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Christian Hackenberg has one thing to prove in 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 27: Christian Hackenberg #5 of the New York Jets drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on August 27, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Jets 21-20. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 27: Christian Hackenberg #5 of the New York Jets drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on August 27, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Jets 21-20. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /
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There’s one thing we know about one of the two young quarterbacks of the New York Jets. Christian Hackenberg is one tough competitor.

For quarterback Christian Hackenberg, training camp is more about the mental than the physical in 2017. He needs to prove to the New York Jets that he doesn’t “hear footsteps.” He needs to show that he’s not psychologically damaged by hits he took in college.

When Bill O’Brien left Happy Valley for Houston after one season with Hackenberg, he took his protection scheme with him. Despite the numbers, the Jets drafted Hackenberg anyway.

The website LandOf10.com ranked the top 100 players in the history of Penn State football. In his piece, Corey Masisak ranked Hackenberg No. 69. He took a lot of hits in his time. In fact, he took 83 sacks. Masisak told us this in his article:

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Hackenberg spent those two seasons with an offensive line severely lacking in depth. He was sacked 83 times. It had to stunt his development.

The offensive line issues at Penn State were due to the lack of scholarships at those positions. Penn State had a severe reduction in scholarships after what happened with Jerry Sandusky. He also endured the aforementioned coaching change and a change in philosophy.

He went from the pro-style offense to the spread, and we saw a precipitous decline in performance. His completion percentage, yards, yards per attempt and touchdowns were all lower in his junior season than his freshman year.

He showed that he clearly wasn’t a fit in the spread offense, he consistently struggled. The spread offense requires more athletic offensive linemen, which Penn State didn’t have at the time. That also, undoubtedly, contributed to the sacks and hits he took.

Once he can prove he’s no longer affected by the hits he took in college, he can move on to the next step.

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