The name of the game is Waiting For Christian Hackenberg.
The Jets had better keep waiting.
The fix is in and has been in from the minute the 2016 season ended, and no one will object. Not even Josh McCown, the $6 Million Journeyman Good Soldier.
The Jets, 32-31 losers to the Giants, want Hackenberg to be their quarterback.
They had better not want him too soon or too badly.
Hackenberg is not ready.
Hackenberg may never be ready.
Hackenberg will be playing at some point during the season, whether he is ready or not, and nothing to date tells you he will be ready.
Bryce Petty, playing against reserves after intermission, looked more ready (three touchdown passes) — until he tripped over one of his offensive linemen and made way for Hackenberg at the two-minute warning thanks to a wounded knee.
And against the Big Blue reserves, Hackenberg (12-for-21, 126 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Frankie Hammond Jr. with 1:26 left, before a handoff to Elijah McGuire on the go-ahead two-point conversion was denied.
For Jets fans watching Saturday night with heads in their hands, there is solace only that there now are 243 days remaining until the 2018 NFL Draft.
Todd Bowles has bent over backward, especially lately, to give Hackenberg a chance to close the gap on McCown.
The eye test tells you he hasn’t even closed the gap on Petty.
McCown has been reduced to a veritable rusty spectator during Hackenberg’s desperate trial-by-error audition. McCown vows he will be ready anyway.
“If he’s the Week 1 starter, I’m not concerned at all,” Bowles said.
C’mon, Coach. He is the Week 1 starter.
There is no need to hold your tongue until next week.
“It’s not always gonna be peaches and cream, you gotta be able to bounce back from mistakes and things that didn’t go your way,” Hackenberg said. “And I think that’s what really defines you as a player and as a person to, how you react to adversity.”
He’s getting enough practice at it.
With the Jets down 5-0 following a Jason Pierre-Paul safety on Matt Forte and a field goal, Hackenberg did not look up into the stands and calmly ask his teammates: “Hey, isn’t that Anthony Scaramucci up there?”
He proceeded to throw a telegraphed, 23-yard pick-six intended in the right flat for tight end Eric Tomlinson to Landon Collins.
There was improvement on the next series: three-and-out.
Hackenberg’s latest follies have spoken loud and clear.
“Some good, some bad,” Hackenberg said.
He finally found something early in the second quarter with a nice 20-yard strike, his longest completion of the preseason, to Chad Hansen by the right sideline.
“I think there were some good things on tape tonight,” Hackenberg said.
Donte Deayon had a 36-yard pick-six late in the second quarter when Jackrabbit Jenkins separated Robby Anderson from the ball with a huge hit. Hackenberg mentioned a miscommunication.
“It was the offense. It wasn’t Hackenberg. It was the entire offense,” Bowles said. “It wasn’t just him.”
And it wasn’t just Tom Brady winning those five Super Bowls and earning GOAT reverence.
Bowles’ handling of the Jets’ three quarterback amigos this summer has looked like madness.
I believe there is a method to his madness.
He is trying to build the bridge from the bridge quarterback to Hackenberg as seamlessly as he can, ever conscious of his own mandate to give his team its best chance to win and the organization’s desire to find out what it has in Hackenberg before the 2018 NFL Draft.
Assuming it doesn’t know already.
Talk about standing between a rock and a hard place.
Bowles is doing it his way, but can’t possibly come out of this smelling like Frank Sinatra.
Bowles knows he has been forced to preside over a three-ring circus.
It would be a good idea to get McCown, who has had one series this preseason, some playing time Thursday night in Philadelphia at this point.
“I came here to play,” McCown said.
Play him already, Coach.
End what little suspense there is already.
The in-season switch will be made when Bowles determines Hackenberg can read defenses awake better than McCown can read them in his sleep.
But right now, The Kid can’t hack it.
Paging Sam Darnold.
Paging Sam Darnold.
Paging Sam Darnold.
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