Jets need to allow young quarterbacks to grow in 2017
By Michael Pallas
For the New York Jets, 2017 isn’t about winning, necessarily, it’s about building toward the future and having a solid foundation with which to build upon at quarterback.
September 10, the New York Jets head to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills to start the regular season. Who is their quarterback going to be? Frankly, it should be either Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg.
No matter which young quarterback they choose, the Jets can take solace in the fact that even one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time struggled in his first full season in the NFL. In 1998, the Indianapolis Colts drafted Peyton Manning, and his first season was a struggle.
Manning and the Colts offense scored 310 points, and individually it wasn’t what we think of with him under center. He completed less than 55 percent of his passes, threw 28 interceptions, and the Colts finished 3-13. Fast forward to now, and Manning is guaranteed to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
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The point of this isn’t that young quarterbacks are destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That would be a silly notion to even bring up. The point is that you need to allow young players to struggle and not coddle them. Allow them to take their lumps, get up, and learn from their mistakes.
Starting with the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jets need to put the pieces around the young quarterback they choose, starting with an offensive line. It took the Colts until Manning’s 11th season to win a Super Bowl. It takes time and patience, not shuffling quarterbacks and coaches constantly.
Say what you will about Hackenberg, but he’s essentially in his rookie season, as last season was used to retool his mechanics. Now he’s on the field again during preseason action and struggling. He’s not 100 percent sure of what he’s seeing because it’s all new to him.
If the Jets keep shuffling in new quarterbacks and coaches to find the right mix, they’ll never find them. What the Jets need is a steady pace toward a Super Bowl, not a lightning in a bottle quick fix. That won’t work. We need to be patient, and good things can come.
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