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Best-case scenario: Christian Hackenberg wins Jets' QB job

The sooner Christian Hackenberg earns the Jets' starting QB job, the better it will be for the overall rebuilding of the team. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Breaking down the New York Jets' roster, unit by unit, in preparation for training camp, which begins July 29:

Position: Quarterback

Projected starter: Josh McCown

Projected reserves: Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty

Notables on the bubble: None

Top storyline: It's the No. 1 storyline on the team -- the quarterback competition. McCown, 38, is the favorite based on his vast experience and ability to manage a game, but it's not a slam dunk. No quarterback who has lost 20 of his last 22 starts can be considered a sure thing. Hackenberg remains in the picture, with Petty in the background. Training camp will be a balancing act for coach Todd Bowles. The biggest priority is to get the starter ready for Week 1, but it's also important to give the young quarterbacks a chance to play, develop and ostensibly compete for the starting job.

Player to watch: Welcome to the spotlight, Christian. The one-year honeymoon is over; it's time to make general manager Mike Maccagnan look smart. Hackenberg took some baby steps in minicamp, but there's still a gap between him and McCown. Consider: Hackenberg has yet to face a starting defense in a game situation. He played 76 preseason snaps last summer, all of them against backups. In the regular season ... well, you know the deal there. He didn't see any game action. His biggest challenge in camp will be mastering an offense that doesn't suit his skill set. The West Coast offense requires pinpoint accuracy and quick reads. The system is predicated on the quarterback being able to work through his progressions -- 1, 2, 3 -- while staying in rhythm with the flow of the play. That takes time and experience.

Wild card: With only one practice per day, it's virtually impossible to have a legitimate three-way competition, which means Petty could be the odd-man out. His roster spot isn't secure, so he'll need to show improvement to stick around.

Training camp will be a success if ... Hackenberg wins the job. No disrespect to McCown -- a well-liked, team-first player -- but the organization will be in better shape if Hackenberg proves he's worthy of the starting job. The sooner he lands the top spot under center, the better it will be for the overall rebuilding of the team. But this can't be a giveaway; he needs to earn the gig. The notion that Hackenberg should be handed the starting job because he might be the answer is ludicrous. If they do that and he stinks, the entire offense will stink, stunting the development of the young players around him. This isn't 2009, when the Jets' supporting cast was strong enough to overcome the rookie struggles of Mark Sanchez. It also would drain every ounce of suspense out of the season.

By the numbers: Over the last three seasons, McCown has a 2-20 starting record, 29 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and a league-low 45.4 Total QBR (among 33 qualified quarterbacks), per ESPN Stats & Information. Looking for a positive? He's a decent intermediate passer. On throws of 11 to 20 yards, he ranks 16th in Total QBR (82.9).