The Jets don’t have a starting quarterback yet, but hopes were 2016 second-round draft pick Christian Hackenberg would be able to step up and lead New York to a rebound year this fall.
Early returns suggest that won’t be the case.
The former Penn State passer has been woefully inaccurate, lobbing interceptions and poorly timed passes on which the Jets’ secondary has feasted. New York’s defensive backs aren’t the only ones at the team’s preseason practices to get in on the fun, however. Hackenberg has hit reporters on the sidelines twice through three media-open official team activities so far.
Hackenberg is in the early stages of the world’s saddest quarterback competition. He’s vying for the top spot against Josh McCown and Bryce Petty, two athletes who went a combined 1-6 as starting quarterbacks last fall. Whoever wins will have a similarly depleted lineup of wideouts to target; after discarding Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall this offseason, the Jets top receivers include Quincy Enunwa, Charone Peake, and Robby Anderson.
Needless to say, these moves haven’t done much to improve head coach Todd Bowles’ job security.
This isn’t the first time the abject depression of New York’s QB race has escaped the void and floated to the top of the news cycle. Early reports from OTAs painted a grim picture in which McCown, who completed fewer than 55 percent of his passes in 2016, will win the top role by default.
That leaves a tremendous opportunity for Hackenberg, the strong-arm passer who looked like a potential No. 1 overall pick early in his Nittany Lion career. However, instead of grasping the reins, he’s failed to make an impact against a passing defense that ranked 30th out of 32 teams last season.