Christian Hackenberg will play this year – in regular season games – and it won’t be surprising to see him starting to open the season.
For many reasons – some laid out in the previous article – poor offensive line, the rookie learning curve, a veteran team that expected to compete or otherwise giving him time to develop his skills without putting too much on his plate.
At one point near the end of the season, an anonymous coach claimed Hackenberg couldn’t hit an ocean. Buster Skrine said that Hackenberg improved every day and that he likes him a lot. So who do you trust? Someone who won’t put their name on it or Buster Skrine, who works with him every day. Given most people’s distaste for anonymous sources – especially Jets fans – Buster Skrine gets the benefit here.
With the addition of Josh McCown many media types immediately want to tell you he is the default starter. It’s not true, the Jets signed McCown with the understanding that he will mentor a young quarterback. It is a position that McCown said he was open to even before the Jets signed him.
Obviously the Jets want Christian Hackenberg (or Bryce Petty) to win the camp competition. They invested in both players. They won’t hand the job to either though. Every position on the Jets should be earned – and will based on the tone and direction of the team. If all things are equal at the end of camp, one of the two will be the starter over McCown.
Can Hackenberg win the job legitimately. Yes. The only thing holding him back is his own ambition and work ethic. After a whole year of being told, you aren’t good enough, you are a waste, would you sit back and accept it. Doesn’t seem like most people would. Hackenberg has continued to train with Jordan Palmer on his mechanics. At David Harris’ recent charity golf outing, Hackenberg spoke about improving in the offseason (without giving too much away so that the media would tear it apart).
Yeah, everybody has everything figured out…
Some will tell you that Hackenberg might start by the middle of the season, roughly week 8. That is an awfully arbitrary opinion. Why week 8? Lets look at that range – Week 7 At Miami, Week 8 Home to Atlanta, Week 9 home to Buffalo. There isn’t any ‘softball’ game in that group. The Jets bye isn’t until week 11, so start Hackenberg for the final six weeks, just because? That’s dumb, when you also factor in that it is a rough final six weeks with presumable playoff teams.
Everything the Jets have done this offseason is to support a young quarterback. They have built up their offense around the quarterback position with young receivers and are cultivating an offensive line to keep him upright. The coaching additions to the offense are in place to
There is no point is saying Hackenberg or Petty WILL win the job in training camp. Any one who can do that should give you the winning lotto numbers as well. What is apparent is that Hackenberg is serious about winning the job, he has the skills and talent to do it and the team is putting the parts around him to succeed. They are doing what the previous two regimes failed to do – put their players in a position to succeed. Hackenberg’s opportunity is in front of him, there are no excuses. If he has put in meaningful work, he’ll win the job.
All this being said, if and when Hackenberg plays, it won’t be perfect. NFL defenses get paid too and they have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. The key – as it is right now – is learning from it and not making the same mistakes. The Jets are going to give their quarterback a lot of latitude to learn as the play. It won’t be a Sanchez or Geno situation where they have to just sit back and not rock the boat. This is a season the Jets should have had four years ago. Now it is time to sit back and enjoy the development of the Jets future.