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Jets OC: Christian Hackenberg is 'basically' a rookie

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After Christian Hackenberg's preseason debut, the Jets are defining expectations for the 2016 second-round pick.

"Basically, he's a rookie," offensive coordinator John Morton said, via the New York Post, on Tuesday.

Head coach Todd Bowles later added: "It's hard to get reps when there's three quarterbacks in front of you [meaning Bryce Petty, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith last summer]. I'm happy where he is right now. He's getting to play. He's learning. He doesn't make the same mistakes too many times, so he's getting better from there."

While their comments accurately reflect the current state of affairs, it is strange in retrospect to think about the team putting Hackenberg on ice a year ago -- especially when the season began to turn south. They essentially viewed it as a redshirt season, but is having his rookie clock start over when the team might actually need him dangerous?

Unless the Jets want to bail on a second-round pick or carry three quarterbacks on the roster again, Hackenberg will be immediately behind Josh McCown, a quarterback who was injured in each of the last two seasons.

While the evidence (and competition level) are still limited, Hackenberg completed 72 percent of his passes for 127 yards and no interceptions in New York's preseason opener. Given the (extremely) mixed reviews coming out early in camp, this seems like a step in the right direction. If all sides are agreeing that Hackenberg is a rookie again, then all sides must agree that there is a lot of work to do before the regular season begins.

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