In football, not everything goes according to plan. Coach Bowles's blueprint entering Thursday's preseason finale against the Eagles was to split reps between quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. However, that plan needed to be adjusted as Petty injured his throwing shoulder late in the first quarter and did not return. The second-year QB was hit while delivering a 44-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson and finished his short stint with 87 passing yards.
"He's got a sore right shoulder, he's going to get more tests tomorrow," Bowles said in his postgame press conference.
With Petty on the sideline, Hackenberg's number was called earlier than anticipated. The Jets relied on running back Khiry Robinson in the opening moments as the back saw his first game action against Philadelphia. Robinson carried the ball nine times in the first quarter and finsished the opening half with 16 total touches. After only going to the air three times in the first frame, Hackenberg took flight, finishing the night with 31 attempts. Despite completing only 11 balls and having an interception returned 90 yards for a score by Eagels S Ed Reynolds, Hackenberg maintained a postiive outlook in the locker room.
"I think that was great," said the Penn State product of the experience. "I hadn't had a chance to really do that until this point, so that was very good for development purposes for me. Being able to see stuff and operate throughout the majority of the game, I think it was an awesome experience for me at a very young age. It'll be something for me to look back on and learn from."
While Thursday's concluding preseason game may mark the final time Hackenberg sees game action until next summer, the second-round pick told the media this week that he could be only two or three snaps away from being out there in the regular season. The 21-year old Hackenberg received firsthand experience against the Eagles of how quickly things can change in the NFL.