Despite the fact second-year quarterback Christian Hackenberg has still not received any first-team reps in Jets practice, his teammates said he has improved while working with the scout team.
"I can see he has a greater command than last year," offensive tackle Ben Ijalana told NJ.com's Connor Hughes. "I feel like he's improving as the weeks progress. It's hard to progress and get get better out of scout team. It requires a lot of focus. The way that it's scripted is for the other side of the ball's success. There's a lot of carryover that you can use for the starting offense and I feel he does that very well."
Jets head coach Todd Bowles said the team will stick with Bryce Petty at starting quarterback for the last two games of the season after Josh McCown suffered a season-ending hand injury in Week 14, meaning Hackenberg, New York's second-round pick in 2016, will not have appeared in a regular-season game in either of his first two professional seasons.
Hackenberg, according to Hughes, has only worked with the scout team in practice alongside practice squad quarterback Joel Stave, as the Jets have given Petty every first-team rep.
"He makes practice tough," rookie safety Marcus Maye said, according to Hughes. "I feel like he does a great job of throwing us balls that we're going to see in a game. He knows where to go with the ball. He knows where to hit us at, even without looking at the cards and stuff like that. He does a great job of putting himself in game situations. You can tell he's trying to actually move the ball on the first defense. He's been doing a great job, and giving us a great look."
Rookie wide receiver Chad Hansen told Hughes he thought Hackenberg's "arm strength is off the charts." Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins said he has noticed Hackenberg has become more confident and is improving on his accuracy. Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said he feels Hackenberg hasn't let the lack of first-team reps in practice deter him.
"He goes out there and he works on his game," Kearse told Hughes. "I think he takes his opportunity and his reps on scout team seriously. He sees it as an opportunity to improve. I think that's kind of the right attitude for him to continue to build his craft, his game and his confidence."