One frequent topic of discussion since the Jets picked Christian Hackenberg in the second round of the NFL Draft was his offensive system during his freshman year of college. His head coach Bill O'Brien came to Penn State directly from the New England Patriots. A number of people have stated that at 18 years old, Hackenberg ran the same offense as Tom Brady.
As O'Brien noted at the Combine, though, it was a scaled back version of the offense.
You are talking about, you know when you are in college there is the 20-hour rule, which believe me when I was at Penn State, we had to follow the
rules to the letter of the law. You are talking about getting these guys at 2:30 in the afternoon and you maybe meet with them with 45 minutes and
then you are out on the practice field and then they are done with practice and they have to go eat and go to study hall. You don’t get nearly as
much time as you do in the NFL, so we ran the basics of what we kind of do in Houston, but not nearly the amount of scheme that we ran in Houston,
if that makes sense.
O'Brien is referring to rules that limit practice time in the NCAA. He did not have enough time on the practice field to install the exact same pro style system that he has run in the NFL.
Now I do not say this to diminish what Hackenberg learned that freshman year. He did get a nice education in pro offense concepts, which certainly has value. It just is not accurate to say he was running the exact same offense as Tom Brady. He wasn't. He was running a more basic version of it.
The real context for this is Hackenberg's development. While I do think he is more advanced in various NFL level passing concepts than your typical 21 year old, he still probably does not have the mental side of the game completely down at an NFL level yet. This is another reason the Jets should be cautious in the way they bring Hackenberg along. He likely would benefit from sitting as a rookie.