.
Geno Smith is, for now, the backup for Fitzpatrick. Smith, while Fitzpatrick and the Jets were negotiating a new contract, stepped in as the presumptive starter. His experience puts him as the most sensible choice as Fitzpatrick’s number two.
Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg could be competing for the third quarterback spot, that’s if Bowles decides against carrying four quarterbacks on the depth chart.
With Fitzpatrick and Smith taking the majority of reps, there’s little room for Petty and Hackenberg on-field progression to be evaluated by Bowles.
Bowles, when asked on how Petty performed at a recent practice, confirmed as much on the different approach he has to take when gathering data on his young quarterbacks.
“He did okay,” said Bowles. He made some good throws, he made some mistakes. I’ll watch the film and see how he did overall. I wasn’t concentrating on him completely, but he showed some poise. I’ll see what kind of practice he had when I look at the film.”
The Jets used their 2016 second round pick to draft Hackenberg, it’s logical to conclude the Jets will have him on the team at the least, for continued development. Petty, the Jets second round pick last year, could find himself on the bubble.
It’s hard enough for an NFL coach to evaluate one young quarterback, Bowles and his staff have two of them on their roster. Patience is one key he’s emphasized in the process.
“It’s hard when you have four of them (quarterbacks) to improve,” Bowles said. “But he gets the mental reps. Any young quarterback that’s coming in is going to need some mental reps. Any young quarterback that’s coming in is going to need some mental reps and need some time. To throw him out there and say, “We’re going to play a base defense,” we would be lying, so he’s seeing things for the first time and rightfully so, he’s going to look rusty a little bit because everybody else has seen it quite a few times.”
It remains to be seen if the Jets will carry all four quarterbacks on the roster. What we do know is that the case can be made for the Jets not cutting any of them.
Fitzpatrick is on a one-year deal and Smith is in the final year of a rookie contract. New York, at some point, will have to begin looking ahead towards a long-term solution at quarterback, that player could be on their depth chart right now.
This is still a manageable situation where Petty and Hackenberg could be kept on the roster for further development.