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Brandon Marshall questions starting Hackenberg

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Brandon Marshall has been the voice of reason for the woebegone Jets all season long, and Tuesday might have been his finest moment.

Perhaps it was a moment of sheer frustration, or maybe it was just the peak of his clairvoyance. When Marshall was asked why the team would be trotting out Ryan Fitzpatrick for the season-finale against the Buffalo Bills instead of redshirted second-round pick Christian Hackenberg, Marshall asked a question in return.

"Why would you want to do that to that kid?" Marshall said, via Newsday.

He added: "There used to be a time back in the day where quarterbacks had time to sit on the bench and really learn."

On Saturday against the Patriots, Jets fans watched a green, hesitant Bryce Petty get destroyed drive after drive by a good Patriots defense before he was eventually injured recovering a fumble. This was a week after Petty appeared to be halved by Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake in a blowout loss to the Dolphins. The Jets always believed that Christian Hackenberg needed a complete season to retool some of his throwing mechanics and operate at a professional level. Seeing the way the talent has decayed around Hackenberg in the six months since making that decision should not change their mind -- it should strengthen their beliefs.

There is a reason baseball teams do not often hurl their 19-year-old first-round picks into the major leagues despite their wealth of talent. There is also a reason that NFL quarterbacks seem to be taking longer than ever to develop into passable starters. We may have just started seeing 26-year-old Matt Barkley, believed by draft obsessives years ago to potentially go in the first round before returning to USC, scratch the surface of what he can do in an NFL offense.

Hackenberg is 21 and seemed to decline each of his two final years in college after an excellent freshman season.

The Jets are a team desperate for good news. They would love to give fans any reason to clamor over their young prospect instead of talking about their four wins or yet another Ryan Fitzpatrick start. Don't you think if it was possible -- if Hackenberg was anywhere near ready -- they would have done it? Simply put, he's not. And that is OK. Or, as Marshall said, it used to be OK.

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