The Fork in the Road & The Jets QB Situation Pt. 2

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The Jets are at an interesting point with their signal caller. The only QB’s on the roster have a combined four games started. The options on the free agent market for starters is ugly and the draft is full of players that should ideally sit for a year.

learningBryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are talented but needed time to learn: coverages, blitz reads, line assignments, mechanical technique, not to mention adjusting to pro style route concepts and game speed.

Much has been made about why Hackenberg never played in his rookie season and the limited play of Petty in a lost season. The question that the media pundits frequently avoid answering is, “Why would you play Hackenberg behind an offensive line that was changing week-to-week, when that was something he was plagued with at Penn State?” From the time they drafted Hackenberg, the team said he would get a redshirt season to learn.  They said they would do the same with Petty and did. The team stuck to the plan – GOOD!

In fact after drafting him, most media outlets, thought the best course would be to have him sit.

Maccagnan “in a perfect world, you like to give those guys a chance to sort of grow, develop before you have to throw them into the fire.”

The Jets did just that, gave him a chance to sit, fix his mechanics and learn the pre-snap aspect of the pro game. They did the same with Petty and he showed improvement from year one to two.

Bryce Petty got his first NFL action and…. got hit by a planet – two planets.

Before that, Petty did defeat the hapless 49ers in a comeback victory – he admitted he was nervous and held the ball too long in that game; understandable for a player in the first game he is told he will start. He showed some improvement in subsequent weeks.

Last season was a disaster, for so many reasons.  It was Murphy’s law: anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. It started in the offseason, when Ryan Fitzpatrick got uber greedy and came in with a bad attitude: as explained in part 1.  The offensive line fell apart with Clady, Mangold & Giacomini injured. The veterans on the team were either hurt: see Decker, or quit: See Revis, or too busy infighting: See Marshall & Richardson.

Some say that “we know what those two are, we saw it last year!” Did you though? It wasn’t an environment for success for the reasons listed above. Success is bred when everyone is on the same page from the start.

There is talk about whether the Jets should acquire Jay Cutler, RG3, Colin Kaepernick Trevor Siemian or AJ McCarron.

Cutler, Griffin & Kaepernick are all wrong, essentially for the same reason.  They are all polarizing figures in a micro-analyzed media market. They all have flaws in their game. They will be trying to rehab their careers – that is not a good fit for a young team trying to develop. For Cutler and Griffin, there are numerous accounts that they bring a toxic attitude to a locker room – STAY AWAY!

As for Siemian & McCarron, they would have to be obtained via trade.  Both are average starting caliber talent. They do not possess top arms and require superior talent around them to execute a conservative offense. McCarron also has limited experience starting so that would be a gamble. Are they long term answers for the Jets, no. What value will they bring to a team still searching for a franchise QB?

Oh and Geno Smith? It is time to move on. He won’t be healthy until mid-training camp and he has never been welcomed in New York. It is only now fans pine for him because a misguided sense of desperation has set in.

With all six QBs listed above, what would be the purpose? To get to 8-8 and pass the buck on the question under center until next season. That’s stupid!

What is the solution then? One of two names – Josh McCown  or Case Keenum.

First McCown -He has ties to new QB coach Jeremy Bates from their time together in Chicago. McCown told SiriusXM NFL radio that while he wishes for an opportunity to start, he embraces an opportunity to mentor a young QB. In New York he will get both.

As for Keenum – he has earned his stripes in the NFL. He was an undrafted QB out of Houston to the Texans when Maccagnan was employed there. Keenum has started for both the Rams and Texans. The Broncos were interested in him before the start of last season.

That is the hurdle you want to see if Petty and Hackenberg can clear. You also know he is not a long term answer for the team, so there will be no “maybe if the Jets can get ‘xyz’ players around him.”

Ideal scenario: The team brings in Josh McCown/Case Keenum and they compete in camp with Petty & Hackenberg, then one of the young pups earns the top collar. The Jets will find out if they can cut it. Let them make mistakes and hopefully they learn from it as the season goes on, but stick with ONE.

If two young guns can’t beat out the benchmark of two middling veterans, the answer is clear from the start. Magic Johnson said it: Be very good or be very bad, there is no value being in between – in this case especially if you don’t have a franchise QB.

Sink or swim with the draft picks. Better to find out for sure, then to always wonder, “what if?”

 

 

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