The New York Jets end their messy relationship with former second-round pick Christian Hackenberg via trade with the Oakland Raiders. Is the franchise to blame for their lack of consistency and development in Hackenberg’s case?
The New York Jets have officially traded quarterback Christian Hackenberg to the Oakland Raiders for a 2019 conditional 7th Round pick. The former 2016 second-round pick never played in a regular season game for the Jets. Hackenberg was only active in five of his 32 games as a Jet but never stepped foot on the field.
Arguably the worst draft pick by general manager Mike Maccagnan, Hackenberg never got a chance to really showcase his abilities for Gang Green. The coaching staff’s inability to develop the quarterback is the primary cause for Hackenberg’s failure to launch.
In Hackenberg’s two seasons in New York, he witnessed two offensive coordinator changes. During his rookie season in 2016, Chan Gailey was the Jets offensive coordinator. In 2017, Gailey was replaced by John Morton. Then this offseason, the Jets promoted quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates to offensive coordinator.
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Any quarterback in the NFL will tell you that going through back-to-back offensive coordinator changes will stunt your growth, especially for a young developmental one like Hackenberg.
Hackenberg has spent a majority of his time this offseason trying to overhaul his throwing motion to give himself a better shot to compete against current quarterback’s Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, and this year’s first-round pick Sam Darnold. Hours before he was traded to the Raiders, Hackenberg put part of the blame on the Jets coaching staff for his failures to develop as a quarterback.
Here is what Hackenberg had to say according to an article from Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News:
I think there were some times where I threw it really good throughout my first two years here, so that was the frustrating part for me, is the ups and downs and not knowing why, if that makes sense, and not really getting any information from anybody on how to fix that and how do address it.”
Hackenberg had to sit behind draft busts Geno Smith and Bryce Petty along with journeymen quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown during his two seasons as a Jet. There were ample opportunities for the Jets to give Hackenberg some game action, especially last season after McCown broke his wrist. However, the Jets stuck with a struggling Petty to close 2017.
It is very surprising that with the investment Maccagnan made with Hackenberg in the second round, head coach Todd Bowles and himself never let Hackenberg get some game action and go through his growing pains as a quarterback.
Now Hackenberg gets a chance to resurrect his career in Oakland with a head coach in Jon Gruden who he has a relationship with. Hackenberg appeared on Gruden’s QB Camp in 2016. Maybe Gruden and Hackenberg can come together to help develop Hackenberg into a solid backup behind Derek Carr.
One thing is for sure though, Hackenberg will continue to work on his fundamentals and mechanics to prove he can become a good quarterback. Hackenberg is confident in his ability to do that according to Popper’s article as to which he made the following bold statement:
For the first time in a long time right now I feel that I have a solid foundation from a fundamental standpoint,” Hackenberg said. “And the cool thing is it only started two months ago, and it’s only going to keep on getting better and better and better. So I’m excited about it.”
Too bad the Jets will never know what they had in Hackenberg since they failed in his development. Even in a losing season last year, the Jets refused to at least give him a single series in garbage time. If things work out for Hackenberg with the Raiders, this could turn into quite the story years from now in Jets lore.