NEW YORK — The two young guys will be under center for the New York Jets’ preseason finale.
Coach Todd Bowles announced that “probably” both second-year quarterback Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg will play against Philadelphia on Thursday night, with backup Geno Smith sitting out.
Bowles had said on Monday that he wasn’t sure if Smith would also play, but ultimately decided he wanted to give the inexperienced quarterbacks game action. Smith, a former starter for the Jets, is expected to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick for the second straight season.
“I’d like to see more of the other two guys,” Bowles said during a conference call Tuesday. “Playing Geno would hinder that chance, so I wanted to see the other two guys play a full amount of time. This should be a perfect opportunity to do it.”
The coach had not yet determined if both Petty, a fourth-rounder last year, and Hackenberg, a second-rounder this year, will each play a half.
“I’ll try to even it out,” Bowles said. “I want to see who is kind of running the ball more. I’d like to get them a couple of passes in, but I’ll try to even it out as best I can.”
The Jets have entertained the idea of going into the regular season with four quarterbacks on their roster, something that is not very common because of the restrictions of having only 53 players in the regular season.
But both Fitzpatrick and Smith are likely to become free agents after this season, and Petty and Hackenberg are considered projects who need some time to develop.
“All four are good football players,” Bowles said. “We can keep all four. It’s just a matter of battling with the other positions, so that’s still up for grabs and we’ll have to wait until after this game to see how that plays out.”
Petty was considered the likely odd-man out going into training camp, but he has had some good moments in camp and in the preseason. The former Baylor star has played in all three games, going 28 of 50 for 394 yards with two touchdowns and an interception that was returned for a score by the Giants last Saturday.
Hackenberg didn’t play in the first two games, but had an up-and-down NFL debut against the Giants. He capped his first drive with a touchdown pass, but also threw an interception on a tipped toss that led to the go-ahead points in the Jets’ 21-20 loss.
Because he’s the No. 4 quarterback on the depth chart, there’s a chance Hackenberg might not play in a game again until next preseason. He’s not thinking that way, though, especially when he sees fellow rookie Dak Prescott, a fourth-rounder, in line to start for the Cowboys after an injury to Tony Romo.
“You look at the situation down in Dallas right now, you’re two snaps or three snaps away from playing,” Hackenberg said. “For me, whatever happens, happens and it’s out of my control, but I still need to stay in that mindset and mind frame where I’m preparing the best that I can each week.”
NOTES: Bowles said there is no concern about WR Brandon Marshall’s sore hip, which kept him out against the Giants. He also hasn’t practiced since last week. … Bowles acknowledged that the Jets could keep all three of their promising rookie wide receivers: seventh-rounder Charone Peake and undrafted Jalin Marshall and Robby Anderson. “I mean, it’s possible,” the coach said. “They’ve all had their flashes in games. It’s possible.” … WR Quincy Enunwa was without his red no-contact jersey on during practice, so it appears he has fully recovered from a concussion.