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Jets may play Christian Hackenberg on Sunday

Todd Bowles hinted that the 2016 second-round pick may see action for the first time.

Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg before a game against

Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg before a game against the Chargers at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 24, 2017. Photo Credit: Lee S Weissman

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Davis Webb is the Giants’ No. 2 quarterback now. Patrick Mahomes II is going to start for the Chiefs this Sunday. And Christian Hackenberg is getting closer to playing in a NFL game.

The Jets’ 2016 second-round pick, who has yet to play in a game, could get some time in the regular season finale against the Patriots on Sunday.

Todd Bowles wouldn’t guarantee it and has repeated his stance you don’t jump a No. 3 quarterback over a No. 2. But with the Jets’ game essentially meaningless, it’s looking like Hackenberg will take the field.

“We’ll see how the game is going,” Bowles said.

Bryce Petty remains the starter despite two starts in which he’s completed 47.4 percent of his passes with one touchdown and three interceptions. Petty continues to have accuracy and footwork problems, but after Sunday’s loss to the Chargers Bowles said the quarterback played with more confidence.

After two starts this season and six total, the Jets probably know what Petty is as a quarterback.

Hackenberg is another story.

“I felt that way since I got here,” Hackenberg said when asked if he is ready to play. “I’m confident in my abilities. There’s things obviously everyone needs to learn and grow from. It’s a progression and a process. It’s a 500-foot view, it’s not a five-foot view. You got to continue to look at the big picture and keep growing. For me, I just take every opportunity as serious as possible when those opportunities do come, just let it fly.”

“It’s the last game of the season,” Bowles said. “Bryce had a chance to play two games, we’re trying to see what we have in him. Christian’s time will come. [To] put him out there the last game and expect him to be Superman, we’d be fooling ourselves.”

Yes, but play him in at least one game, just one, could give the Jets a better evaluation of what they have, right?

Bowles disagreed because Hackenberg received more reps than any quarterback during training camp and preseason and, over the last three weeks, has taken some first-team snaps in practice.

“You can pull a lot out of preseason,” Bowles said. “[Hackenberg] had a new offense, too. He learned, he played a lot in the preseason. Mentally, he got better at a lot of things and we’ll go from there. The regular season’s not preseason. You don’t get a chance to play those guys like you want to and you don’t just pull them in and out, put them in and out and expect them to play when the defenses are more complex than they are in the preseason.”

In his two seasons, Hackenberg was active for just four of 31 possible games.

This season he was active for the season opener because Petty was recovering from a knee injury. He was active again the last two weeks, with Josh McCown out for the season due to hand surgery.

In the first half of the Chargers game, Hackenberg warmed up quickly when Petty banged his right hand on a helmet during a throw. Petty finished the game and the two warmed up together before the start of the second half. Bowles said he didn’t consider using Hackenberg then, mainly because it was a close game and the Jets wanted to see what Petty could do.

Now, it might be Hackenberg time.

“I think as a backup you got to be ready for any situation and they haven’t really said anything,” he said. “That’s fine, they don’t owe that to me. My job is to be ready for any opportunity, for any situation.”

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