It wasn't the cleanest of performances and a badly timed interception led to the game-winning touchdown for the Giants, but I actually came away impressed with Hackenberg.
The Jets have been taking it very slow with Hackenberg who they drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL draft. Many are expecting him to have a red-shirt season, his only job is to sit and learn. His snaps in training camp have been limited, and we had to wait for the 3rd pre-season game before seeing him in game action.
The numbers look like your standard rookies. 6/16 for 105 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
You could see he was a little anxious on the opening drive, however it was his first professional snap...so that could be understood. His accuracy was off throwing to his left, and he fired in passes rather than delivering them with some touch. He also took a delay of game penalty.
He then came out after that, and that's where he started to show off the arm. He fired in numerous passes and then showed beautiful touch to find Anderson in the back end of the endzone for a score. It was a tremendous drive for the young man, even if it was against Giant backups.
That was the good Hackenberg, the one that we can get excited about. His mechanics are still a work in progress, and even the casual football fan could sense that his footwork needed vast improvements, but his arm is there and he made some really good decisions on that drive.
Unfortunately as with most rookies, you then saw the inexperience. Floating a ball over the middle when we were backed up against the ropes. He looked off the defensive backs, but didn't notice the defensive lineman dropping into coverage, he probably didn't see a whole lot of that in college...but that's what the pre-season is for. You go back, you look at the tape and you make a mental note for next time.
All in all I thought it was a very decent first performance. We don't have to rely on him in 2016, so you just want to see something to get excited about, something to get invested in. I certainly saw that last night. He still has a ton of work to do, and his footwork is an absolute mess at times, but I'm pretty happy with that first performance...and I hope he is too.
We should get to see a lot more of him next week in the final pre-season game, and all you want to see is development. Build on this first performance, learn your lessons, and improve going forward.
Speaking after the game, this is what Hackenberg had to say about his development.
I think each week has been better and better, just from feeling more and more comfortable. It's a new environment - I think we've talked about this before with a bunch of you guys - I think it's a new environment for me. Each and every day is an opportunity to learn something and get better at some areas. I think that's ultimately how I've approached everything. I wouldn't be able to say this week was drastically different than any other week, I think it was just very similar and in tune with the whole process for me and that's how I try and take it, one day at a time and learn as much as I can from the guys that have played a lot longer than I have in the league.