Christian Hackenberg leads the Jets to minus-3 passing yards in first half

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/29284/" data-ylk="slk:Christian Hackenberg">Christian Hackenberg</a> completed two passes in the first half of Saturday’s preseason game against Detroit. (AP)
Christian Hackenberg completed two passes in the first half of Saturday’s preseason game against Detroit. (AP)

One of the top story lines of the offseason was how bad the 2017 New York Jets would be. Actually seeing the Jets in action has been terrifying.

Christian Hackenberg was given the start at quarterback in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions. The media who covers the Jets was surprised, as they expected Josh McCown to get the start. They might not to need to worry about Hackenberg starting again, at least if the Jets care about the sanity of their fans.

Here’s Hackenberg’s line for the first half: 2 of 6 for 14 yards. That’s over an entire half of football. As a team the Jets had minus-3 yards passing, when you account for 17 lost yards on sacks. The Jets had two first downs and 43 total yards in the first half, and Detroit led 13-0 at the half. And this Lions defense isn’t exactly the 2015 Denver Broncos.

We’re all aware by now that it seems the Jets are tanking, but this is extreme. Hackenberg was a 2016 second-round pick, which is looking like a memorably bad decision. It was a reach at the time and it looks like a wasted pick now. Hackenberg was terrible last preseason and didn’t see one snap for a 2016 Jets team that was out of the playoff race in December. In last week’s preseason opener he had only 127 yards on 25 attempts in relief of McCown. He was even worse on Saturday. Bryce Petty started the second half, ending the misery.

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It makes sense that the Jets would want to see if there was any hope of Hackenberg developing, and giving him a chance with the starters on Saturday was justified. But after this performance against the Lions it’s hard to imagine the Jets would ever consider starting him in the regular season, at least until they’re mathematically eliminated (which might be well before Thanksgiving). If Hackenberg has to start because of an injury to McCown (and it might take another injury to Petty for Hackenberg’s number to be called) it would get really ugly.

But ugly is the best way to describe what the 2017 Jets look like already. They had seven points in their first six quarters of preseason football. They have practically nothing at receiver, especially after Quincy Enunwa’s season-ending injury, and a terrible quarterback situation. Everyone thought the Jets would be bad, and they might exceed any worst-case scenario we had.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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