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Rookie Petty struggles; Jets might be looking for another QB

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — There usually aren’t many lasting impressions to be gleaned from a preseason opener.

But the New York Jets’ 23-3 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thursday magnified how badly the Jets need to add a veteran backup quarterback now that Ryan Fitzpatrick has been pressed into starting duty in place of injured Geno Smith.

Fitzpatrick played only one series on Thursday before giving way to rookie Bryce Petty, who looked even more raw than the Jets could have expected in going 10-of-18 for 50 yards while playing the rest of the game.

The Jets had four three-and-outs under Petty, who had a hard time recognizing blitzes and tended to lock in on his primary receiver.

“Bryce is not going to get any better holding a clipboard,” coach Todd Bowles said. “So you’ve got to give him some experience.”

But the Jets cannot afford to let Petty, who played in a spread offense at Baylor, get some experience in a regular-season game. Fitzpatrick was the perfect veteran backup, but the pickings are slim now that training camps are well under way.

On Friday, well-traveled quarterback Matt Flynn visited the Jets and took a physical, although he departed without signing a contract. Flynn was released by the New England Patriots last Monday because of a hamstring injury.

Flynn has 17 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in a seven-season career highlighted by a handful of impressive games in place of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

If he is healthy, Flynn might be the best option in a barren market that also includes Michael Vick, who backed up Smith last season but didn’t impress the Jets with his work ethic, as well as the likes of Tyler Thigpen and Rex Grossman, neither of whom played last season.

Thigpen was on Denver’s roster late in the season.

In the meantime, Petty will continue to see the majority of playing time when the Jets host the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night.

“It’s huge for me, because every rep is a learning experience, whether it’s good or bad,” Petty said following the Lions game. “It’s about getting in there.”

Now, and hopefully for the Jets, not later this season.

–From potential All-Pro to playing with the second team in an exhibition game. That’s the precipitous fall Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson has traveled in the last eight months.

Of course, it’s all Richardson’s fault. Richardson was viewed as a potential franchise player for the Jets before this summer, when he received a four-game suspension for failing multiple marijuana tests and was arrested following a high-speed car chase in Missouri.

Richardson played only five snaps — all in the second quarter — in Thursday’s preseason opener. That’s consistent with the usage he’s seen during training camp, when he has worked with the second-teamers.

“I brought it on myself,” Richardson said Thursday. “So I’ve got to handle it accordingly.”

Rookie Leonard Williams is expected to start for however long Richardson is out. Richardson is likely to face additional punishment from the NFL for his arrest in Missouri, though that might not come until his case is settled. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 31.


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