FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Over the next two days, the Jets coaching staff will discuss whether all four quarterbacks will play Thursday night against Jacksonville in the preseason opener. Rookie Christian Hackenberg certainly could use the reps.
The second-round pick has seen little practice time while offensive coordinator Chan Gailey tries his best to divvy up 11-on-11 snaps between Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and the former Penn State signal-caller. So how do you evaluate Hackenberg in that environment? “It’s not easy,” Gailey said, “but you have to go with every snap that he gets, every rep that he takes not only in team situations, but in one-on-ones and everywhere. You try to evaluate every one of those.”
Much of the draft-day criticism of Hackenberg centered on his accuracy and his mechanics. But Gailey said it’s far too early in the rookie’s development process to make “wholesale” changes to his mechanics.
“We suggest things here and there, but it’s hard to change guys completely mechanically in a preseason situation like this,” the coordinator said. “You let him do what got him here, and then you take a full offseason if you think there needs to be some changes and that’s where you implement real changes if you think it’s necessary. If you don’t think it’s necessary, you don’t.
“But you might make suggestions here and there, and if he wants to work on it a little bit then you allow him to do that, but going out and trying to make some kind of wholesale change. No, we wouldn’t do that.”