As a member of the New York Jets for the last two seasons, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has gotten to know the New England Patriots. He’s seen them up close in person and knows what they’re about. He doesn’t think a reported rift among Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft is going to hurt the franchise.
In fact, he thinks it will only make the Patriots stronger.
“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘Someone just doesn’t want them to win the Super Bowl again,’” Seferian-Jenkins said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think that’s just going to give them more motivation to focus more and push them further. I really don’t think that story is going to do anything to them. Now, is there validity to the statement or the story? Who knows? But reading over it, there’s some points in there that are interesting, (but) . . . I’m sure they’re focused on the playoffs.”
The Patriots (13-3), who are the top seed in the AFC, have a bye this week.
The Jets, meanwhile, finished 5-11 to miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. New York started 3-2 but went 2-9 over its final 11 games. Many Jets fans wanted 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg to get some live game reps this season, but it didn’t happen.
“Well, I’m not really in the quarterback meetings or anything like that,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I come in early in the morning and watch the tape with him. But Christian has all the intangibles. He has that leadership. He has the throws. He’s still progressing.”
And he will be for a while. That’s what happens when you’re 22.
“That’s pretty young,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “It’s very, very young. I believe in him, and when he has his opportunity, when it’s right, he’s going to do well. Nowadays in the NFL, it’s, ‘He’s got to be ready now. He’s got to be ready now. He’s got to be ready now.’ Well, maybe he’s not ready now.”
Seferian-Jenkins stood by the franchise’s decision to not insert Hackenberg late in the season.
“Putting him out there in the fourth quarter with eight minutes left, that’s doing a disservice to him, to his development,” he said. “He got the opportunity – like Bryce (Petty), like Josh (McCown) – in OTAs and preseason training camp, all that, to earn that second spot. For whatever reason, he was listed as third – and he knows that better than anyone else. That didn’t stop his work ethic, the way he prepared or anything like that. He was still in there at 5 a.m. when I got in there every single morning. Every single night leaving late. So it didn’t stop his preparation. He’s a true pro.”
Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney both found Sefarian-Jenkins’ comments encouraging, and neither sees any point in giving up on Hackenberg.
“If someone gives up on him, someone gives up on him,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “People give up on people. That doesn’t close your story. That doesn’t end your book. You close your own book.”