NORTH CALDWELL, N.J. -- In 2015, Bryce Petty was like an unwrapped Christmas present. He didn't get on the field, but he tantalized the New York Jets' fan base with the possibility of what he could be.
A year ago, he finally got a chance to play, but he struggled and got hurt.
Now as he prepares for his third season, Petty must feel like he's on the Island of Misfit Toys. (Fans of the old TV classic, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," will understand the reference.)
The No. 1 storyline surrounding the Jets' quarterback situation is whether Christian Hackenberg can beat out grizzled veteran Josh McCown, making Petty an afterthought even though it's a three-way competition, according to coach Todd Bowles.
Petty might not be as popular as he was a year ago -- at least not from an outside perspective -- but he's not ready to concede anything. He believes he can win the starting job.
"Yeah, why not?" he said Monday at teammate David Harris' charity golf outing. "Why not? It's an open competition, so for me, it's open."
You have to admire Petty's moxie. Unlike Hackenberg, who measures every word with the media, Petty lets his emotions show. If he can translate that outward confidence into production, the Jets might have something.
Problem is, the organization has doubts about whether he can be a long-term starter, and those doubts weren't erased in limited action last season --four starts. Of the 39 quarterbacks who attempted at least 100 passes, Petty finished last in Total QBR -- 19.8.
But don't tell him he can't be The Guy.
"For me, it's not could," he said. "It's can. That's important."
In fairness to Petty, it should be noted he was thrown into a hopeless situation, leading an injury-plagued offense in the latter stages of a lost season. That's a tough spot, especially for a neophyte quarterback. But at the same time, he didn't distinguish himself with his decision making and ability to read defenses.
His season ended prematurely, with a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Surgery was performed last December, and now Petty is ready to participate in OTA practices, he said. They begin next week.
"Everything is good," Petty said. "I'm clicking right now."