Even when they were out of playoff contention during the regular season, the New York Jets dropped the ball when it came to finally getting a glimpse of what quarterback Christian Hackenberg can and can’t do from under center.
Towards the end of the 2017 regular season, the New York Jets were out of playoff contention with a few weeks left to go and decided to stick with quarterback Bryce Petty once Josh McCown was out for the year due to a broken hand injury.
In case you missed it, Petty played some of the worst football you can imagine from under center. In the four games Petty played in (three starts, one game in which he relieved McCown after he was injured), he totaled 55 completions out of112 attempts, 544 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
Not only was Petty immensely inaccurate, but his footwork was abysmal and he looked lost and confused on the gridiron. Yes, he had a few nice throws here and there but the overall snapshot on Petty is that he’s not fit to be a starter in the NFL, let alone a backup quarterback.
Petty is so bad that it would be a miracle if the Jets decided to keep him next season. One would think the Jets would have at least given quarterback Christian Hackenberg a shot to see what he’s got in a lost and losing season.
Unfortunately, the Jets didn’t even so much use common football sense when it came to using a second-round quarterback they drafted back in 2016. Hackenberg actually hit the record books as he’s one of just a few quarterbacks in NFL history that was drafted and never took so much as a single snap during a regular season football game in their first two seasons as a pro.
Again, other teams, in a situation where they’re mathematically eliminated from the NFL Playoffs, would have given as many regular season reps as possible to their younger players. After all, experience is key in the NFL, especially when it comes to the most important position on a football team.
The Jets dropped the ball big time when it came to doing something that would have had more pros than cons. Obviously, if the Jets gave Hackenberg a shot, he would have had an opportunity to lead the first-team offense in a regular season game. It’s more valuable than preseason action and even more than anything he’ll run in weekly practice.
While most people would say that Hackenberg probably is as bad if not worse than Petty based on reports of his own issues as a quarterback over the past few years on the bench, how can he possibly fix his issues if he doesn’t get an opportunity? Even if Hackenberg got a start, a half, a quarter, or heck, even a series to just run the Jets offense, it would have been better than nothing.
If he played terribly, at least he’d have real game film to work with and take into the offseason. If by chance he played well, that boost of confidence would go an extremely long way in his overall development and well, would also give the Jets hope that he’s worth keeping around for the future.
But nope, not the Jets. They continue to keep the bubble wrap on him and hope that without any real learning experiences as a quarterback, he can develop from the sideline into a starter. The bottom line is that this decision by the Jets to not even give Hackenberg a shot after McCown went down and Petty played terribly will easily be the biggest mistake they made in 2017.
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It’s hard to predict what the Jets will ultimately do at quarterback but if they decide to completely clean house and start over again with a top free agent in addition to drafting a high-quality quarterback, it could be the end for both Petty and Hackenberg.
If the Jets do decide to keep one or the other, Petty is more than likely going to be cut with Hackenberg kept due to the unknown. Either it’ll be a good idea or be a bad one but again, had the Jets just at least given Hackenberg some playing time, they’d have more clarity as to what he can or can’t bring to the table.
Overall, with the long offseason ahead, it will be yet another interesting time to see what the Jets do at quarterback They’ll have a lot of salary cap money to play with, a full 2018 NFL Draft class, and the optimism that general manager Mike Maccagnan can finally fix their quarterback situation once and for all. The jury, however, is still out on whether or not Hackenberg can be “the guy” the Jets have been looking to finally be their franchise quarterback. Would have been nice to play him and see given the circumstances, eh?