CAN HE HACK IT?
An uninspiring training camp and difficult preseason starts against the Lions and Giants meant Christian Hackenberg couldn’t beat out 38-year-old Josh McCown for the starting role in Week 1. Now the pressure is on Hackenberg to prove he can grow from his mistakes and step up to be the Jets quarterback of the future.
With one year left on his contract and, as of yet, no extension offered, it could be all too easy for Todd Bowles to take the hit in what will be a rebuilding year. After back-to-back losing seasons, Bowles will have to prove that he can develop the Jets’ young talent — Hackenberg particularly — while also learning to work with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The Darrelle Revis era is over and the Jets’ secondary now partially rests in the hands of two enthusiastic rookie safeties, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Maye’s physicality impressed throughout training camp, and both appear to be mature and coachable — so much so that starting roles were never really in doubt. Their progress should be a bright side in a down year.
ANDERSON STEPPING UP
Robby Anderson has gone from an undrafted string bean in 2016 to the Jets’ No. 1 target at wide receiver. With Quincy Enunwa out for the season, this is Anderson’s year to prove doubters wrong. The question is will fans see the Anderson who struggled at the beginning of training camp, and had no catches against the Lions, or the one whose speed and ball skills impressed against the Titans?
For the majority of training camp, Bowles rotated six players in three positions, with no one truly looking like a good fit. The unit struggled mightily, allowing sack after sack during team drills and not looking much better in preseason play. Now, with Bilal Powell and Matt Forte back and healthy, it will be up to them to make room for their running backs against the seven- and eight-men fronts that teams will most likely throw at a group with such a weak receiving corps.