Bryce Petty New York Jets vs Detroit Lions

Bryce Petty, Preseason Week 1, and the Detroit Lions

Rookie QBs in preseason aren’t going to be pretty. I’m not going to pretend this is going to be an article of pretty throws. It’s going to be a messy article full of conservative throwing and overanalyzing tiny errors to point out where Bryce Petty needs to improve in the future. Most of the issues we’ll see here will likely not be there when he sees the field again next year in preseason but it’s fun to see just how much he needs in order to turn into an NFL capable player.

Unfortunately, All-22 view is not available for preseason games- which means there will be some guesswork involved in these especially with defensive alignments, so any defensive alignment i mention is not an absolute certainty, just a guess based on what’s visible. It doesn’t help that Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin uses some crazy coverages that involve mixing man and zone based on reads and offensive formations.

Target Distribution by Distance

Outside Left Numbers Left Middle Numbers Right Outside Right
20-29 0/1
10-19 0/1 0/1
1-9 3/4 2/3 1/3 1/1
Behind LOS 2/2 1/2


Bryce Petty didn’t complete a single pass over 10 yards. One was overthrown, another had a LB knock it down by reading his eyes, and the other had Petty make the wrong read on a Post/Corner option. The Jets very obviously tried to keep the gameplan easy for Petty to get him comfortable but it’s likely that also had to do with what they’ve seen from Petty in practice. We’ll be seeing some of those issues too.

1st and 10 at NYJ 20 (5:30) B.Petty pass short left to T.Bohanon to NYJ 21 for 1 yard (J.Wilson; J.Bynes).

2×0 I formation set that turns into a 1×1 set. Lions are showing are cover-2 zone on the pre-snap.

Bryce pulls off an okay playaction, arm extended out and almost gets it into the RBs stomach. To compare, Geno Smith’s are far worse. After that point, he might be taking far too many steps before turning. It looks like the Jets wide receivers are all going deep minus Tommy Bohanon who’s out in the flat for a checkdown. From what we can see, every Lions defender has dropped deep, Petty recognizes this and takes the easy throw into the flat. Balls too high though, and it makes Bohanon have to jump and expose his body to make this catch. To compare, this was Geno Smith too in his rookie year.

3rd and 8 at NYJ 22 (4:04) (Shotgun) B.Petty pass incomplete short middle to J.Kerley.

Jets start in a 2×2 shotgun set and move Powell to the outside turning it into a 2×3 shotgun empty set. So far, the Jets are trying to help Petty by putting players in motion to make the defense easier to read. The Lions pre-snap show another cover-2 zone shell.

Bryce Petty will take three steps back that are all pretty rushed, and out of time with his receivers. Not sure where Petty is aiming here at all, there’s no player in that vicinity. There’s a chance he’s expecting the middle slot receiver on the right side to break inside on the post, which is why he throws this there but that would be the wrong read here, as we see the Safety is sitting right on the hash once the ball is in the frame. It should be noted that there’s pressure coming right up the interior as Petty’s getting ready to throw and he doesn’t seem to be afraid of standing in the pocket. It’s worth wondering whether or not it affected his read though.

2nd and 8 at NYJ 27 (13:38) (Shotgun) B.Petty pass incomplete short left to Q.Enunwa.

Jets are in a 2×1 shotgun set. Lions show cover-2 zone shell again.

Again, Petty’s footwork doesn’t seem to be timed to anything. I’m not going to focus much on that aspect for the entirety of this post, but it’s something to be aware of because it shows you the thought processes he’s going through as well as his composure. Petty takes a weird side stance as he enters his throwing motion (shown below) and still gets the ball to what seems to be the right spot, but without seeing this in a wider view- it’s possible that Quincy Enunwa is actually adjusting to this throw which could be the reason he comes crashing back down towards the line of scrimmage the way he does.

Bryce Petty Preseason Week 1

3rd and 8 at NYJ 27 (13:32) B.Petty sacked at NYJ 17 for -10 yards (sack split by C.Reid and D.Taylor).

Jets are in a 3×1 Shotgun set. Lions are showing a cover-2 zone shell with the CB at the top playing man in a hybrid coverage.

Bryce Petty’s able to drop back while keeping his eyes down the center of the field, only changing his gaze once he’s about to hit his back foot. His timing here looks a lot better, but it’s hard to tell exactly without seeing the routes down the field, especially since it looks like Petty’s searching for the outside WR. There’s nothing here that Petty does wrong, two rushers getting into the pocket from the interior is a lot to ask a quarterback to beat.

2nd and 10 at NYJ 44 (9:24) B.Petty pass short left to S.Evans to DET 48 for 8 yards (C.Butler).

Jets are in a 2×1 I formation set. Lions are showing a cover-2 zone shell with the CB at the bottom now showing man coverage. The Lions have the CB on the solo side showing man while the slot CB is lined up suspiciously far inside. Lions blitz that slot CB and an ILB, while dropping one of the DEs into coverage, likely changing everyone into man coverage.

I’m assuming the Jets have an implied play action here and don’t actually want Petty to commit to the full play-action because of the speed of this play. Petty’s quick to turn, see Shaq Evans running open on the slant and throw him the ball, but the ball is throwing far enough behind Evans that he has to stop and reach slightly behind him to make the catch. Petty is again at a weird side-stance, you can see that his body is parallel to the sideline at the moment he’s throwing. This time, he’s not able to be as accurate.

Bryce Petty Play 2 Preseason Week 1

3rd and 4 at DET 38 (6:47) (Shotgun) B.Petty pass incomplete short left to K.Davis (J.Ihedigbo).

Jets in a 2×2 shotgun set. The Lions are in a cover-1 shell showing man coverage.

This time Petty’s doing everything right. The play call is simple, on the left side the slot receivers going to take a small vertical three step release to keep his man at the LOS so that Kellen Davis can run the slant right under him, as long as Petty sees man coverage on the pre-snap this route is almost certainly the go-to. Petty makes the read, doesn’t put himself at a weird angle before making the throw and gets the ball right at Davis, although just a slight bit high it’d be overly analytical to say that’s an issue here. Kellen Davis just flat out drops what should be an easy catch.

On the next page, we’ll look at the second half.

Edward Gorelik

Upon being contracted with the New York Jets Fandom Virus (NYJV), Edward plunged head first into the fountain of misery and comedy provided by the team on and off the field. A student by day, and professional couch General Manager at night, he brings his completely biased wisdom to NFLBreakdowns.

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