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Starting Christian Hackenberg will only help franchise grow

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 19: Christian Hackenberg #5 of the New York Jets drops back to pass during the first quarter of the preseason game against the Detroit Lions on August 19, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Jets 16-6. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 19: Christian Hackenberg #5 of the New York Jets drops back to pass during the first quarter of the preseason game against the Detroit Lions on August 19, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Jets 16-6. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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All signs are pointing to Josh McCown starting for the New York Jets in Orchard Park on September 10, but Christian Hackenberg needs to take his lumps and grow with this team.

If this New York Jets team were a veteran laden team, then they should try to catch lightning in a bottle with quarterback Josh McCown. They’re not, though, and starting him could stunt their growth.

A player can’t grow by sitting on the bench. He can only grow by going out there, taking his lumps and making mistakes, then watching film and learning from them. If he can’t do that, he’s not fit to be a starter in this league.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg can learn the wide receivers tendencies in games that count. He can also get used to regular season speed by being in the fray, rather than just observing.

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There’s no way head coach Todd Bowles should get fired at the end of the season if he ultimately decides to go with Hackenberg, unless it’s an unmitigated disaster.

In fact, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, owner Woody Johnson told reporters just that back in January:

“I don’t really like mandates because they normally don’t work – lines in the sand or whatever. You don’t want to judge it that way. The way we’ll judge it is getting better each and every year, and seeing it in our players, our young players – are they getting better or are they going the other way.”

This team is young, and it doesn’t help them to develop a rapport with a veteran quarterback who will likely not be there with them to see them at the end of their development. Say what you will about Hackenberg’s performance against the Detroit Lions on Saturday, it wasn’t entirely his fault as the offensive line did him no favors. That doesn’t prove that he shouldn’t start, just that he still has to learn, and that’s a good thing.

Now he has tape to show that he needs to get the ball to his hot receiver when there’s quick pressure, and he needs to recognize the blitz earlier. Rather than benching Hackenberg, allow him to learn from the mistakes, this way we know what he is and isn’t actually capable of.

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