Posted on July 31, 2017, by Travis Pulver
What a long, strange trip it has been for the New York Jet this offseason. Expectations have been low in New York for years, and after the salary cap/talent dump the last few months, they have become even lower. Popular opinion of the Jets has gotten so low they were accused of tanking long before training camp even started.
While, for many teams, the start of training camp signifies the end of the craziness. It means the business of the game has come to an end. It is time for the game itself to take over—but not if you are the New York Jets.
The craziness is still strong in the Big Apple. It will become even stronger if the team actually expects anyone to believe what they are selling.
Christian Hackenberg could be the Opening Day starter this season.
While speaking to reporters Monday, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said that Hackenberg has made good progress. He didn’t go as far as to say he is in line to start or that he even has a good shot (or a shot) at winning the job. But with how the narrative has changed about Hackenberg over the offseason, an argument could be made that the Jets are laying the ground work to justify giving him the job.
Back in May, defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson told the New York Post (h/t NFL) he thought Hackenberg had made some progress and complimented his arm. But he also said the game was too fast for him.
“Slowly progressing … still got a little ways to go. … He’s getting better every day … that’s pretty much it. Slowly progressing, man,” Richardson told the paper. “He still needs to get past the learning curve. It’s still too fast for him. But other than that, man, he’s still got a cannon. He’s firing it. When he’s on point, he’s on point, but when he’s not, he’s not, so got some growing still.”
But then in early June, stories spread throughout the media that Hackenberg’s accuracy was so bad during minicamp that he hit a couple of reporters with passes.
It certainly didn’t sound promising for the former second round pick. But then in late June the word on Hackberg suddenly became that he was closing the gap on McCown. Then, all of a sudden, as minicamp ended, Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates shocked the football-loving free world with his assessment of Hackenberg.
“I think he’s real accurate,” Bates said (247Sports). “I think he’s throwing the ball well. He’s throwing it on time. Part of his accuracy is knowing where to go with the ball, and each day, he plays faster. He gets in a rhythm, and I think everyone in the building is excited to see where he’s going. I think he’s accurate.”
A month ago, he was hitting reporters during practice, but now he’s accurate?
To be fair, nothing matters until training camp gets rolling and the team takes the field. The Jets don’t have a great option at quarterback, but they appear to be taking the right approach. All three—McCown, Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty—will get a shot to win the job.
But in the end, it really doesn’t matter who starts the season with the job. As bad as the Jets are expected to be, everyone will probably get a shot at some point during the season.