The success of Christian Hackenberg will decide Mike Maccagnan's fate with the Jets.(Szagola/CSM/REX/Shutterstock/Szagola/CSM/REX/Shutterstock)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Friday, January 6, 2017, 9:46 guess AM
The elephants in the room have mechanical problems, decision-making issues and may or may not be able to throw a football into the ocean.
For all the good things that general manager Mike Maccagnan has done in his first two years, his future with the Jets hinges on the most maddening problem for this star-crossed organization: He has no chance to survive if he doesn’t find a real quarterback.
“I’ll be judged on many decisions going forward,” Maccagnan said on Thursday. “That would definitely be one of them, but I don’t necessarily sit there and look at it as one decision only.”
Strip away the fluff and here’s the unvarnished truth: Maccagnan will not be long for the job if he doesn’t find a franchise quarterback soon.
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Maccagnan might be pleased with some of the younger pieces that he’s assembled, but there’s no denying that he’s no closer to finding a franchise signal caller than he was when he took over for his disgraced predecessor. The Jets have the worst quarterback situation in the NFL.
Look away. It’s hideous.
At least the hapless Cleveland Browns have the hope of landing Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade. Bill Belichick would sooner comb his hair and wear a three-piece suit on the sideline for the rest of his life than deal a quality quarterback prospect to the Jets.
Maccagnan can wax poetic about his rookie offensive lineman, cornerback and receiver until the cows come home, but it matters little if he can’t land the guy who plays the single most important position in team sports.
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Football is a simple game complicated by football people: No quarterback, no chance.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman might have plenty of holes to fill, but at least he’s found his most important piece: Carson Wentz.
Colts GM Ryan Grigson should give half his paycheck to Andrew Luck, who single-handedly has kept him from getting the ax.
Mike Tannenbaum might still be the Jets general manager if Mark Sanchez didn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight.
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As of this moment, these Jets have no chance.
Asked whether he believes the quarterback answer is on the Jets roster, Maccagnan delivered a damning noncommittal take. “With that position, in particular, I’m not going to necessarily… define if we do or we don’t,” he said.
Spoiler alert: They don’t.
Mike Maccagnan.(Julio Cortez/AP)
Although Maccagnan publicly claimed that he wouldn’t speculate on Bryce Petty’s ceiling, the organization privately views the second-year quarterback as nothing more than a backup.
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“I think Bryce has a lot of potential,” Maccagnan said. “When it’s all said and done, it’s really up to Bryce to determine what player he’s going to eventually develop into. But I do think he has the physical ability to potentially develop into a starter.”
The mystery around Christian Hackenberg isn’t really a mystery at all. There are two factions on One Jets Drive. One believes that it will take a long time for the second-round pick to develop into a possible contributor. The second more damning faction believes that Hackenberg won’t ever be the solution.
One Jets starter simply rolled his eyes and shook his head recently when I asked whether Hackenberg was worth a second-round pick. “No,” the player said.
“He will never make it,” another Jets source told the Daily News. “Never.”
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That’s a harsh and unfair assessment for a player who has only been a professional for eight months, but opinions about Hackenberg in the building are strong… and similar. An ESPN report last week cited a team source claiming that the rookie couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean.
“I guess it depends which ocean,” Woody Johnson cracked on Thursday. “Maybe it was a small ocean. The EPA describes that as an ocean… Anyway, no, that’s not funny.”
Maccagnan, the driving force behind taking the former Penn State quarterback with the No. 51 overall pick, certainly isn’t laughing. Although swinging and missing in the second round isn’t a fireable offense, Maccagnan should be questioned for overdrafting this player who clearly isn’t ready to even be thrown into a meaningless Week 17 game.
“You make the best decision at the time,” Maccagnan said about whether he has second thoughts about selecting Hackenberg in the second round. “I’m not necessarily in the business of looking back. We’re focused on making sure Christian can develop into the player and fulfill the potential we think he has.”
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Although Maccagnan said that Hackenberg “has made progress,” he danced around whether he wanted the rookie to play in the season finale against the Bills.
“He has improved, but this will be a big offseason for him,” the general manager said. “We’ll probably have a better feel for him when we go into training camp next year.”
Maccagnan maintained “all options are on the table” at quarterback, because, well, they have to be for a team with a cavernous hole at the position that matters most. Incremental improvements at other positions are certainly necessary, but none of it will mean anything unless the biggest issue is solved.
Maccagnan’s future depends on it.Send a Letter to the Editor
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