Many Jets fans and reporters have been eager, antsy or downright impatient to see Christian Hackenberg get out on the field this season and show what he's got, and especially to see if what he's got translates into what he can provide next season and beyond.
If Hackenberg himself feels any of these emotions, he hides them well.
"No, I don't think 'frustrating' is the correct word. There's more than one way to skin a cat and there's a lot of ways to get to whatever your goal is at the end of the day," the rookie quarterback told reporters after today's practice for Sunday's season finale against Buffalo.
"I think that redshirt year has been the plan from day one. I think being able to do what you had to do each day to learn and grow and get comfortable and understand how things work — I did that. That felt pretty good. I don't think I have any regrets."
But will he have any playing memories other than his preseason exposure from this rookie season? Hackenberg for the first time this season is the No. 2 QB on the depth chart, and there's a chance he'll make his NFL regular-season debut sometime against the Bills.
Whatever comes, Hackenberg says bring it on. He's been running the scout team this week as usual, but with Bryce Petty going on IR, he's getting more first-team reps so he'll be set if the nod comes for him to run the offense.
"We've been doing a good job preparing," he said. "I've had plenty of time to learn, so I feel like I have good grasp of the offense and those types of things. This week's been great, getting reps, so I think I'm ready whenever I need to be called, and if that happens, I know that I've prepared to the best of my ability."
Hackenberg's preseason prep provided ups and downs in the two games he played. He came out of the box with an eye-opening seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter against the Giants that concluded with a 10-yard scoring strike to fellow rookie Robby Anderson.
But in his 17 succeeding drives against the Giants and Eagles, his offense produced just one field goal. As a passer, he completed 36% of his throws for the one TD, two interceptions and a 35.7 rating.
That's all the fans have seen. That's all they may see in '16 and early '17. As Bowles said Tuesday on whether there's a chance "Hack" will see action vs. the Bills, "I don't know. We'll see how the game goes. He might or he might not."
Hackenberg said that fits in with his approach to this season from start to finish, regardless of whether or not he gets any Sunday reps:
"That's really my focus, just making sure that each and every day I come in and try and grow in every way that I can and prepare myself, so when my opportunity does come, I'm ready to take advantage of it."
The Jets Practiced Outdoors in Advance of Sunday's 2016 Finale
Nick's Quick TakesMost IR'd players don't visit the locker room during media availability periods, but C Nick Mangold made an exception, moseying on up to his locker wearing his black walking boot to talk a little about what's ahead.
Surgery? "We'll see. It'll be two or three weeks before I'll be reevaluated and we'll see where we're at."
What exactly is wrong with his ankle? "It's all doctorspeak. ... My foot hurts. I'm trying to make it not hurt."
Would surgery impact his ability to practice by next summer? "They said recovery would make me available to be back well before training camp. That shouldn't be an issue."
Will he be able to return to his Pro Bowl-caliber level of play? "Yeah, I have no qualms about that."
Has he had any conversations with the club about his future in green and white? "Well, of course I want to keep playing football and I want to do it here. When that time comes, we'll talk about it."