The talk of the first day of the New York Jets’ rookie minicamp appeared to center around their second-round pick, quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
If the attention on Hackenberg is an early indication of what’s to come, over the next few weeks, head coach Todd Bowles will have plenty of chances to practice his poker-face for the media.
The Jets didn’t use a second-round draft pick, which arguably could have been used on another position of need, and grab Hackenberg if they didn’t see potential in him as their quarterback of the future.
Could the future come quicker than we think? Bowles made sure the perspective was kept where it needed to be, on the beginning of a process.
“The first day, it was a healthy learning process for him,” Bowles said. “He threw the ball in individuals so he was fine.”
Rookie minicamp is a good way for draft picks to get an early feel for the process. It’s also an opportunity for undrafted players, coming in as try-outs, to possibly open a few eyes with their play.
Bowles, when asked on what the coaches are looking to see from Hackenberg during the minicamp, placed an emphasis on grasping the mental aspect of the process.
“You’re just looking for him to learn the system and get acclimated,” said Bowles. “You’re not looking to see anything right now because none of them know anything. Right now is about teaching and understanding what we do and processing it and then going out in a three-day span and seeing if they can maintain whatever they learned in the meetings. That’s all this is about.”
While the Jets continue to go about figuring out how their quarterback picture pans out for the upcoming season, with or without Ryan Fitzpatrick, the development of Hackenberg will be one of the storylines to keep an eye on as training camp approaches.
Time will tell if Hackenberg’s closer to the quarterback who impressed as a freshman for Penn State or if he’s the player who struggled mightily his last two seasons there. Bowles and the Jets appear to be patient in finding out what they have in Hackenberg, which is the wise move.
If there are any bad habits Hackenberg is bringing with him, out of his time at Penn State, Bowles doesn’t appear to be too concerned. The message appears clear: give it time, put in the work, and embrace the process.
“We all have bad habits,” said Bowles. “I mean, you see mistakes, I don’t know if you see bad habits. We can take every person in the draft and say they have bad habits, as well as ourselves. We saw enough that we are positive in what we have and we are willing to work with him, and we’re fine with that.”