Christian Hackenberg struggled against the Lions Saturday, leading New York media to roast him and predict Josh McCown has won the team’s starting quarterback job.
In fact, a couple of Jets beat reporters said watching Hackenberg and the Jets offense was almost as dangerous as staring at Monday’s solar eclipse.
Wrote Jets beat writer Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, “Scholars everywhere are in agreement: Staring directly into the impending solar eclipse isn’t the only thing that can cause irreparable harm to your eyesight. Watch the Jets offense at your own risk.”
New York Post writer Brian Costello was just as brutal. In a column entitled “Awful Christian Hackenberg just lost his chance to be Jets starter,” Costello also seized on the eclipse analogy, writing, “If the solar eclipse had occurred during the Jets-Lions preseason game … Gang Green fans might have stared into the sun just so they would not have to watch their team’s putrid play.”
To be sure, Hackenberg had a tough night, going 2-for-6 for 14 yards in his five possessions leading the Jets offense in the 16-6 loss. Four of those five drives were three-and-outs. The second-year quarterback out of Penn State was sacked twice and fumbled once and led the Jets to only two first downs.
While that performance led some in the New York media to predict McCown, who did not play Saturday, won the team’s quarterback competition by default Saturday, head coach Todd Bowles said he is not ready “at this point” to name a Week 1 starter.
He defended his young quarterback, saying the woeful offense was a team effort.
“He really didn’t get a chance,” Bowles said of Hackenberg. “It’s not a fair evaluation of the kid, because he didn’t get a chance on the couple of pass plays he had. There was a lot of pressure on him.”
In Hackenberg’s defense, his blockers didn’t help much.
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But Bowles said Hackenberg shared some of the blame.
“He doesn’t get a pass,” Bowles said. “I’m not saying it was not all his fault. You got to throw the ball and get rid of it as well. The offense as a whole, we didn’t start out well with the first group. We got to play better. That’s him, that’s the O-line, the receivers, the tight end, the fullback and the tailback.”
As if Hackenberg didn’t suffer enough Saturday against the Lions, a prankster altered his Wikipedia page.
As the Daily News’ Mehta noted, “It’s way too premature to pour dirt on Hackenberg’s future — he has talent — but the present is an altogether different story.”