Jets linebacker David Harris hosted a charity golf event for the Give the Kids Hope Foundation with teammates, coaches and reporters all on hand. The coach reporters were most interested in talking to was offensive coordinator Chan Gailey as he spoke for the first time since the Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg.
"I think his intelligence, his decision-making," Gailey said stood out the most, according to the Brian Costello of the New York Post. "When he played in a pro-style offense as a freshman, he handled that extremely well. There were a lot of positives."
Of course Hackenberg only got to spend that one year in the pro-style offense and spent the next two years regressing under head coach James Franklin's watch. Was it the change in system and drop in surrounding talent that caused the regression? Or was it Hackenberg himself? We will likely find the answer out in a year or two, but Gailey said that one year in a pro-style offense gives an advantage over most rookie quarterbacks.
"He retained a great deal from the pro style of offense that Bill (O'Brien) had," Gailey said. "He's ahead in that respect, but he's behind in seeing what's going to happen to hims defensively in the NFL."
The Jets drafted Hackenberg because they believe he will be their future starting quarterback for years to come, but for now it's Geno Smith who sits atop the depth chart and it will likely stay that way for the season unless Ryan Fitzpatrick decides he wants to play football in 2016. Fans, of course, are dreading watching Smith for 16 games, but the Jets want Hackenberg to sit and develop under Gailey and Gailey still believes in Smith.
"He's learned so much in one year," Gailey said. "The one game he played in (in Oakland) last year, I thought he did very well. There's always room for improvement, but I thought he did very well. I think he's made giant steps too. I think he's right on track for where I'd like him to be."
As for Hackenberg, Gailey is plenty aware of the doubts surrounding the kid with the talented arm, but he's simply choosing to ignore all the doubts and focus on building up the rookie from this point forward.
"You try not to predispose a guy to a certain... put him in a box, so to speak." Gailey said. "You try to make sure you keep an open mind and give him an opportunity to show what he can do. Every quarterback has their ups and downs. He's not by himself in that respect. So, you're looking at potential. Mike [Maccagnan] and Todd [Bowles] thought the potential was there. I think he's got a great deal of potential."
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