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Fugget about it: Christian Hackenberg isn’t ready for the big stage

New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg
Jesse Reed
Written by Jesse Reed

The New York Jets wanted to see what Christian Hackenberg could do as the starter Saturday night in Detroit against the Lions. It was the first time he’d ever been given the opportunity to start after spending his first season inactive. Let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.

In fact, Hackenberg’s performance can only be described as one of those slow-motion disasters you can’t peel your eyes away from. Just awful.

Here are the final numbers before head coach Todd Bowles took the second-year kid out of the game: 2-of-6 passing for 14 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Hackenberg was also sacked twice, one of which was so brutal that social media couldn’t stop talking about it for a few minutes, and he fumbled on that play.

It’s important to realize that this happened against a Detroit Lions defense that lost its best pass rusher last week and features very little in the way of additional pass rushers.

But this is the Jets — the Jets with Hackenberg — we’re talking about here. With the Penn State product behind center, New York engineered four straight three-and-outs in a row before the first half finally, mercifully ended.

In two preseason games, Hackenberg has now passed for a total of 131 yards on 31 passing attempts. That equals 4.23 yards per attempt, which is putrid.

If we combine Hackenberg’s preseason last year and what he’s accomplished this preseason, he’s managed 290 yards on 37-of-78 passing (3.72 yards per attempt) with one touchdown and two interceptions as a pro quarterback.

It would be kind of funny just how truly horrible Hackenbeg is as a quarterback if it weren’t also so sad. And then we remember the Jets actually traded up last year to select Hackenberg in the second round.

It’s as big a faux pas as Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht using his second-round pick in 2015 on kicker Roberto Aguayo, who’s no longer with the Bucs.

Clearly, Hackenberg is not up to the task of leading an NFL offense. He was an inaccurate passer in college (56.1 percent completion rate and 31 interceptions) and isn’t an accurate quarterback at the pro level. He also doesn’t react well to pressure.

At this point the Jets might as well stop trying to push a square peg into a round hole. They have their answer about whether Hackenberg can be their leader. He can’t. Not now, for certain. And maybe not ever.

About the author

Jesse Reed

Jesse Reed

Managing Editor here at Sportsnaut. Featured on Yardbarker, Foxsports.com and MSN.com, and formerly was a breaking news writer/NFL analyst for Bleacher Report.