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  • #31
    Assessing Christian Hackenberg's play after Jets' OTAs

    By Connor Hughes | NJ Advance Media for
    The Jets concluded their third and final media-open OTA this week. How did quarterback Christian Hackenberg look throughout the three weeks of voluntary workouts?

    How's Hackenberg looking?

    It was just one play, but it provided a glimpse into what Christian Hackenberg can do when he's on.

    The Jets' polarizing quarterback lined the offense up five yards from the end zone at Tuesday's organized team activity. He looked down the line to his left, then scanned the field to his right. There wideout Eric Decker waited, cornerback Morris Claiborne inches in front.

    Hackenberg took the snap, pivoted, and fired a back-shoulder throw to Decker, who caught the ball and toe-tapped for the score. It was a picture-perfect pass where anything else would have failed.

    "I'm confident I can play at this level, and play at a high level," Hackenberg said at his locker later.

    A few more throws like that, and he won't be the only one.

    The Roller Coaster Hackenberg was on full display in the Jets' three media-open OTAs. While the Decker play was a highlight, there were plenty of lowlights to match.

    How'd Hackenberg look overall? Here's the OTA overview.


    It's actually a pretty smart move by coach Todd Bowles. It's something he learned from Cardinals coach Bruce Arians. In OTAs, the Jets use two fields. On one (closest to media), the starters and significant backups work. On the other, rookies, undrafted free agents and roster-bubble players. By doing it this way, the young guys get double and triple the reps they normally would. It helps them get acclimated.

    In the three media-open OTAs, Hackenberg worked on the far field once, split time on the far and near field once, and then, because the Jets worked inside due to weather, practiced entirely on the main field.


    The Jets split the quarterbacks up in the three media-open OTAs. Josh McCown spoke first (May 23), then Bryce Petty (May 30), and finally Hackenberg (Tuesday).

    Here were some of the highlights of his chat:

    On working with Jeremy Bates:
    • "Jeremy has been great, and I think ultimately with all of us, he’s just been working on consistency and building muscle memory. Like our warm-ups (are) the same every day, and we’re doing the same type of movements, but all of it goes back to just consistency with our feet and our base and delivering the football. So for me, and I think for everyone in the room, that’s kind of where he harps on."
    On his critics believing he can't play
    • "That’s their opinions. I can’t really, like, speak for them, it’s whoever it is, but I know what I can do, I know what my coaching staff feels I can do, so, I’m just confident in my abilities. When I get my opportunity to play, I’m going to do that... I’m confident I can play at this level and play at a high level, so I'm going to go, when I get my opportunity, take advantage of that."
    On his red-zone touchdown to Decker
    • "It was a good look. Deck made a great play, great adjustment, so, That’s good to get those types of plays in the spring... [Claiborne] was out there, he was press inside, Deck had a fade, so he kind of held him at the line pretty well and Mo kind of played on top of him, so I just put it on the back shoulder soft so he could make a player, and he did. Great play by Deck."
    On his redshirt season
    • "I really can't change it. You know what I mean? It was in the past. It is what it is. But I think if you're a negative person, you kind of think about it negatively and you say, 'Dang, I wish I had a chance. I don't want to fill my mind with that type of negativity. I'd rather focus on the positive of it and take what I learned from it and the good from it. And that's how I kind of look at last year, I try and take the positives out of it and go from there."

    NJ Advance Media kept a close eye on Hackenberg in the three media-open OTAs. While these statistics aren't official, they provide a glimpse into Hackenberg's play during team drills.

    21 of 36 passing (58 percent) | TD | 2 INTs | Fumble | 4 sacks


    While there weren't any video opportunities at the Jets' OTA Tuesday, there were the first two open practices. Here are some clips of Hackenberg working in individual drills.THE GOOD

    Hackenberg is noticeably improved from his rookie season. His footwork -- which was a point of emphasis in the offseason -- is more consistent, and he's missing less throws than he used to. Hackenberg also doesn't appear afraid of dumping it off anymore.

    Last year, he wanted to show off his cannon arm, which caused him to force passes to places they shouldn't be. Now, he's dropping the ball off to the running back much more. That's a positive.

    "I think that’s an area where I can improve on and that’s something that I want to focus on," Hackenberg said. "I think it’s not being the gunslinger in terms of, like, I own that. But I want to be able to frame the game and understand, like what I was saying, understand when you can take those risks and when you can’t."


    While improved, Hackenberg still doesn't look good. He just looks better than he did as a rookie. He still has very really accuracy issues. An errant pass in individual drills may not seem like a big deal now, but when playing a live defense, it makes all the difference.

    There's such a fine line between a good quarterback and a bad one. Hackenberg needs to be more accurate, especially when there's no defense. He misses far too many passes against against air. There's no excuse for that. I don't have the exact numbers, but I'd say a safe estimate is he completed just 60-65 percent of his passes in quarterback-receiver drills. That's not good.


    When Hackenberg misses... he really misses. He threw just two interceptions in team drills, but nearly tossed six others. And I'm not talking about a receiver falling down. I'm saying the defender just dropped the ball.

    Other times, the wideout/running back/tight end was wide open, and Hackenberg sailed it over his head or bounced it to him. That can't happen. In the three media-open OTAs, Hackenberg hit reporters with passes twice.


    It's too early to tell if John Morton's west coast offense is a good fit for Hackenberg, but the immediate return at least warrants more observation. Hackenberg is learning a brand-new offense for the first time. Some of these hiccups and struggles are expected.

    The Jets begin minicamp next week. Players then have a month off before training camp starts July 31.

    It may be a bit premature to say fans should be optimistic about Hackenberg, but at the minimum, he does look better than he did last year.
    If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


    • #32
      It’s too early to nitpick over Jets QB Christian Hackenberg

      THE NFL’s desire to become a year-round, around-the clock enterprise has turned its silly season into a knee-slapper with an inordinate amount of fake news. Molehills morph into mountains in this fast-moving news cycle. The need to fill every waking moment with information has put plenty of unsuspecting players in the crosshairs, including those relatively new to the scene.

      The ridiculousness surrounding Christian Hackenberg this offseason is disappointing on myriad fronts. He’s unwittingly become a lightning rod, fodder in an overly analytical landscape. Frankly, he deserves better treatment.

      Fairness is in the eye of the beholder, but from my vantage point, the young quarterback hasn’t exactly received the benefit of the doubt a little more than a year into his professional life. Granted, I have no earthly idea whether he’ll blossom in his second season and beyond, but I know that it’s patently absurd to dissect his every move in coordinated practices designed to help his development.

      It's a wonder that we haven't broken down his pre-practice stretching routine yet.

      (Full disclosure: I fell into that trap during the Great War of 2012: Tebow vs. Sanchez before fully grasping the absurdity of tracking such nonsense.)

      Two Hackenberg passes prompted plenty of chatter last week. Here’s the truth about the pair of “errant” throws that became water cooler talk:

      1) A wide receiver slipped on his break on a corner route in passing drills as Hackenberg’s throw flew out of bounds and in the direction of media members lined up a few feet off the sideline. Conclusion: Not a big deal.

      2) Hackenberg's pass in individual drills sailed over the shortest receiver on the roster at the time — 5-9 undrafted rookie Brisly Estime. Conclusion: Whoopty-freakin-do.

      It’s no secret that Hackenberg, who had a 56.1 completion rate in three seasons in college, needs to improve his accuracy at the next level, but it’s misleading to intimate that he’s some sort of out-of-control gunslinger hitting innocent bystanders off in the distance.

      It’s true that there were folks on One Jets Drive less than impressed by Hackenberg last season. One eyewitness at nearly every practice told me in January that the then-rookie would never make it. Woody Johnson even cracked a joke about the young quarterback’s accuracy issues right after the season in the wake of an ESPN report. Those sweeping assessments are as unfair today as they were at the time they were made.

      Perhaps time will prove those critics right, but the notion of dissecting a player's performance in three offseason practices (in shorts, mind you) is as useless as it is just plain wrong. Remember, Hackenberg has only 47 preseason pass attempts on his professional resume.
      . (Howard Simmons/New York Daily News) .
      The organization has indeed seen tangible growth from Hackenberg this spring. The brain trust believes he’s playing faster with much better mechanics than a year ago. He has his fair share of corrections to make, but again: This is PRACTICE.

      “I feel like his confidence is growing every day and he improves every day,” veteran quarterback Josh McCown said Tuesday before the start of the team’s three-day minicamp. “You can see that. His grasp of the system has been really good. The coaches are doing a heck of a job of teaching it. He’s just taking to coaching. You see it rep by rep … his improvement. I think that’s cool.”

      Coaches have tested Hackenberg in this environment to get clarity on what he can and cannot do at the moment. Mistakes in practices are inevitable. It’s part of the learning process.

      The team is encouraged by Hackenberg’s progress, but fully aware that he has plenty left to learn in new offensive coordinator John Morton’s West Coast-inspired offense.

      “It’s going to take time. … I feel like he’s improving tremendously,” McCown said. “Obviously he’s a big strong guy that can make all the throws. So that parts attractive. Now it’s about getting him to a level in this offense where he feels really comfortable.”

      It's a big-boy league that requires big-boy pants, but the seemingly gratuitous nitpicking of a player learning a new system in his second season is silly. Hackenberg will get his opportunity to show everyone how much he has learned beginning this preseason. He’ll get his chance at some point in the regular season, too.

      If he stinks up the joint, he’ll be fair game for criticism. If it becomes clear that he’s not the franchise quarterback, the Jets will take a swing at the coveted position at the top of the 2018 draft.

      Hackenberg has the right mindset amid the scrutiny. Time will tell whether or not he’s got the goods.

      That time is not today.
      Last edited by H2O4me; 06-14-2017, 09:28 AM.
      If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


      • #33
        Jets conclude shocking offseason with many questions, few answers

        FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After 13 offseason practices, the New York Jets scattered Thursday for a six-week break before training camp, July 28. A lot happened over the past few weeks. This is what we learned:

        1. Management/ownership is all-in on the roster strip down. The plan was obvious in March and April, when they dumped several starters. At that point, you figured they'd call off The Turk, assuming enough was enough. But, no. That changed on Bloody Tuesday (June 6), when they said adios to David Harris and Eric Decker. It sent a clear message to the locker room that winning isn't the priority in 2017. Clearly, the goal is to get the No. 1 overall pick.

        2. The quarterback gap isn't as wide as we thought. Christian Hackenberg performed a little better than expected and Josh McCown -- aka the kindergarten teacher -- wasn't quite as sharp as anticipated, especially in minicamp. McCown remains the favorite to start, but it's not an insurmountable lead. Hackenberg has to show he can perform in preseason games. Bryce Petty is running third. No matter how it shakes out, it won't be pretty.

        3. The receiving corps is scary young. If everyone is healthy -- a big if, considering the way injuries have hit -- the top three receivers on opening day probably will be Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Charone Peake. Jalin Marshall made strides, but he's facing a four-game suspension. Relying on inexperienced players, in a new offense, isn't a good formula.

        4. The offensive line needs to get healthy. Right guard Brian Winters (rotator cuff surgery) missed every practice and swing tackle Ben Ijalana (knee scope) sat out the last two weeks. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee) was limited throughout the spring. We're not talking about an overly talented unit to begin with, so keeping them on the field is imperative.
        If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


        • #34
          Is Hackenberg getting fair shake?

          A very rocky and interesting offseason is over for the Jets. They concluded their offseason program with last week’s three-day minicamp.

          The Jets spent this offseason shedding salary and veteran leadership, in the name of a youth movement, with an eye on grabbing the No. 1 draft pick in 2018. What is left of the roster will reconvene in six weeks for training camp.

          Here are my five takeaways from the offseason program:

          Catching grief

          Of all the changes the Jets have made, I think letting Eric Decker go might be the one they feel the most. Their wide receivers are young — like probably-not-old-enough-to-rent-a-car young. Even with Brandon Marshall gone, Decker provided the Jets with one proven target on the outside. But the Jets cut him last week, and now Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Charone Peake are your top three wide receivers.

          Draft picks ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen had a hard time staying on the field in the spring, both dealing with injuries. Maybe they can fight their way into the conversation in August.

          My biggest question, though, is if this season is truly about evaluating Hackenberg, how is he getting a fair shot with this group of receivers? He could use a target he can trust on the outside.

          Oh, snap!

          The quarterback competition between Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty is the most interesting storyline right now. Hackenberg surprised me, especially during the minicamp. He has made some strides and I’m not sure McCown starting Week 1 is a sure thing.

          Hackenberg showed a deft touch on deep passes, and looked improved on the short and intermediate throws — an area in which he really struggled last year. He still looks inaccurate and unsure of himself at times. If he can make more progress in training camp and especially the preseason games, he could make the quarterback decision a tough one for coach Todd Bowles.
          If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


          • #35
            GM: Hackenberg has made 'good progress'

            Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said Christian Hackenberg made "good progress" this offseason.

            The sophomore has been working with QBs coach Jeremy Bates to correct some of his mechanical flaws, and the MMQB's Albert Breer reported the Jets were happy with Hackenberg's progress following the offseason program. Still, Maccagnan said he is eager to see how the quarterback performs during the preseason. Even if Josh McCown wins the job Week 1, the smart money is on Hackenberg making starts this year.
            Source: Rich Cimini on Twitter
            Jul 31 - 11:15 AM
            If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


            • #36


              How the Jets really feel about Christian Hackenberg: A behind-the-scenes look at their plan

              MANISH MEHTA
              NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

              The legend of Christian Hackenberg has spun out of control in this information-hungry world that craves every nugget, no matter how irrelevant or incorrect it might be.

              Remember, Hackenberg was a crazy, wild man a few months ago, supposedly plunking innocent scribes off in the distance with out-of-control passes. It's a wonder that such overblown nonsense didn't mushroom into a larger fable: "Hey, I heard Hack side-swiped some poor old lady crossing the street in Morristown with an errant throw."

              The latest tall tale from a blurb on the electronic superhighway erroneously claimed Hackenberg was sent off the field after a gaffe at a recent practice. Fantasy, of course, is much more appealing than reality.

              The truth? New offensive coordinator John Morton wanted the second-year signal caller to sharpen his command in the huddle during a passing drill. It was a teaching moment for the fiery new offensive coordinator. Hackenberg took about five steps back and watched Bryce Petty step in. Moments later, Hackenberg got another chance and fired a bullet for a completion. He never came close to leaving the field.

              Such is life these days for the most scrutinized football player in New York/New Jersey. So much is overblown.

              I was critical of the curious plan for Hackenberg in the first week of training camp. The Jets, however, believe they've chosen the proper path by easing him along.

              So, why hasn't Hackenberg received more first-team practice reps with the starters? (He worked with the backups in the first 7 of 10 practices.)

              The top priority is to gradually build Hackenberg's confidence, according to team insiders.

              The thinking is simple: If Hackenberg can bank some good plays against the second-team defense, it will propel him to the next step in his education. Morton and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates want Hackenberg to stack those moments to help prepare him for an upgrade in competition. So, the two coaches set forth a relatively conservative plan to bring him along.

              The last thing the organization wanted or needed is for Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and Mo Wilkerson to crush the young quarterback's soul by making life miserable for him at the outset of training camp.

              There's a fine line between learning from your mistakes in practice and shattering your confidence because of those errors.

              Before armchair psychologists chime in with the predictable "fragile psyche" narratives, consider that Hackenberg was sacked 103 times in 38 college games, including 82 times in his final two seasons behind a patchwork offensive line that included converted defensive linemen.

              Hackenberg is the ultimate work in progress. Mistakes are inevitable. And practice is a time to learn from those mistakes.

              Blowing those mistakes out of proportion is tempting for observers, but the organization doesn't have its collective head in the sand, either.

              The brain trust is fully aware that it has to make a full and fair evaluation of Hackenberg by season's end, but the Jets will absolutely not rush his development to force him under center by Week 1 at Buffalo if he's not ready. They shouldn't rush his development, because the results for everyone could be disastrous.

              As of now, the Jets don't believe that Hackenberg is ready to start the season opener.

              The prevailing sentiment on One Jets Drive is that he is still holding on to the ball too long. He needs to read defenses faster so that he can make quicker decisions, according to people in the know.

              He's taken entirely too many "sacks" in 11-on-11 practice sessions to this point. (He's also holding it too long in 7-on-7 passing drills from time to time.)

              Life is great wearing a red no-contact jersey in practice it's easier to hold on to the ball a tick or two longer when there's no threat of bodily harm but the Jets brain trust has legitimate concerns that Hackenberg will be a sitting duck who will inevitably get hurt in games if he doesn't speed up his decision-making in the pocket.

              There's also a belief that Hackenberg has taken Morton's directive of taking care of the football to the extreme. It's a fair concern within the organization. Remember, Greg McElroy was concussed after getting sacked 11 times in his lone career start once upon a time. McElroy was so worried about not throwing an interception that he simply held on to the ball too long in a loss to the Chargers in 2012.

              Playing turnover-free football obviously has its privileges, but there's a faction on One Jets Drive that thought Hackenberg was overly concerned with his streak of nine consecutive practices without an interception.

              There's no need to overreact though. There aren't warring factions in the building. It's simply a part of the maturation process of a young quarterback. Clarity comes by calming down.

              So, Bates is helping Hackenberg adopt the clear mindset to throw the ball away rather than take a sack.

              Hackenberg has had his challenges setting and/or adjusting protections at the line of scrimmage from time to time too, according to insiders. He struggled with it when he took a handful of snaps with the starters recently. The lack of an experienced center has really hurt Hackenberg in that area.

              Nick Mangold was invaluable during Mark Sanchez's rookie season as an extra set of eyes to identify pre-snap land mines. Hackenberg could sure use that, too.

              An inexperienced wide receiving corps further complicates the quarterback's evaluation.

              The Jets plan includes significant playing time for Hackenberg in the preseason, including the opener against the Titans this weekend. The hope is that he'll build some confidence and graduate to the next level.

              No matter what happens, there will be no shortage of praise or panic.
              If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


              • #37
                First dropback...

                If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.