Bryce Petty started the second half for the Jets against the Colts and led them to a touchdown. He had his ups and downs, making some magnificent throws while balancing them with some terrible decisions. Let’s see how he did by first examining the good throws:
If you read the Fitzpatrick series for the first half (probably unlikely with how enamored everyone is of him), you would recognize this play. It was the same set up for the long screen pass to Matt Forte. The Jets line up with three receivers to the left of the formation, a TE, and a RB out of the backfield. On that play, Austin Seferian-Jenkins goes across the field on a crossing route. On this play, he runs an out route as Chan Gailey plays a game of cat and mouse with the defense. Jenkins is open on the play, and Bryce Petty makes a great throw to him. This is probably the biggest testament to his arm strength because he can make this throw without fear of the line backer jumping the pass. He puts it right on the money, against a defender playing off the line.
This is a mirror play from the Jets, as they have the same route concept running on both sides of the formation. The Colts are lined up in a 2 deep safety look with defenders playing off the line of scrimmage (with Marshall’s defender being the closest to his receiver) but Petty makes a great read of the zone coverage here. If the defender on Marshall is playing man coverage, then the check down option exits to the RB, or a deep pass to Enunwa down the sideline. If the defender is in zone coverage (as was the case) then he can hit Marshall as he sits in the soft spot of the zone. It’s another example of arm strength, as the Colts played zone in a 3rd and 12 situation, and still got burned. One of the biggest reasons why Ryan Fitzpatrick struggles against zone coverage is because it forces the QB to zip it into windows in the small time frame between a receiver finding a hole in the zone to the time the hole is covered. It’s not a coincidence that Fitzpatrick’s two best games were against teams playing more man coverage (Bills, Patriots) while his biggest struggles were against more zone based teams like Chiefs and Seahawks. Petty on the other hand has the arm strength to beat zone coverage, and he shows it off here. This was also a good situation where Marshall resisted the urge to run backwards to try and gain more yards.
This is a simple one read play, but it is here to show that Petty does grasp the system to a certain extent, and does well at reading defenses at times. Prior to the snap, the Colts are showing blitz from the right side of the formation, while being in a two deep safety look. Petty looks to his right side from the snap, because if it’s a blitz, then Matt Forte is his hot read. If there is a blitz, Forte should be wide open for the quick pass. If the defender playing Brandon Marshall peels off, then Marshall is open on the out route with ample space between him and the safety. In the event that there is no blitz from the LB (as is in this case), the defender is playing to the inside of Forte, which puts him at a bad angle to defend a quick pass to him, since Forte would be running away from him. Petty makes a very good throw, and Forte makes the catch for a gain of about seven yards. While it seems like a simple play, this does show that Petty is aware of his hot reads, and can read defenses at the line, which is something that was in doubt at draft time.
This is a 3rd down and 10 play, with the Colts playing two deep safety and zone coverage. Petty takes the safe option here and finds Robby Anderson cutting across the middle. It looks like Anderson has a step on his defender, but he tries to do a spin move and gets tackled before the first down marker. The second defender in the area most likely caused Anderson to try and reverse course. It’s an OK read by Petty, because Brandon Marshall is open beyond the first down marker, although Charone Peake is not open as it appears in the play. The deep safety only moves up once Petty has thrown the ball, therefore Peake was well covered. Notice the route by Brandon Marshall, and how open he is, because it is going to come back and bite the Jets later.
This is the fourth down conversion, with a nice pass to Brandon Marshall. The Jets have had trouble with short yardage distances all season long, but Petty does a good job of converting this situation. The Colts are lined up in a two deep safety look, but they are all close to the box, hedging their bet for a running play. However, the defenders are all playing off the receivers, which makes this an easy pitch and catch because they only need two yards. Petty sees the defender on Marshall playing about six yards off the line of scrimmage, thus Marshall runs a four yard out route and Petty makes a very good throw. This is more of an example of Petty reading the defense at the line of scrimmage, knowing the situation, and executing by taking advantage of a weakness from the defense. However, please note that the Colts are a bad passing defense. A good defense would have played press coverage here, which would have made things much harder for Petty in such a situation.
The Colts are in a two deep safety look, and playing zone coverage. Bryce Petty shows again why strong armed QBs can thrive against such coverage because they can zip the ball into the space before the defense can converge. Brandon Marshall is lined up the right of the formation, and as the ball is about to be snapped, his defender is drifting backwards. He has inside help from a linebacker, thus he is defending over the top. However, Petty zips in the pass before the linebacker can jump the passing lane. It’s a good catch by Marshall, and a very good recognition and throw by Petty. The other thing to note on this play is Robby Anderson in the middle of the field being open, as they had single coverage on him.
This is a great play set up by the Jets, and excellent recognition by Petty again. The biggest factor on this play is the pre-snap movement from Robby Anderson. He is matched up in press coverage on the outside at the onset of this play. However, when he moves inside, his defender drifts back into zone coverage, acting almost as another safety. Once this happens, Anderson is matched up with a linebacker in the middle, which will always be a mismatch. The read on this play is the right safety for Bryce Petty. If the safety follows Anderson up the field, then the out route to Enunwa will be open. If the safety hesitates on Anderson, then he will be open down the middle of the field. The safety did not follow Anderson in adequate time and Petty makes a wonderful throw. For a linebacker, the Colts defender actually stayed somewhat close to Anderson until the end (although holding could have been argued) but Petty makes a perfect throw. Notice how open Enunwa is on this play as well, because it will haunt the Jets later in this game. Bryce Petty missed a bunch of deep throws to Anderson in this game, mainly because he was trying to be too perfect. However, this throw succeeds in being perfect.
The tight-ends probably ordered some cake after this game, because it’s probably a football rebirth for them after Fitzpatrick got benched. The Jets have mainly ignored the TE position in the last two years, but Petty made an instant difference when he was brought in. The Colts switched to a single high safety look, and man coverage, as they adjust to Petty beating them in zone coverage. On this play, the read for Petty is the middle linebacker. If the LB falls back into Jenkins’ route, then the crossing route to Enunwa is open. If he does not (as was the case) then there is a throwing lane to the TE. However, this one shows a nice touch as he has to get it over the linebacker, but down before the safety comes into play. I believe even the broadcast team commented on how Petty showed good touch on this play. Another example of Petty making a good read, and following it up with a great throw. On the outside, notice Brandon Marshall, get physical with a corner and get open. They are playing press man coverage on Marshall, but the defender can’t match the physicality of Marshall and gets thrown aside. This is the biggest reason why teams aren’t playing press coverage on a consistent basis, because the defenders have to be able to stay with the receivers. Otherwise, Marshall would have been open for a big play here. It is also one of the biggest reasons why Revis will argue that his wrist is the biggest cause for his downfall this year because he can’t jam receivers (again mentioned by announcers) because he can’t be physical with them at the line of scrimmage.
The Colts are in a single high safety look, against the Jets’ four receivers, while playing zone again. The defenders are all playing off, so the pre-snap read is really Petty’s choice, and he picks Robby Anderson. Although, it can be argued that all four of the receivers could be considered open at one point or another. Anderson runs a simple inside cut route, and Petty hits him in stride for the seven yard gain. Another example of Petty reading the defense and taking what they are giving him.
Bryce Petty showed a lot of promise against the Colts, albeit he also showed some rough edges as well. The Jets went extremely pass heavy in the second half, which may have skewed the results, because the defense was thinking pass the whole time. It’ll be interesting to see the type of defense rolled out by the 49ers for the next game. In this one, Petty showed good skills in discerning what the defense was showing at the line of scrimmage, and excellent arm strength.
A) What do you think Petty’s biggest strength is?
B) Petty mentioned learning defenses by playing Madden. What is your feeling on virtual reality training for QBs, so they can see defenses from their perspective?
Scheduling Notice: Unfortunately, I’m filing this one pretty late into the night, so the rest of Petty series will be posted tomorrow.