FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The re-making of Christian Hackenberg won't happen overnight. It could take at least a year.
"It's like a golfer," New York Jets quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo said Wednesday. "You don't want to change his swing midseason."
The Jets have acknowledged that Hackenberg needs to tinker with his swing, meaning his throwing mechanics. They won't get into specifics, but people who have studied the rookie believe he tends to over stride, causing his passes to sail. He struggled with his accuracy last season at Penn State, but the Jets saw enough potential to draft him in the second round.
They're taking a conservative approach with Hackenberg, currently the fourth quarterback on a four-man depth chart. Of the 15 quarterbacks drafted in April, he's the only one who hasn't appeared in a preseason game. Essentially, this will be a redshirt year. They will stash him at the bottom of the 53-man roster, hoping to develop him over the long term.
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who has made a career of fixing quarterbacks, believes it takes at least a year to change a passer's mechanics. The Jets are in no hurry to start that process; it may not happen until next offseason.
"You want to be careful," Patullo said. "He's got a lot [on his plate]. He's trying to learn the playbook, he's trying to learn defenses -- what he sees and how to react. ... I think he understands certain things he needs to work on. He's a hard-working kid."
Asked if Hackenberg needs a complete overhaul, Patullo said, "That's not something we're going to get into right now. We're just trying to see where he's at, what he knows."
You don't need to be a quarterback guru to know Hackenberg is struggling on the practice field. He looks mechanical with his footwork and his throws are all over the strike zone, many of them out of the zone. Hey, it happens to rookies. Hackenberg is drawing more attention than usual because of his draft status and the team's crowded quarterback situation. Plus, he plays in the quarterback-obsessed New York market.
"He's working hard," Patullo said. "He's your typical rookie right now. They're all swimming a little bit."