Now that Geno Smith is starting in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick, we ponder whether or not Christian Hackenberg will see time with the New York Jets.In most sports, the first six games of any team’s regular season usually won’t have that drastic of an impact on an entire season. But sadly, football is not one of those sports as each team only gets 16 games in an NFL regular season. So, the first six games in any team’s regular season in the NFL can really determine whether you are a playoff team or a bottom of the pack team.
Unfortunately for the 2016 New York Jets, a team that came into this year with tremendous upside and just missing out on the playoffs last season have had a brutal first six weeks to their season, cementing themselves as one of the worst teams in football right now with a record of 1-5.
Most Jets fans knew coming into this season that the first six weeks of the season wasn’t going to be a cakewalk as five of the Jets first six opponents were playoff teams in 2015 and four of those games were away from MetLife Stadium. But despite the tough schedule throughout the first six weeks of the season, this year’s Jets team was expected to be better than last year and be able to compete with some of these elite teams in the NFL, so really the unfortunate scheduling should be no excuse for the Jets tough start. If they just went 2-4 or 3-3 during that stretch, it wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Jets and could have been able to stay within striking distance of getting a playoff spot, but sadly it did not work out that way as the Jets currently sit in dead last in the AFC East with their 1-5 record.
It is no secret that veteran journeyman quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick is definitely one of the main reasons why the Jets have gotten off to this dreadful start and putting his team basically out of playoff contention within the first month and a half of the regular season. It has been a miserable 2016 so far for Fitzpatrick after having a career year last season with the Jets as Fitzpatrick has only thrown five touchdowns along with 11 interceptions during his first six games including 10 interceptions in the second half along with zero touchdowns.
Numbers like that just won’t lead to wins and because of that Jets head coach Todd Bowles has elected to make the switch at quarterback. Bowles has named backup quarterback Geno Smith his starting quarterback this Sunday when the Jets take on the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium.
Before Fitzpatrick joined the Jets last season, Smith was the man under center for the Jets and like 2016 Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets fans were used to seeing Smith turn the ball over on a consistent basis for the Jets in 2013 and 2014. Smith was the Jets main starter those two seasons after being drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft out of West Virginia and led the Jets to two non-winning seasons. Smith started 30 games for the Jets from the beginning of 2013 through the end of 2014 and threw 25 touchdowns, 34 interceptions, and posted a 57.5 completion percentage.
Smith has two full seasons of NFL experience and has proved to be very inconsistent and tend to turn the ball over. With the Jets now 1-5 and Smith now back in as the team’s starting quarterback, who knows where this team will be say four or five weeks from now. Will Smith provide a spark for the Jets under center? Or will he be a disappointment again like he was for this team a few years ago?
Will Smith provide a spark for the Jets under center? Or will he be a disappointment again like he was for this team a few years ago?
With this being said, if Smith does struggle once again and the Jets find themselves well out of playoff contention a few weeks from now, the Jets should absolutely give their 2016 second round draft pick out of Penn State, Christian Hackenberg, a shot under center.
Hackenberg had a successful three-year run at Penn State from 2013-2015 as he completed 56.1% of his passes along with 48 touchdowns and 31 interceptions in 38 games. Even though those numbers aren’t flashy, Hackenberg was still a solid college quarterback who was very good at protecting the football and if he can do that at the NFL level, he could be a perfect fit for the Jets going down the road.
Unless Geno Smith does somehow spark this Jets team, I really wouldn’t be surprised to see Christian Hackenberg under center for the Jets at some point this season to show his team what he is capable of doing.