The New York Jets newest rookie Christian Hackenberg has had his highs and lows so far through OTAs. His journey towards success in the NFL will be a tough one.
The end of organized team activities is in sight for the New York Jets which means they are that close to the next step in offseason programs. The OTAs can be tough for rookies, who are being thrown into the deep end.
That is very much the case for Jets’ rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg. No matter what system these quarterbacks are coming from, there is a tremendous learning curve to becoming an effective NFL quarterback.
Early on in OTAs, Hackenberg has shown signs of the inconsistency from his tape in college. But he’s also shown signs of becoming possibly the next face of the franchise for Gang Green.
Hackenberg was the only quarterback selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft and many analysts were befuddled. Head coach Todd Bowles addressed some of these concerns with the media, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
On Christian Hackenberg looking sloppier and if he feels that is just normal rookie struggles…
Right now I expect him to look sloppy because again he’s seeing a whole boat load of defenses that’s coming at him daily and there’s going to be a growth period. No different than Geno and Fitz saw last year, as well as Bryce (Petty). So everything that Hack is seeing this year he’s seeing for the first time so better him see it now in the Spring and be more comfortable in the summer then vice versa.
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Speaking of those other quarterbacks in the huddle, that has also provided Hackenberg with some more opportunities.
Obviously the biggest opportunity has come way through the Ryan Fitzpatrick contract stand-off.
Reps are hard to come by as it is, let alone when another quarterback is in the rotation.
So with Fitzpatrick out, we’ve got to see a little bit more of Hackenberg under center.
We saw both Jekyll and Hyde when Hackenberg had his shot at the two minute drill at the end of practice. Bowles praised the rookie for his poise in the heat of battle:
On Christian Hackenberg’s successful 2:00 drive at the end of practice today…
He was poised. The biggest thing was when he fumbled the snap, he picked it up and he threw a complete pass and standing in the pocket than getting too caught up in the moment. But it was early, a lot of mistakes on both ends of the ball there. So that’s his first time, second time doing it. So that’s progress.
Despite the fact that Hackenberg has only had one maybe two opportunities at the drill, he learned quick. That’s something the Jets hoped for when they used their second round selection on the Penn State product.
While the talk of the town is around Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith, Hackenberg continues to fly below the radar. While he isn’t expected to start early this season or at all in a perfect world, the Jets are grooming him for future success as he starts his NFL journey.
The fact that he’s getting better everyday is certainly a source of pride for the rookie signal caller. Hackenberg will have his growing pains through the process, but if he keeps showing off during critical moments of OTAs and eventually training camp, he will be on his way to starting on Sundays in the future.