Jets rookie Christian Hackenberg stays patient, confident his time will come

A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:

1. Catching up with Hack: Christian Hackenberg has disappeared from the radar screen since closing the preseason with an 11-for-31 stinker, but he's working behind the scenes to make something positive out of the season. The rookie quarterback, fourth on the only four-man depth chart in the NFL, is trying to maximize his scout-team reps. He's also taking copious notes. He carries in his knapsack no fewer than three spirals: one devoted to game-plan notes (he has already gone through one notebook), one on defenses and one from college. At the end of the season, he'll organize everything and formulate a plan for the offseason.

"The offseason will be big, obviously," he said.

Hackenberg is three injuries away from seeing the field, making him an outlier in this year's quarterback class. Five of the top eight quarterbacks already have started at least one game, including three selected below him -- Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler and Dak Prescott. The Jets are taking some heat for picking Hackenberg in the second round, and it's warranted because they overdrafted with him and could've used an immediate contributor. But here's the thing: It can't be ruled a failure until we see what Hackenberg becomes. If, by chance, he develops into a competent starter, it'll be a win for the Jets.

Hackenberg said he's not discouraged even though some of his classmates already are thriving.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat," he said. "I'm happy for the guys playing well. I know a lot of them. That's cool, but there are a lot of ways to get it."

2. Carson impersonator: In preparation for the draft, Hackenberg trained with Carson Palmer's younger brother, Jordan, a quarterback instructor. Part of that training included studying tapes of the Arizona Cardinals quarterback, which undoubtedly helped Hackenberg in practice as he mimicked Palmer on the scout team ahead of the Jets' Monday visit to the desert. Hey, when you're 1-4, you'll take every edge you can get.

3. Time for Tebow? As you might have heard, former Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is spending his time in Arizona, trying to become a baseball player. Hey, the Jets are in Arizona this weekend. Maybe he could drop by the hotel and, you know, comfort and resuscitate them. I figure he owes them for 2012.

4. Dents and dings: One of the most overlooked reasons for the 10-win season in 2015 was the relatively low number of injuries. The Jets suffered no major injuries, as the starters lost only 27 games, including eight by kicker Nick Folk. It's a different story this season. The starters already have lost 13 games, and it's guaranteed to hit 24 because receiver Eric Decker (shoulder) is done for the remainder of 2016.

There's no way to explain it. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.

5. Hanging with Matt: A lot of folks are jumping off the Matt Forte bandwagon, claiming Bilal Powell should be getting the bulk of the Jets' carries. While I must admit there are times when Forte seems to have lost his giddyup, I'm not ready to cast the nine-year veteran aside just yet. He has done it over and over in his distinguished career, and he deserves the benefit of the doubt. The man is a true pro.

That said, Forte's productivity on first and second downs is a bit troubling. He's averaging only 3.4 yards per rush (307 yards on 89 carries), while Powell is averaging 5.3 yards (58 on 11 carries). Powell's sample size is small, so it's not worth shouting from the rooftops, but it's something to file away.

6. Trouble in paradise: One of the best things about last season was Ryan Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall. The quarterback and wide receiver, in their first season together, became one of the most prolific tandems in franchise history. Fitzpatrick completed 65 percent of his targets to Marshall, with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

And now?

The drop-off has been stunning. The percentage has plummeted to 47, with two touchdowns and four interceptions. A lot of factors go into that -- inaccurate throws, lack of separation, pass-protection issues, etc. They need to get that fixed in a hurry.

Oh, by way: At 47 percent, Marshall ranks 151 out of 153 players with at least 10 receptions, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

7. Looking for Mauldin: Some readers have been asking about outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin and his shrinking role. Good question. Jets coaches raised the bar for Mauldin in the offseason, saying they expected him to be an every-down linebacker in his second season. That hasn't happened, as he's averaging only 17 snaps per game.

Coach Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers refuse to criticize him publicly. From what I hear, they're hesitant to play him because he's not grasping the defense and is making mental errors. Mauldin has talent, but it takes more than talent.

The lack of an edge rusher is one of the reasons why the defense is struggling. The Jets missed a good one in the 2015 draft: Markus Golden, whom the Cardinals grabbed at the bottom of the second round. He leads the team with six sacks. They decided to take wide receiver Devin Smith near the top of the second, waiting until the third round to pick Mauldin.

8. Don't go west: I'm not trying to jinx them on Monday night, but the Jets haven't won a game west of Texas since the 2009 postseason, when they won a divisional-round game in San Diego.