Last night I tweeted that my heart wanted to see Christian Hackenberg take the field to conclude one of the most disappointing New York Jets seasons in recent memory, but that my head was telling me that it was a bad idea.
Earlier today I read a report from Manish which stated that the Jets should play Christian Hackenberg against the Bills next week, and honestly... I think that's a horrible idea.
Like most people, I've watched with envious eyes as Dak Prescott has dominated in his rookie year, propelling the Dallas Cowboys into the playoffs. Why can this 4th round selection put in one of the most impressive rookie campaigns for a QB in recent memory, and our shiny new 2nd round guy can't even get on the field?
Nobody expected Dak to be this good, but look at the situation he found himself in. He was behind the best line in football, with one of the most dominating wide receivers in football, with one of the most dominating tight ends in history and a rookie RB who looks unstoppable. He's also got a good head coach and a very good coordinator. I'm not taking anything away from Dak, last night I saw him call audibles after making pre-snap reads, which in turn led to 2 touchdowns. However that's an ideal situation to walk into as a rookie QB.
Now here is our situation. We are 4-11 and most of our players have quit. We're missing our starting left tackle, our starting center, our starting right guard and our starting right tackle. Our defensive unit is already on holiday, our coaches are all looking over their shoulders, bags packed and dreading Black Monday and the fans are out for blood.
The Bills are a pretty bad football team, they are certainly a badly coached football team. Rex's aura as a defensive mastermind has slowly faded, but Ryan still knows how to dial up some extremely exotic blitzes. Yet people still call for Hackenberg to get his first ever start on Sunday?
That would be a horrible idea.
We don't need to rush Hackenberg. The worst thing you can do is throw him out there behind a patchwork offensive line and watch his confidence drain away as he is pressured, sacked, hurried all afternoon. No QB can exist in that scenario, let alone a rookie QB who's working out his mechanics. There is nothing to be gained by starting Hackenberg, but you can certainly hurt his development if you get him injured and he has to miss time in the off-season.
You may not think that Hackenberg is the answer, that's fine. However we won't learn anything about his long term potential by starting him on Sunday.
You don't want to see Fitzpatrick out there on Sunday. I don't want to see Fitzpatrick out there on Sunday. But... whoever is behind center is going to get mauled, it's going to be like watching an old tired battered gazelle try and fight off a pack of lions, I'd rather that gazelle wasn't a player we're looking to develop for next year.
*Edit - I've just seen that Rex Ryan has been fired. However that doesn't change my stance on starting Hackenberg against the Bills.