Jets News

Making the case for the Jets to start Christian Hackenberg

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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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Since the New York Jets are officially eliminated from making the NFL Playoffs and with two games left this season, it makes complete and total sense to at least give quarterback Christian Hackenberg one start.

When quarterback Christian Hackenberg was selected in the 2nd Round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he was labeled a developmental kind of player. Hackenberg was pretty much a project for the coaching staff of the New York Jets to completely re-tool and re-train to be a successful NFL quarterback.

Last season, Hackenberg was pretty much red-shirted and didn’t play a single snap during the regular season in his rookie year. The Jets wanted to give him time to develop properly on the sideline so he could learn the mental aspects of the game.

This past preseason, Hackenberg played in a game that made him look like he could be the real deal. Then the following week, he made so many errors, it looked as if he regressed in just a matter of days. That was the last time the football world saw Hackenberg under center as since then, he’s been the third-string backup on the Jets depth chart.

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At this point in time, veteran quarterback Josh McCown is out for the season with a broken hand injury and Bryce Petty is the next man up. Last week against the New Orleans Saints, not only did the Jets lose but Petty didn’t look so good, to say the least. Petty totaled just 179 yards, 19 completions, one touchdown, and two costly interceptions.

With just two games left in the season, head coach Todd Bowles has confirmed that Petty would continue starting since he was McCown’s backup. The truth of the matter is, this is a mistake in the grand scheme of things.

The Jets are officially eliminated from the NFL Playoffs as these final two games against the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots mean nothing at all besides developing the younger players on the team. Why would Bowles want to continue playing Petty when clearly, he struggled last week and has been struggling in pretty much every game he’s played in as a starter?

The quarterback position is the most important on any football team as there would be no harm done to at least give Hackenberg one game to start to not only give him some valuable regular season experience but to also boost his confidence one way or another.

If Hackenberg plays well, that’s something tangible he can take into the offseason to build upon for the future. If Hackenberg doesn’t play well, that’s also something to take into the offseason for him to continue honing his craft in order to again, improve as a quarterback.

Either way, with two meaningless games left on the schedule, it would be wise for the Jets to at least see what they have in Hackenberg during a real football game. Not training camp, not preseason, but a real football game that he can legitimately prepare for and learn from. For a second-round pick and a quarterback that’s been sidelined for about two seasons now, Hackenberg should be more than ready to at least start, lead the offense, and do his best to execute.

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If the Jets don’t start Hackenberg at all this season, it would be a dire mistake since he would still have a huge question mark on whether or not he can be a franchise quarterback in the future. While one game won’t truly define Hackenberg, it would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction for his continued development. If he’s not ready by now to start, when will he ever be? It’s the perfect time to start him in regular season games that don’t matter and see where he currently is on his personal growth and development.

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