Jets quarterback Bryce Petty believes his four starts last year have been invaluable for his fifth career start Sunday against the Saints.
"Not to sound like a broken record, but when you don't know going into it, you have no idea," Petty said. "So I understand what our game plan is like and what a game week is like, so that builds well to go down there. I'm excited about the opportunity.
"The more you're out there, the better it gets and the easier it gets," he added. "That's what I've been happy about really — my progress the last couple of years is just getting better, which is what you want. Trending upwards."
In the six games the third-year quarterback played last season, he threw for 809 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions. In addition to having more of a feel as a starter this year, he has a new coordinator in John Morton, who's making somewhat of a homecoming this weekend.
Morton had two coaching stints with the Saints in 2006 and 2015-16. Petty said Morton's knowledge of New Orleans' personnel has been helpful for game planning and Petty is excited for the opportunity after a small sample size last Sunday. The 6'3", 230-pounder completed two of his nine passes in relief of Josh McCown against the Broncos, most of them facing a 20-point deficit. New Orleans ranks No. 10 against the pass and has tallied 18 takeaways, which ranks 11th in the league.
"Yeah, any game on the road in this game is tough," Petty said. "New Orleans is no different. With a dome, it's going to be loud, we're going to have to stick together. For my first start on the road, that'll be a good experience for me. Going against Drew Brees will be awesome. I'm excited."
McCown has not only been a teammate to Petty and second-year signal caller Christian Hackenberg throughout the season but a mentor as well. McCown's advice to Petty for the final three games: be yourself.
"It's not about trying to replace Josh and trying to be Josh," Petty said. "It's to be Bryce and find little successes, whether that's how I approach the game or in the game. Just smiling is important, understanding that it's a blessing to be here. I think that's something I was upset with myself about last game, I don't know if I smiled too much. I wanted to bring us back. Just smile, have fun and enjoy what I'm doing."
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While many others may view this as an audition for the Baylor product, Petty is focused on the guys around him.
"This right here is for these guys in this locker room," he said. "I have nothing as far as looking towards the future. This right here is for these guys in the locker room. It's for Josh. He set a standard as to how to be a professional, how to be a quarterback."
"I just want to continue that standard that Josh has set."