The New York Jets have viable quarterback options, but they won’t rule out going with their rookie he’s ready, even if it’s at the start of the regular season.
Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said Wednesday that, despite having Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater as options, the Jets are willing to start Darnold if he can do everything asked of him.
“Are we giving him bits and pieces of the offense or are we throwing everything at him? We’re throwing everything at him,” Bates said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “If he can handle it, if he can prove that he’s the starter, then that will take place when the time comes.”
Of course, the Jets have no need to rush Darnold given the other options they have, and it may well be that he ends up at the total opposite end of the depth chart once the season starts. It all depends on what he shows during camp and in preseason.
- Sam Darnold
The New York Jets have invested too much in Sam Darnold to rush him onto the field in 2018, and the former USC star may not even be on the active roster in Week 1 if he does not beat out Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown for the starting job.
The Jets are holding an open competition at the QB position this summer, and many assume Darnold will be the team’s No. 2 option if he isn’t named the starter. However, as ESPN’s Rich Cimini notes, it makes no sense to have Darnold serve as the backup on game day if the Jets feel he is not ready to start.
If Teddy Bridgewater is the opening-day starter for the Jets in Detroit, it makes sense to have an experienced and capable quarterback such as McCown as the No. 2. A Bridgewater-McCown tandem gives them a better chance than Bridgewater-Darnold to win that game. I don’t think it’s even up for debate. It would be a tall order for a rookie to come off the bench in Week 1, especially in a prime-time game.
I could see coach Todd Bowles sticking with Bridgewater-McCown (or McCown-Bridgewater) until Darnold is ready to play. At that point, he can make the jump from No. 3 to No. 1.
The Los Angeles Rams took a similar approach with Jared Goff in his rookie season, and that worked out in the long run. Although, Goff struggled mightily in limited action in his second season and didn’t break out until the Rams brought in Sean McVay as head coach.
You might be surprised to hear who is supposedly leading New York’s QB competition early on, but it isn’t shocking that Darnold is no lock to be active in Week 1. We have seen the Jets throw rookie QBs to the wolves too many times only to see it not work out. Making the same mistake with Darnold could be devastating for the franchise.
The New York Jets brought back Josh McCown knowing all along that they would be drafting a quarterback, but it sounds like they consider the veteran an insurance policy more than anything.
Manish Mehtha of the New York Daily News reports that people within the Jets organization believe Darnold has a legitimate chance to win the Week 1 starting QB job, regardless of the way general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles have tried to keep expectations low. And even if Darnold doesn’t start in Week 1, Mehta is convinced he will get a shot at some point in 2018.
Real talk: The Jets are borderline giddy – and relieved — that they might have finally found the right guy. Some people in the building still haven’t wrapped their heads around how Darnold fell to No. 3.
Regardless, this won’t be a redshirt year for the former USC star whether or not he takes the first snap against the Lions. Darnold absolutely will take over at some point in 2018.
Mehta also says the best way to describe any QB competition with the Jets this summer would be “Sam Darnold vs. Sam Darnold.”
The Jets obviously don’t want to risk stunting Darnold’s growth, but the former USC star doesn’t have a whole lot to compete against. No one really knows what to expect from Teddy Bridgewater, and it’s possible the former first-round pick won’t even be with the team much longer.
Unlike in Cleveland, where Hue Jackson has said Tyrod Taylor is going to be the Browns’ Week 1 starter, it sounds like the Jets would have no problem beginning the 2018 season with a rookie under center.
The New York Jets have made Sam Darnold their new franchise quarterback, and will now go to work on ironing out his flaws.
One of those issues is Darnold’s penchant for turning the ball over. In two years at USC, Darnold threw 22 interceptions, including 13 in 14 games during his sophomore campaign. Defenses will only be tougher and more ruthless in the NFL, so it’s imperative that Darnold cleans up that side of his game.
Darnold’s new coach, Todd Bowles, is confident that the Jets can help him do just that.
On the 22 turnovers Todd Bowles said of Sam Darnold: “Those things can be corrected.”
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) April 27, 2018
They can be, and if Darnold is going to find success, they must be. That said, he’s impressed teams with his tools, and certainly has the talent to fix things up and become a good starting quarterback in the league.
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown is going to be a veteran mentor in 2017, but his oldest daughter provided him with a stark reminder of just how much of a mentor he’ll be.
McCown will turn 39 in July, and new Jets quarterback Sam Darnold turns 21 in June. In other words, that is roughly an 18 year age gap, and means Darnold is roughly the same age as McCown’s firstborn daughter.
Since posting texts is a thing now…. from my oldest daughter after we drafted Sam Darnold… pic.twitter.com/epu8QMkV0k
— Josh McCown (@JoshMcCown12) April 27, 2018
It is safe to say McCown qualifies as an elder statesman now, if he didn’t already. And to think he may have been considering retirement. Now he gets to be a guide for the future of the Jets franchise — a future who’s barely over half his age.
Some clairvoyant New York Jets fans won’t have to go out and purchase their Sam Darnold jerseys because they already took care of that a while ago.
Before the last college football season began, Darnold was viewed by many as the top quarterback in the draft class and the player teams should target at No. 1. There was even a “suck for Sam” mantra used by some fans.
There were even a few fans who made Darnold Jets jerseys that they wore to games:
This man called it at the Berkeley game pic.twitter.com/nxtu1HDQqy
— Bearded Kaveman (@Beardedkaveman) April 27, 2018
How long will it take a reporter to track down this guy? pic.twitter.com/sgzKwb1cJT
— Keely Eure (@keelyismyname) April 27, 2018
The fans who invested in the Darnold to the Jets movement months ago are looking like geniuses now.
Quarterback Sam Darnold may or may not become the first overall pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday, but whatever happens, he’s making it a policy to ignore mock drafts.
Darnold told PFT Live on Thursday that he would “drive myself insane” if he paid attention to every mock draft he sees.
“I haven’t looked at mock drafts,” Darnold said, via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk. “If I looked at those a lot I think I would drive myself insane. With the draft coming up I’m just trying to spend time with my family and close friends. There’s so many mock drafts out there I haven’t been able to keep up with them.”
There are a lot of predictions about Darnold, but his policy is probably the best one. Some of the information out there is false or meant to deceive, and it’s not like the former USC quarterback can control much of the situation anyway. He may as well just sit back and enjoy the journey.