When people hear winning season they often think, wins, playoffs, and possibly a Super Bowl. For the Jets, that’s not the goal for this season. With a three-way competition at quarterback between Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg, a winning season looks a lot different for this rebuilding New York Jets’ team. All three players will be given a chance to earn the starting job, but for the New York Jets to have a winning season and find out what their situation is at quarterback, Hackenberg needs to be the one to win this battle.
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Petty played a few games last year and did not blow anyone away and solidify himself as the team’s future signal caller. He did put together a nice overtime win in a meaningless game against the San Francisco 49ers, but other than that his four starts were subpar at best. Petty finished 2016 with a 56.4 percent completion percentage, three touchdowns, seven interceptions, one fumble and a quarterback rating of 19.8. Those numbers don’t scream franchise quarterback. Petty proved he was unable to read defenses and was still locking in on his targets. He could be a solid backup in the NFL, but that is not what the Jets are looking for.
McCown doesn’t look much better than Petty. He will turn 38 before the season starts and has a record of 2-22 as a starter over the past three seasons. He was primarily brought in to be a mentor for Hackenberg and Petty. The Jets are hoping McCown can relay his experience to show them how to prepare, train, and practice like a starting caliber NFL quarterback. Other than mentoring these quarterbacks, McCown offers very little for this team under center. The Jets paid him six million dollars to be a teacher and possibly a bridge at the quarterback position, should Hackenberg or Petty not work out.
The real answer to the Jets’ winning season falls on the shoulders of Hackenberg. He is the one that needs to come in and win the starting job outright and solidify himself as the quarterback the Jets can build their team around in the future. Hackenberg did not play a single snap last season and many reports from inside sources claimed that the rookie quarterback had regressed throughout the season. The Jets had a plan for Hackenberg when they drafted him and they stuck to that plan; they did not crack under pressure and force him into games too early. Critics often complain that the Jets never develop their quarterbacks. For it to be done properly, it takes patience. The Jets have obviously seen enough from Hackenberg this past year to pass on a quarterback in the draft this year and look to have plans to include him in the competition for the starting position in 2017.
A real winning season for this team this year is to see how well their promising young stars perform. If they are able to show consistent improvement and that this team has the players to build around, then they appear to be heading in the right direction. If Hackenberg proves he can be the starting quarterback for seasons to come, then the Jets have won their Super Bowl this year. It’s time for Hackenberg to step up and prove he has an arm the Jets can rely on.