As the New York Jets hit the halfway mark of preseason football, quarterback Christian Hackenberg should not be playing anytime soon.
The quarterback situation sure has been a roller coaster throughout the offseason for the New York Jets. At this point in time, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has nothing to worry about when it comes to his starting position. His No. 2 spot is apparently up for grabs between Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. Rookie Christian Hackenberg on the other hand has yet to play a single snap in preseason football.
While fans are anxious to see what Hackenberg has learned through training camp, it’s actually in the best interest of him and the Jets to not let him play anytime soon. Even though preseason football is meaningless, they shouldn’t throw him into any game action until the coaching staff feels he’s absolutely ready.
For any rookie, especially quarterbacks, confidence is something that takes time to develop. Judging by his past at Penn State, Hackenberg has a high football IQ but went through some tough times his final two years. Due to poor coaching, a terrible offensive line and a lack of supporting cast, Hackenberg’s play suffered tremendously.
It’s to the point that when he was selected by the Jets in the 2016 NFL Draft, they knew he would need to be completely retrained to be successful in the NFL. It won’t be easy to say the least since it could easily take him a year or two to get acclimated to the Jets’ offensive playbook.
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Throwing Hackenberg into meaningless preseason action at this point in time just wouldn’t make sense.
It’s best to let him absorb the playbook and not be rushed into taking a few snaps that could cause him to embarrass himself due to not being ready yet.
With the way the Jets are handling their quarterback situation, it’s best to give reps to Smith and Petty who realistically have a chance to see regular season action in 2016.
If something should happen to Fitzpatrick, whether injury or a decline in play, Smith would be the next man up. If something should happen to Smith then it would be Petty.
The likelihood that the fate of the season relying on Hackenberg starting and leading the Jets to victory is realistically not going to happen. He needs to be on the sideline, learning, listening and adapting to what his role could be in the future. Not in 2016 but perhaps in 2017 or even 2018 depending on how fast he can put everything together and execute efficiently.
Even in training camp, Hackenberg isn’t ready to see playing time in preseason football. In an article written by Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News, Hackenberg has been struggling with his throws. He even coughed up two interceptions after seeing an increase in his reps which goes to show, he has a long way to go before being ready to play against real opponents.