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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — There's a chance that Christian Hackenberg could — finally — make his regular-season debut for the New York Jets.
Well, maybe. Or, maybe not.
So, stay tuned.
Coach Todd Bowles reiterated Wednesday that Bryce Petty remains the Jets' starting quarterback and will be under center against the New England Patriots on Sunday. But Bowles also did not rule out Hackenberg seeing his first action in a regular-season game.
"We'll see," Bowles said.
He repeated that answer when asked what would factor into that decision.
"We'll see," he said. "Bryce is starting."
So, could they potentially split the game?
"We'll see," Bowles said again.
Petty has mostly struggled in his two starts since replacing the injured Josh McCown, going 34 of 67 for 298 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
The 2015 fourth-rounder out of Baylor has started six NFL games and has thrown four touchdown passes and 10 INTs in nine overall appearances.
He couldn't get much going in the Jets' 14-7 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday. He was 15 of 28 for 119 yards with an interception as New York finished with 13 first downs and went 3 of 14 on third-down opportunities.
"I think the biggest lesson learned is that not everything is going to go your way," Petty said. "Regardless of preparation and how much you know and how much you are prepared, just some things aren't going to go your way.
"By any means, that doesn't define me, the outcomes don't define a person, I think it's the process leading up to it. We're going to come in here and we're going to fight. I'm going to give these guys all that I have, which has been my mantra since Day 1.
"Again, it's exciting to know that I'm going to be able to play."
But, for how long?
It's uncertain if Bowles might have a quick hook on Petty if things aren't going the Jets' way against the Patriots. The coach said he'd make a decision "probably" sometime during the game, depending on what's going on.
Bowles insisted Hackenberg is, indeed, ready to play but hasn't given him a look because Petty is the backup and deserved the opportunity to play. He also said he doesn't feel any sort of need to put Hackenberg in a game to see what he can do.
"It's the last game of the season," Bowles said. "Bryce had a chance to play two games, so we're trying to see what we have in him. Christian's time will come. (To) put him out there the last game and expect him to be Superman, we'd be fooling ourselves."
Hackenberg was drafted in the second round last year out of Penn State and has been active for only four regular-season games — including the past two since McCown went out with a broken left hand.
He is taking first-team snaps along with Petty this week, and is prepared to play if his number is finally called.
"I've felt that way since I got here," Hackenberg said. "I know I'm confident in my abilities. There are things that everyone needs to know and grow from. It's a progression.
"It's a process. I always say it's a 500-foot view, not a 5-foot view. We have to continue to look at the big picture and keep growing."
NOTES: McCown was voted the winner of "The Eskenazi" award, given by beat writers to the team's most media-friendly player and named in honor of former Jets beat writer Gerald Eskenazi. ... Bowles said he'll decide Sunday as to whether DE Muhammad Wilkerson plays against the Patriots. Wilkerson was benched two weeks ago against New Orleans for being late to a team meeting, and was inactive against the Chargers for what Bowles said was a "coach's decision." Bowles added that Wilkerson will travel with the team, regardless. ... Petty on returning to Foxborough for the first time since injuring his left shoulder in Week 16 last year: "Hopefully, we come out with both shoulders, so that will be a positive."
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