Rushing: Jets’ Hackenberg Isn’t Ready but the Show Must Go On

The quarterback situation for the Jets remains exactly that – a situation.

One of the top questions heading into training camp and preseason revolved around the quarterbacks, or lack of.

With the regular season around the corner, the Jets haven’t made much headway with this and the situation is showing no signs of getting better anytime soon.

Head coach Todd Bowles has given second-year quarterback Christian Hackenberg increased time as the starter in preseason to show what he can do. The results are beyond concerning.

Hackenberg threw two pick-sixes against the Giants. The week before, against the Lions, he also struggled with his pocket awareness. He needs more time to figure it out in every category that matters for an NFL quarterback with aspirations to become a starter.

That’s not the bottom line the Jets were hoping for. They used a second-round draft pick on Hackenberg last year, then sat him the entire season as an apprenticeship so he can learn. The hope was he’d be ready to play this season, he’s clearly still not ready.

Bryce Petty didn’t see much playing time early in training camp because of the added emphasis placed on Hackenberg. But against the Giants, in the second half, Petty made the most of his opportunity with three touchdown passes until he injured his knee in the fourth quarter.

While Petty’s injury status is currently up in the air, and Hackenberg clearly not ready, the Jets are left with 38-year old Josh McCown as the likely week 1 starter.

McCown hasn’t played much this preseason but he’s been in the league long enough where that shouldn’t be something the Jets lose sleep over. Bowles also can’t afford to see McCown injured in preseason.

The depth issue at quarterback is a problem for the Jets, heck, the overall quarterback situation is a problem. This is an understatement.

If this summer has shown anything for the Jets, it’s the quarterback of the future isn’t on this team yet.

That’s a body blow for a team looking to justify drafting Hackenberg as high as they did. The more he plays, the more he looks like a quarterback who should have went off the board much later than when he was picked.

Where do the Jets go from here?

Hackenberg, his fault or not, remains a project. Petty, fair or not, hasn’t had much in time to show he’s worth another look as the starter. McCown is there most likely just to put a credentialed NFL quarterback out on the field for week 1 in September.

But the show must go on.

Bowles still must find a way to get the Jets ready for the regular season. The defense has shown flashes all summer they have the potential to be better than expected. It doesn’t make up for the all the red flags popping up on offense, but it’s a start nevertheless.

As for the quarterback situation, it remains a work in progress with next year’s NFL Draft looming as the final destination.

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