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Fitz or Petty? Bowles In No Rush To Make Call On Jets Qb

Todd Bowles isn't exactly in hurry-up mode when it comes to deciding on his starting quarterback.

Ryan Fitzpatrick or Bryce Petty? Well, the New York Jets coach will make the call on who'll be under center against New England on Nov. 27 when the team returns from its bye-week break next Monday.

"We haven't gotten there yet," Bowles said during a conference call Monday. "We've got a week to go for that. We're still evaluating everybody."

Petty made his first NFL start Sunday in place of Fitzpatrick, who is recovering from a sprained knee. The second-year quarterback was 19 of 32 for 163 yards with a touchdown, but also tossed an interception with just under two minutes left in the Jets' 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

That dropped New York to 3-7, with its playoff hopes now barely a flicker. Still, Bowles is sticking with his philosophy of playing the quarterback that gives the Jets the best chance to win. That means Bowles isn't necessarily looking to give Petty extended playing time just to see if he could be the quarterback of the future.

"At this point, not right now," Bowles said. "I mean, he played OK [Sunday], but he's still got a lot of things to learn. You don't learn unless you play, but at the same time, we're still trying to win games, too. So, we'll make that decision as the week goes forward."

Bowles said the players will practice Tuesday and then have the rest of the week off. The coaching staff will have meetings Wednesday and then take off until next Monday. As for the quarterback decision, Bowles will talk to his staff and then give both general manager Mike Maccagnan and owner Woody Johnson a heads up on where the situation stands.

And, the player he chooses might not necessarily hold the job from here on out.

"Going forward, it all depends on the play and the health and everything else of everybody," Bowles said. "So, it could change, but it could stay the same, as well."

Bowles is in a difficult situation, knowing the Jets are now simply playing out the season and Fitzpatrick is unlikely to be back next year. Geno Smith, out for the year with a knee injury, is scheduled to become a free agent. That leaves just Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg as the quarterbacks who likely will remain on the roster next offseason. And the coach said Hackenberg, a second-rounder from Penn State, is "not in the top two right now" when it comes to the quarterback situation.

But Bowles also has to tread lightly, realizing that looking toward the future at this point sends a message to his players that this season is already a wash.

"With the evaluation process, there comes a point in the future of an organization, toward the end of the season, where you try to see things if they go right here and there," Bowles said. "But it's always a tough decision one way or the other."

Fitzpatrick sprained his left knee at Miami on Nov. 6 and was limited in practice all week while splitting first-team snaps with Petty. Bowles said it would be a game-time decision, but then decided Saturday night that Petty would start against the Rams.

"He was getting better, but he wasn't well enough on Saturday, in my mind, to even try to do it Sunday," Bowles said.

Petty provided an early spark, complete with a standing ovation from the MetLife Stadium crowd as he took the field. He drove the Jets 99 yards on their second possession, finishing with his first NFL TD pass with a little razzle-dazzle on a toss to Brandon Marshall, who flipped it backward to Bilal Powell for a 4-yard score.

But New York's offense was mostly quiet after that and the positive buzz was silenced by the time Petty was picked off by Alec Ogletree.

The Jets also missed out on what appeared would be an easy touchdown just before halftime when Petty couldn't connect with a wide-open Robby Anderson. Bowles said Petty overthrew the ball slightly, but Anderson also slowed a bit on his route.

"He was calm and he was poised when he was out there," Bowles said of Petty. "He threw the deep ball well. He understood his reads. He went where it was supposed to go. He hurried up some things and that's going to happen when a first-time starter comes out there. He hurried some throws and he missed a couple of reads as well.

"But, for the most part, other than the one turnover, he played OK."

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