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Christian Hackenberg says he’s ready if called upon, but Chan Gailey’s not convinced

New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws

New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass before a game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium  on Sunday,  Nov. 27, 2016. Photo Credit: Lee S Weissman

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets still have no idea if their rookie quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, is ready for a regular-season game.

“I don’t think anybody can answer that,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said Thursday.

Why not?

“Because he hasn’t had enough reps to go out there and tell you exactly how he’s going to go play in a ballgame,” Gailey said. “I don’t think we have enough knowledge. We’re preparing him the best we can in case he has to play, but he just hasn’t [had enough reps]. He’s been [No. 4 on the quarterback depth chart], then three, and lastly, two. He’s just now getting the reps that it takes to learn how to play the position.”

The Jets selected Hackenberg in the second round of this year’s draft, but their plan all along was to make this a redshirt season for the former Penn State quarterback. But with only two healthy quarterbacks on the roster, the Jets (4-11) had no choice but to make him Ryan Fitzpatrick’s backup for Sunday’s season-finale against the Bills (7-8).

Hackenberg, 21, told reporters on Wednesday that “I’m ready whenever I need to be called.” But Gailey didn’t sound so convincing.

It’s unclear how many reps the rookie will get against Buffalo, but Gailey acknowledged “he may have to play.”

The coordinator, however, was tight-lipped on the changes Hackenberg must make in the offseason.

“I think we’ll address a lot of those things in the offseason,” he said. “I don’t think now’s the time to talk specifics.”

Empty backfield

Nine players didn’t practice, including Matt Forte, Bilal Powell (knees) and Brandon Wilds (hamstring). That left Brandon Burks as their only available running back. “I haven’t seen too much yet,” Bowles said of the 5-9, 208-pound rookie. “He’s just been running scout team and we haven’t been in pads. But he’s got some quickness and he’s got some good hands.” Bowles hasn’t ruled out either Forte or Powell for Sunday.

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