Hackenberg joined his fellow rookie draftees and free agents for the Jets annual post-draft rookie minicamp this weekend. Click the video for his first interview with the NY Jets beat writers.
Christian Hackenberg already has the polished quarterback speak down pat. He stood in the locker room and faced a huge crowd of reporters swarmed around him and he handled each question with poise. He addressed the doubts and criticisms about his game, but he says he's put that behind him and he's focused on getting better and helping the Jets.
"Yeah, I'm here right now. That's really what I'm focused on," Hackenberg said when asked about dealing with the criticism during the draft process. "I kind of buried that, so it's a great fresh start and I'm really excited about moving forward and doing what I need to do here."
The criticism he faced during the draft process wasn't anything new for Hackenberg. He faced the same criticisms throughout his last two years at Penn State and he thinks that expirence will help him to face the challenge of being an NFL quarterback in the New York market.
"I think you're defined by how you react to adversity and how you're able to get back up. So I think ultimately, you know, having to go through that at a young age, and doing it through college, is only going to help me in the long run. So that's how I've compartmentalized that and I think that's how it's really been a stepping stone, moving forward I think it's only going to help."
Hackenberg said he talked to Brandon Marshall "a little bit" through ex-NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer, who Hackenberg worked with during the offseason, but nothing major and he's looking forward to learning from Marshall and other teammates.
"I've talked to a few, but nothing in length. So I'm excited being able to get in there and get to know those guys and see what I can bring to the table with them," Hackenberg said. "I think it just goes back to being able to come in here and earn my stripes with the older guys, and work and be able to focus on some things that we all need to get better at and see where my role is. I think it's just being able to get comfortable here and feel great about the direction we're headed."
With Ryan Fitzpatrick still unsigned and Geno Smith and Bryce Petty as the team's other options many fans and reporters are just waiting for the opportunity to call for the Jets to start Hackenberg even though the team clearly wants him to sit and develop for a year. It would be natural for Hackenberg to have his eyes are claiming the starting job by the start of the season, but he says that's not even remotely on his mind.
"No, I'm just here right now focusing on this rookie mini-camp and that's for the coaches to decide," Hackenberg said. "I'm just focused on getting through this weekend and again getting acclimated with the guys and get to work."
In Hackenberg's first rookie camp practice he looked very much like the Hackenberg at Penn State. He made three or four wow throws, including a gorgeous 50-yard bomb to wide receiver Quenton Bundrage from Iowa State, but he also made a few wildly errant throws. Of course that's to be expected of every rookie and this rookie is fortunate enough to have a patient coaching staff that will let him grow.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null