If there's one thing that has become abundantly clear from the New York Jets' behavior over the last several months, it's that they don't consider Christian Hackenberg ready to play in the NFL. Unless he's secretly playing great football and they're just waiting to unleash him on the rest of the unsuspecting world.
That seems unlikely considering Hackenberg was spotted bouncing throws off the dirt in warmups, it's been said he's "years" away from being ready, some folks don't think he will make it, Todd Bowles said he would only play if the Jets were getting "killed" and Woody Johnson said he could probably hit an ocean depending on how close the ocean was.
It's possible signing Josh McCown this offseason was a red herring and Hackenberg is going to unleash his fury on the AFC East. Regardless, Jets legend Joe Namath feels it's time to go ahead and start the young man and see what he's got.
"I would like to see Hackenberg," Namath said at a United Way Gridiron Gala in New York City, via Conner Hughes of NJ Advanced Media. "I think we need someone for the future."
Well, yes! The Jets' quarterback situation has been a long-haul disaster since, well, Namath was the quarterback. Maybe you go back and say that Mark Sanchez in 2009 and 2010 was fine, but he never fully justified his status as a top-five pick in the NFL Draft (especially one who cost additional capital to move up and get).
And what Namath wants from the position is a "guy who can win a Super Bowl," which is just the easiest thing to do in the world. No offense to McCown.
"This is no reflection on Josh," Namath said. "He's a proven veteran and brings a lot to the team. But realistically, you want to make the playoffs, win a Super Bowl. We have to get the guy who can do that."
And therein lies the rub. The Jets want a quarterback who can win a Super Bowl, but they also can't throw Hackenberg into the fire if he's not ready to play. That would greatly diminish his ability to win a Super Bowl in the future.
On the other hand, Hackenberg could play this year, play terribly and the Jets could win one game (or less?), setting the franchise up to grab Sam Darnold out of USC or perhaps the sneaky new top quarterback in the class, Wyoming's Josh Allen.
Either way, if the Jets aren't willing to play Hackenberg in 2017, it's going to tell us a lot about their investment in a second-round pick from 2016.