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When will Christian Hackenberg play?

By Luis Tirado Jr.
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) passes during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) passes during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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As the New York Jets continue to prepare for more preseason football, quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been a hot topic as of late. When exactly will he get to see some playing time?

The New York Jets have four active quarterbacks on the roster all of which are working hard to be ready for the upcoming season. As we all know, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter, Geno Smith is his backup and third on the depth chart is Bryce Petty followed by Christian Hackenberg.

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So far during training camp, the Jets have been adamant about grooming their young quarterbacks for the future. They’ve done it with Smith and Petty already and it’s showing in training camp and preseason football.

Since Hackenberg is the new kid on the block, he’s a developmental kind of player that the Jets know will need a few years of coaching and training for him to progress. It’s more of a mental aspect with Hackenberg as the skill is there but he needs to be completely retrained and redeveloped to be an effective NFL quarterback.

Hence why in the Jets’ preseason opener, Hackenberg did not play a single snap. It wasn’t anything against him as the current coaching regime knows how to develop talent the right way. It takes a lot of time, patience and growing pains before throwing someone out to play that is clearly not ready.

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Hackenberg is being developed the right way which is why it’s imperative not to rush him when he’s still absorbing the Jets’ offensive playbook.

Regardless that it’s meaningless preseason football, the Jets were wise in giving more reps to Smith and Petty rather than trying to force Hackenberg during a crucial part in his development.

At the end of the day, Hackenberg is best to be on the sideline to learn the ins and outs of running a pro-style offense.

The Jets aren’t in any rush to see what he’s capable of since he’s still raw, has to work on his mechanics and above all else, already have other quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart. The kind of quarterbacks that can step right in and execute due to their experience. Hackenberg at this point in time shouldn’t be playing at all until the leadership regime feels he’s absorbed enough to warrant seeing it executed on the gridiron.

Even head coach Todd Bowles recently touched on this subject in a recent press conference. Here is what he had to say courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:

On what goes into his decision on when to play Christian Hackenberg…

The biggest thing is we want to make sure he learns mentally. It’s not even about playing right now. When I decide that he’s going to play two quarters or one quarter or a series, he’ll get more reps in practice and he’ll go, but he’s watching the other guys right now and he’s in study 101. He’s learning a lot of things. He’s grasping it. He has a great attitude and he’s working on fundamentals and getting better. When we decide that we’ve seen enough of the other three guys, then he’ll play.

This approach by the Jets is truly a breath of fresh air compared to what they’ve been doing with what seems like forever. Instead of rushing quarterbacks into pretending they’re starting material when they’re not, it’s great to see them take the time and invest in their young quarterbacks for the future.

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Overall, don’t expect to see Hackenberg getting a plethora of reps in preseason football anytime soon. At best, perhaps in Week 4 of the preseason he might see some time but until then, it’s best the Jets wait it out and let him develop things naturally. This is truly a great situation for Hackenberg to be in to not only grow as a player but be coached towards hopefully one day being a franchise quarterback for the Jets.

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