The Jets sat Christian Hackenberg in his rookie season. That didn’t go over well with most fans and the media. Everyone said it was the right move when he was drafted, but that tune changed when the season started.
THEY SHOULD HAVE PLAYED HACK LAST YEAR: Nope, nope, nope. After two down seasons because he played in a non-pro system with an awful offensive line at Penn State, Hack needed a year off. He had to fix his footwork. You could see it in the preseason, his movement in the pocket was mechanical. That happens when you focus heavily on developing a skill – you are slower, more deliberate. Hack needed the time. He was David ‘Not Derek’ Carr entering the NFL: Happy feet. No quarterback can succeed with that trait. The positive is that it can be corrected. Rich Cimini noted in December that a good QB coach can correct that issue in less than a month.
The Jets started 10 different offensive lineman last year. To say it was a shambles, would be kind. The most glaring example of the problem is the image below. Five players blocking one. Injuries destroyed the line and all of the quarterbacks suffered. The Jets clearly knew this and were not going to destroy a prospect who had o-line issues in college with o-line issues in the pros.
HE CAN’T PLAY, WHAT A WASTE: The impatient crowd certainly let their voices be heard. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL media let his opinion be known to Jets billboard Rich Eisen. Jeremiah said Hack was ranked lower than several quarterbacks in the the 2017 draft. One note, Jeremiah is the same person who said the Jets have the worst roster in football because of the veterans they cut, so take his ‘evaluation’ with a grain of salt. Media evaluators all parrot each other, no one says anything original and negativity sells. Trust YOUR logic.
The common thread before the 2016 draft felt that Hackenberg was one of the most cerebral and pro ready quarterbacks in some time. He was a top recruit out of high school and Bill O’Brien put his potential on display in Hack’s freshman year. Despite revisionist history, Hackenberg was projected as a late 1st/mid 2nd round prospect. He was able to execute advanced NFL concepts so well that O’Brien once told him that only Tom Brady was able to understand his system quicker.
To quote the TLDR from BlackShoeDiaries:
Please, some NFL team, draft this dude, basically put him through quarterback rehab for a year or two, and I promise you will have a guy who has the potential to be really, really good. Rush him and there may be issues. Let him sit, learn, and get comfortable again, and you’re going to have a quarterback you can build around.
Most fans have probably seen this video by Brett Kollman where he broke down Hackenberg before he was drafted. It is still a good reminder of his talents and capabilities.
Hackenberg has the brains and the tools to succeed in the NFL. He needed to correct his mechanics – again, they are correctable. The only thing that can hold Christian Hackenberg back is his own ambition and work ethic. If those are there, the job is his for the taking. Mini-camp starts Monday.
Pt. 2 – Why Hackenberg is in position to win the starting job in camp.
–Hey, check out JetsFix.com when you can for terrific insight on Gang Green!