Early expectations for Christian Hackenberg
When it comes to the New York Jets and early expectations for quarterback Christian Hackenberg, they should be rather high as he learns in his rookie season.
Hopefully early expectations will revolve around Hackenberg’s ability to hold a clipboard steady. But in all seriousness, the New York Jets spent a second round pick on a quarterback who has a lot of nice tools.
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The problem is that the Jets need to re-calibrate his mechanics that were assuredly destroyed in the last two years of his collegiate career. Make no mistake about it, Hackenberg won’t be ready at all to win the starting job this off-season as he’ll more than likely be put in a backup/development role.
Hackenberg isn’t ready and he’s got a ton of issues and most of those problems, at least in the eyes of the Jets, can be corrected. The biggest glaring weakness in his game is his accuracy concerns.
Specifically when it comes to the easy throws in the NFL, Hackenberg tends to struggle. One play Hackenberg will hit easily are some of the most difficult post patterns in stride and the next play he throws a duck on a slant route.
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Head coach Todd Bowles was asked about all the bad tape that there is on Hackenberg and whether it required direct attention.
Here’s what he said provided by the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
On if the team needs to say anything on Hackenberg’s behalf regarding the criticisms of Hackenberg’s play his last two seasons in college…
No, there is nothing to say. You can criticize everyone in the draft. We understand his criticism, we understand (Darron) Lee’s, we understand (Juston) Burris’, we understanding (Brandon) Shell’s, we understand everyone that was on the draft board. So, you take a hope at potential and understand that they’re willing to learn and go with it.
The Jets have a unique situation at quarterback as it stands with Bryce Petty (developing), Geno Smith (experienced, but still young), and now Hackenberg entering the fold. So currently the Jets have much ado about nothing.
If this ends up being the active quarterbacks on the roster, there’s no question that Smith will be the starter. With that, all the Jets proverbial eggs will be in his basket for the upcoming season.
Unless the Jets decide to give Petty a shot randomly during the season, it’s Smith or nothing for the Jets. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t even be involved in the discussion or situation because he has removed himself from the picture for the time being.
So much like Petty last season, the Jets hope Hackenberg can redshirt this year and compete next season. Although general manager Mike Maccagnan hasn’t ruled out the rookie getting some playing time this season, it more than likely won’t happen so it doesn’t hinder his development.
Maccagnan spoke with ESPN New York a few weeks ago during his radio tour that Hackenberg could play as a rookie. He expounded upon those thoughts with Dom Cosentiono of NJ.com here.
“I think, with any player coming into the league, there’s definitely a maturation process, and it doesn’t matter, again, what position you play,” Maccagnan said, via Dom Cosentino of NJ.com. “I think quarterbacks are probably one of the harder positions to transition into the NFL. I know there’s always a desire and feel to have them go out there and play right away. The reality of it is, though, it’s going to be determined by how he does. And I think my personal opinion is we’ll see where he’s at and how he is in terms of assimilating to our offense and our system. But like I said, I think it’s a natural maturation process.”
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So read between the lines here, unless there’s a Russell Wilson kind of uprising in the local village, Smith will be the starter for the Jets. But there is certainly hope for the future on 1 Jets Drive at the most important position on the team.