The New York Jets preseason is progressing with Matt Forte nearing full health and Christian Hackenberg fighting for a larger role.
Matt Forte’s hamstring issues could soon be in the rear view mirror. The veteran running back practiced in full with the first team offense on Thursday, a clear sign that he should be ready for week one.
While it’s unlikely that Forte suits up for the next preseason game, his teammates were excited to have him on the field. Ryan Fitzpatrick spoke highly of his new teammate, “It was really kind of the first extensive work I’ve had with him. But I figured, with as much ball as he’s played and how great of a player he’s been, he’d be able to fit right in and we’d mesh pretty well. He did a really nice job today, but we’ve been communicating the whole time. It was nice to see him with pads on today,’’ he told reporters after the game.
Forte caught the eye of his head coach, who knows he’s still progressing, “He has to get in football shape. We weren’t tackling or hitting. He was at three-quarters speed so we look forward to him getting better. If he doesn’t have any setbacks [Thursday], we’ll move forward.”
Forte is on track to be a big part of the Jets offense. While it’s almost certain he’ll cement himself as a starter, there are others on the offense looking to climb the depth chart, namely rookie Christian Hackenberg.
The Penn State product currently stands at fourth on the depth chart. He’s not satisfied with his place, but understands it’s part of being the new guy, “If I accepted it, I’d be chilling. But I’m still trying to go out and work and get better, because, who knows? Two, three snaps away and I’m the guy. You know what I mean? So you have to continue to prepare as if you’re the starter,” he told Kimberly Martin of Newsday.
Hackenberg knows he has a lot to learn, and being around his fellow quarterbacks can only help him improve, “I try and stay in Fitz’s hip pocket whenever he’s in the film room. Geno, Bryce, whenever anyone’s in there, just try to put as much into it as I can. It’s a lot to learn,” he continued to Martin.
For now, a positive mindset remains a top priority, “Give it 100 percent, and just make sure that you continue to ride that wave that’s always kind of going up, never taking too many steps back, but always continuing to get better,” he said. “And it’s really helped having guys around me who are supporting that, in the quarterback room specifically, but definitely outside of that. They want to see the best out of you,” he noted to Martin.