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Christian Hackenberg on critics: ‘That’s their opinions’

New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg speaks with

New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg speaks with the media after organized team activities practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Christian Hackenberg isn’t interested in what his detractors have to say. Instead, the inexperienced yet self-assured quarterback is more focused on what he believes — and more importantly, what the Jets’ coaching staff thinks of him.

“That’s their opinions. I can’t really speak for them,” Hackenberg said of the naysayers after Tuesday’s OTA practice. “I know what I can do. And I know what my coaching staff feels I can do, so I’m just confident in my abilities and when I get my opportunity to play, I’m going to do that.”

Pressed to explain what that entails exactly, the second-year signal-caller replied: “I’m confident I can play at this level, I can play at a high level, and when I get my opportunity, take advantage of that.”

Though all three of the Jets’ quarterbacks — Josh McCown and Bryce Petty included — did not have impressive days on Tuesday, Hackenberg stressed that he’s far more comfortable now than he was at this time last year.

“I’m not going to say [it’s] night and day, but definitely just being able to go through it, it’s been really good,” said Hackenberg, a second-round pick in 2016. “I feel a lot better going in there, having a greater understanding of what’s going on, being able to have the time with Josh and the coaching staff . . . I’d say I feel a lot more comfortable than last year.”

Though last season was basically a redshirt year for him, Hackenberg said he’s grown in many ways and doesn’t look back at his time carrying a clipboard with regret

“I really can’t change it. You know what I mean?” he said. “It’s 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 positives of it and take what I learned from it and the good from it. That’s how I kind of look at last year.”

Hackenberg also said he’s OK with being labeled as a “gunslinger,” but acknowledged he wants his game to be about more than just throwing hard. “I own that,” he said of the label. “But I want to be able to frame the game and understand when you can take those risks and when you can’t.”

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