Posted on June 9, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Life hasn’t been ideal for fans of the New York Jets in recent years. The team has flirted with respectability but haven’t come close to following through. With the Jets appearing like they are aiming to tank this coming season, it doesn’t look like life is going to get better anytime soon.
If you listen to the Jets front office, they aren’t tanking at all. They are looking to do like many teams and build through the draft. It doesn’t hurt that they have managed to cut $68 million in salary either.
Mark Cuban felt comfortable enough to admit the Mavericks tanked towards the end of the season–but that was after-the-fact. No team will ever admit to doing so before training camp starts. However, there is one-way fans can know that the New York Jets are indeed trying to tank this season.
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If the team starts Christian Hackenberg—the fix is in.
When the Jet drafted him in the second round, it was likely with the hope that he could be the quarterback of the future. He played his best football his freshman year at Penn State and had the critics raving about his pro potential. His sophomore and junior year were not as good, but the Jets apparently felt there was enough talent there for them to work with him.
But the word on him throughout training camp, the preseason, and the regular season last year was not positive.
During OTAs, he was described as struggling. During training camp, he was ‘brutally bad.’ His play was so bad that they feared for his confidence should he flop miserably during an actual game and they only let him see a few reps during the preseason. Despite the injury issues and struggles Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty, and Geno Smith had during the regular season, he never played him.
His passes were even terrible during pregame warmups last season—when there was no defense!
Surely, he has gotten better—right?
Well—one local reporter recently commented on his cannon for an arm and said he is progressing slowly. However, another report talked about how his throws were so off target that he managed to hit a couple of reporters:
“When Hackenberg misses he really misses,” Connor Hughes of NJ.com wrote. “He threw just two interceptions in team drills, but nearly tossed six others. And I’m not talking about a receiver falling down. I’m saying the defender just dropped the ball….”
Pretty bad, right? It gets worse.
“…Other times, the wideout/running back/tight end was wide open, and Hackenberg sailed it over his head or bounced it to him. That can’t happen. In the three media-open OTAs, Hackenberg hit reporters with passes twice.”
With how Hackenberg is being described, it is hard to imagine him making enough improvement to warrant a roster spot—but starting? If the New York Jets actually start Hackenberg, the fix would have to be in. They would have to be tanking.
Either that or trying to recreate the scene in Bull Durham where “Nuke” LaLoosh hits the mascot with a pitch. He’s hitting reporters, so why not a mascot?