After second-year quarterback Christian Hackenberg redshirted his rookie season with the New York Jets, most reports indicate that he looks improved during offseason workouts.
However, there’s also been a troubling trend emerging with the 2015 second-round pick — Hackenberg’s throws keep hitting reporters standing on the sidelines.
Hackenberg’s accuracy has consistently been his biggest flaw, and the optics of hitting reporters hasn’t helped.
On Tuesday, New York Daily News’ Daniel Popper posted a video of a Hackenberg pass getting away from Dexter McCluster and sailing into reporters.
Surely, this is not unheard of at football practices. However, it’s not the first time it’s happened for Hackenberg this offseason.
On June 8, Connor Hughes of NJ.com reported that two of Hackenberg’s passes sailed into the nearby media (emphasis ours).
“When Hackenberg misses… he really misses. He threw just two interceptions in team drills, but nearly tossed six others. And I’m not talking about a receiver falling down. I’m saying the defender just dropped the ball.
“Other times, the wideout/running back/tight end was wide open, and Hackenberg sailed it over his head or bounced it to him. That can’t happen. In the three media-open OTAs, Hackenberg hit reporters with passes twice.”
During organised team activities (OTAs), Hughes also posted a video of Hackenberg putting one over his receiver’s head and close to the gathered media.
It’s a troubling trend for a quarterback some in the NFL world felt wasn’t deserving of a draft selection in 2015.
Last season, an unnamed coach told ESPN that Hackenberg couldn’t throw a ball into the ocean. Jets owner Woody Johnson didn’t offer the strongest defence of his quarterback, saying, “I guess it depends which ocean. Maybe it was a small ocean. EPA describes that as an ocean. Anyway, no, that’s not funny.”
Of course, it’s not all bad for Hackenberg. As mentioned, some say Hackenberg looks improved from last season. Hughes also wrote of Hackenberg:
“Hackenberg is noticeably improved from his rookie season. His footwork — which was a point of emphasis in the offseason — is more consistent, and he’s missing less throws than he used to. Hackenberg also doesn’t appear afraid of dumping it off anymore.
“Last year, he wanted to show off his cannon arm, which caused him to force passes to places they shouldn’t be. Now, he’s dropping the ball off to the running back much more.”
Likewise, Popper said Hackenberg has made some nice throws during workouts.
As with any young quarterback, it will take time to iron out some of the more intense flaws. But given the past observations of Hackenberg’s play, hitting nearby reporters on bad throws is not a good way to improve his reputation in the NFL world.
Hackenberg just threw a dime to the sideline to Myles White in 11 v. 11 for gain of 15. One of the better throws I’ve seen him make.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) June 13, 2017
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