Christian Hackenberg didn't get the start vs. the Titans, but he got plenty of time behind center as the Jets opened up their preseason schedule with a 7-3 win over Tennessee at MetLife Stadium. In two and a half quarters of action, Hackenberg completed 18 of 25 passes for 127 yards.
Appearing in his first game since last September's preseason finale in Philadelphia, Hackenberg connected on 72% of his throws. The strong-armed passer delivered the ball with good velocity and wasn't helped by a couple of drops. But the Jets weren't able to establish consistent offensive flow and were held without a point in Hack's time.
"I felt great. There are two or three throws off the top of my head I want to look at, but overall I thought we fought as a team," Hackenberg said. "Our defense did a great job while we were figuring things out."
After Josh McCown led the Green & White to a scoring drive in his only series, Hackenberg entered just past the midway point of the first quarter. He got his evening underway with a 9-yard completion to Robby Anderson and hit his first four attempts.
Throwing short and intermediate passes, he completed 11 of 16 in the opening half for 70 yards.
"You take what the defense gives you," Hackenberg said. "That's something we've been coached to do... We had a lot of things that kept us on schedule and we were able to put some drives together."
He converted a pair of third downs to WR Chris Harper and led the home club to six first downs before intermission. But the Jets only crossed midfield once and never seriously threatened to score.
"I was so proud of Hack tonight because you have little hiccups here and there that happen, that weren't necessarily his fault," McCown said. "But he kept battling and played within the game."
Hackenberg was greeted by a sack on his first snap of the third quarter. It was a play he had no chance on and it was the only time he went down behind the line of scrimmage Saturday evening. He converted a pair of third downs on his final drive, but that possession ended in plus-territory after a bad exchange between Jonatthan Harrison and Hackenberg.
While his night might have ended with a turnover, Hackenberg took small steps forward once again. Nothing materialized down the field, but he showed poise in the pocket and threw with authority.
"He has some things to build off," said head coach Todd Bowles. "He has some positives that we can look at and he can build from. He's got some negatives that we've got to correct. That's to be expected in the first game."
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