New York Jets Should Give Christian Hackenberg a Shot Soon

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I couldn’t agree more with NFL Network Analyst Michael Robinson, in his summation of the New York Jets’ quarterback struggles: “At some point, you have to see what you have in these young guys like Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick is back to being the starter for now, but he’s obviously not the guy for the future. Today he shook off an ugly first half to throw for 222 yards and a touchdown, leading the Jets (3-5) on three long scoring drives after they spotted the Cleveland Browns (0-8) a 13-point lead.

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Of course, don’t get too excited. It’s just the Browns, a team no one ever wants to bets on. Cleveland is the laughing stock of the NFL, and the Jets neither proved nor accomplished anything today with this win. It’s clear that New York isn’t going anywhere this campaign, so they need to figure out a plan for 2017 and beyond.

It all starts with the quarterback. Who’s the back-up behind Fitzpatrick?

“Well, the expectation is that it is going to be Bryce Petty, although no firm word from the Jets just yet,” NFL Network Analyst Ian Rapoport said before saying that if Fitzpatrick falters again, like he did earlier this season, the Jets will not hesitate, and turn to one or maybe both of the young quarterbacks because there is a lot of evaluating that needs to go on.

“They want to know, is Bryce Petty a viable option for 2017 and beyond, or is Christian Hackenberg the quarterback we thought he was when we drafted him in the second round? If the Jets continue to lose, all focus now will have to be on the future of their quarterback position.”

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A week after being benched, Fitzpatrick finished 16-34 passing for 228 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions. His passer rating for the game was 79.0, and he added 13 yards rushing on four carries. Not many betting sites are going to have the Jets favored to win many more games this season, as a 2016 postseason berth is a lost cause. Time to start playing for the future.

More on the Jets’ quarterback situation from Rapoport; who addressed the Geno Smith question as well.

“When Geno Smith went out with that ACL injury, I’m told Smith likely would have started again this week if he was healthy, they wanted to give him an extended audition because the reality is the Jets need to find out who their starting quarterback is beyond 2016.”

“Bryce Petty to be the back up today would of course be one option. Christian Hackenberg, their second rounder from Penn State, they like him, they want to give him a redshirt year but if the team continues to go off the rails there’s no harm in seeing what he can do under center as well.”

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Does Geno Smith have along term future in New York? Where do Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg fit? I think Smith has had his chances, but I can understand why this regime is not ready to give up on him just yet. I don’t see him as the potential answer though; same goes for Petty.

Hackenberg is the five star prospect with the blue chip measurables and potential. I’m certainly not saying he’ll be the answer, but it certainly can not hurt to try and find out now if he could be.

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