The response was vague, sure, but it's the first time Bowles hasn't flat-out rejected the notion that the second-round pick could even sniff the field.
Bryce Petty will make his third straight start. The first two have been disastrous for the third-year pro. In three appearances this season Petty is completing 47.4 percent of his passes for 4.11 yards per attempt average with one touchdown, and three interceptions. Petty has zero accuracy beyond six yards of the line of scrimmage, happy feet in the pocket and no sense of pressure. Petty throws passes as if receivers intend to catch them with their feet instead of their hands.
The Jets have lost three straight games to fall to 5-10 on the season. With nothing to play for and further evaluation of Petty proving futile, it's time for the Jets to at least let Hackenberg dip his toe in the water. The second-year pro has been active for only four of 31 games and never taken a snap. Even if he fails, it will be better than never getting a live look.
Hackenberg has been taking first-team reps in practice and is sure he can succeed if he sees the field Sunday.
"I've felt that way since I got here," he said. "I know I'm confident in my abilities. There are things that everyone needs to know and grow from. It's a progression, it's a process. I always say it's a 500-foot view, not a 5-foot view. We have to continue to look at the big picture and keep growing.
"It's my journey," he continued. "I love it, I love every minute of it. It's been really cool, it's been unique to be able to sit back and learn and watch and get reps when I have the opportunity. I'm excited for the next step."
The next step should be taking the field in a meaningless Week 17 tilt if Bowles is finally willing to pull the trigger.