FLORHAM PARK -- No one has seen Christian Hackenberg play since he walked off Lincoln Financial Field in the Jets' preseason finale.
Should Jets fire Todd Bowles?
Well, no one other than his teammates and coaches, that is.
And having watched the rookie second-round pick work these last few months, wideout Brandon Marshall believes he's "absolutely" ready to play ... just not over veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"Fitz is our best option to win," Marshall said. "We're trying to win a ball game."
On Tuesday, coach Todd Bowles announced the anticlimactic decision to start Fitzpatrick, not Hackenberg, in Sunday's regular season finale against the Bills. It's likely Hackenberg will be active (for the first time this year) but barring injury, he won't play.
Many in Jets Nation aren't happy with said decision. The team has long been eliminated from the playoffs at 4-11, and fans don't really care about wins anymore. What they want is to see the rookie play. Maybe he can show them something, anything, to instill hope he's a future franchise quarterback?
"There used to be a time, back in the day, where quarterbacks had time to sit on the bench and really learn," Marshall said. "Just because we're having a bad season, doesn't mean you throw guys out there just because and say, 'you're ready to play.'
"Let the kid sit there and continue to learn from Fitz. Sit there in the room and approach the offseason with guns blazing and he'll be fine. You don't need to throw the kid out there right now."
Still tension between Marshall, Richardson?
In a league where half the teams are still searching for a quarterback, the Jets' play at the position this year has been -- almost unarguably -- the worst in the entire NFL. Ryan Fitzpatrick (13 game appearances), Bryce Petty (6) and Geno Smith (2) have combined to throw just 14 touchdowns and an astounding 25 interceptions.
Fitzpatrick's individual stat line? An ugly 55.8 completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 66.4. He has been benched on two separate occasions, just to get his job back due to season-ending injuries to Geno Smith (Week 8) and Bryce Petty (Week 16).
Having invested such a high pick in Hackenberg, many want to see what he can do. After all, Dak Prescott, a rookie fourth-round pick, is having quite the season -- 29 total touchdowns, four interceptions -- down in Dallas for the 12-2 Cowboys.
Marshall said just because Prescott is seeing immediate success, doesn't mean Hackenberg will.
"This is the New York Jets," Marshall said. "And this is Ryan Fitzpatrick, our quarterback, and a lot of guys believe in him. We just had a bad year, all of us, not just Fitzpatrick.
"A quarterback gets benched, it's not just on the quarterback. It's the receivers, offensive line, offensive coordinator. It falls on all of us. He's just one guy."
Connor Hughes may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connor_J_Hughes. Find NJ.com Jets on Facebook.