Then and Now **Second-year QB Bryce Petty will make his first road and second career start Sunday against the 49ers, marking his first full game since Week 10 against the Rams. Head coach Todd Bowles, along with his coaching staff, is excited to see Petty's growth in the last quarter of the season, but also recognized the strides he's made from last year, as did offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.
"When he came here, coming from Baylor where they didn't even huddle, he had to learn huddle," Gailey told the media Thursday. "He had to learn calling out the Mike, protections, everything. He's come an extremely long way since he got here, but there's a long way to go. There's still some more that he's got to do and I think as time goes on he'll get better at."
Despite Petty's success at Baylor, he was considered an enigma because of the unique scheme he ran in college. However, both Gailey and Petty's teammates expressed their confidence in the former fourth-round pick throughout the week.
Gailey recalled a conversation with Petty when the quarterback said, "Coach, the question comes up how I've been in that offense and can I learn what you need me to do? Well, I learned Baylor's offense and learned how to go play in that. I can learn this offense."
"So the confidence factor," Gailey said, "led you to believe he'd be able to do it."
*Still Fighting *Following Monday's blowout loss to the Colts, Bowles initially questioned the team's effort, but after watching film he attributed the performance to mental errors. Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers echoed similar sentiments, saying his unit lacked execution and made "simple" mistakes such as communication breakdowns. With that being said, he very much believes the defense is still mentally strong and undeterred by its performance against Indianapolis.
"They're all frustrated," Rodgers said. "They'd much rather be 9-3 than the record we have, but those guys are still working hard. They're still trying and a joy to coach every day."