EAST RUTHERFORD — The Jets are supposed to be a bad football team this season. Many believe they’ll be the very worst in the NFL.
But Saturday night, as the preseason got under way, the Jets looked like something else. A football team that maybe, just maybe, won’t be that bad.
The first teamers looked downright good, and quarterback Christian Hackenberg showed definite signs of progress in extensive action as the Jets beat the Titans 7-3 in the preseason opener at MetLife Stadium.
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It’s silly to read too much into a preseason game, especially the first preseason game. The results don’t matter and winning is not the priority. But after a training camp fraught with doom and gloom, this was a night of mostly positives.
Quarterback Josh McCown marched the first team offense down the field for an opening drive touchdown. Defensive end Leonard Williams got a sack as the Jets first-team defense allowed only one first down in two drives.
And then there was Hackenberg, who had a good night by any measure. He completed 17-of-24 passes for 119 yards and looked confident and comfortable as he played the majority of the game.
This was far different than the version of Hackenberg we last saw in game action. This was Hackenberg’s first game since Sept. 1, 2016, when he played the preseason finale at Philadelphia. Hackenberg struggled that night, completing only 11-of-31 passes and throwing a mind-numbingly bad interception that he should never have tried to throw in the first place.
But in new offensive coordinator John Morton’s system, Hackenberg looked comfortable and poised — despite playing only one drive with the first teamers. Playing mostly with the backup offensive line and the backup receivers, Hackenberg proved that he’s made considerable progress in the last 12 months.
His two best throws of the night were on his final drive of the night: a 12-yard pass to tight end Jason Vander Laan and a 14-yard pass to Marquess Wilson in the third quarter. Both passes were strong…