The Jets’ offseason program came to an end on Thursday with head coach Todd Bowles saying that the competition for the starting quarterback job will be alive and well when the team starts training camp next month.
Reports from those practices and the number of snaps each quarterback took have painted a picture that has Josh McCown in the lead while 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg’s work was described in far from glowing terms. Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates offered a more positive assessment of Hackenberg’s play this offseason, which Hackenberg says is far more important to him.
“I don’t pay attention to [media reports]. You guys have a job to do, and I understand that and also have a job to do,” Hackenberg said in comments distributed by the team. “Ultimately, I have to continue to trust in myself, trust in the situation I’m in and continue to get better and continue to grow. That’s my goal and that’s all I try to do. I’m a low-key guy. I really don’t see much, but that’s what I’m trying to do, and whatever it is I can’t control it. … I think ultimately in my opinion, the only people who’s opinions I really care about are the people I’m involved with every day and know exactly what’s going on in this building as an offense and as a team. My quarterback coach specifically. If those guys say something to me, I’m going to take that to heart because they know exactly what’s going on, every detail of it. That’s how I look at it.”
Given Bowles’ comments this week about every kindergarten needing a teacher in reference to McCown’s veteran standing on a very young team, it seems likely that Hackenberg will start this season on the bench. That’s where he spent all of last year, but his draft status and the team’s need to find out whether he can make it in the NFL suggest he’ll get a look at some point this season.
If he does, practice reports won’t be significant to anyone because, for better or worse, there will be actual evidence of his ability to do the job.