In the last 50 years, there have been just three quarterbacks drafted in the first two rounds of the draft that didn’t play in a game their first two seasons.
One of them is Jim Kelly, who comes with the asterisk of playing in the USFL instead of the NFL. Another is 1980 Bills second-rounder Gene Bradley and the third is Christian Hackenberg, who sat and watched Bryce Petty play the whole way in the Jets’ 26-6 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.
After the game, Jets coach Todd Bowles said there was never a thought to giving Hackenberg playing time and that he wasn’t “going to bench Bryce over three games when he has a chance to play” because Petty beat out Hackenberg in the preseason.
“We don’t know if he can or can’t. He works hard every day,” Bowles said in his postgame press conference. “He got a lot of reps in the preseason. Bryce got a lot of reps in the preseason. Bryce played better than he did in the preseason. Bryce got to play at the end of the year. He’ll come back next year, he’ll work hard in the spring and we’ll look at it then.”
When Josh McCown was playing well before his broken left hand, it was easy to understand why the Jets were keeping McCown under glass. It was harder to understand while watching Petty and even more difficult to reconcile the 2016 second-round pick’s spot on the roster if he wasn’t going to play in the last couple of weeks of a lost season.