For higher or worse, Sam Darnold will carry the New York Jets in 2020.
The New York Jets have ushered within the post-Jamal Adams period. Somewhat than work with among the best defensive backs within the recreation, Joe Douglas and Adam Gase flipped him to the Seattle Seahawks for a candy haul of draft picks.
That commerce begins a pivotal 12 months for the route of this franchise, as each Gase and quarterback Sam Darnold are on skinny ice as the previous USC star enters his third season. Now that he has a considerably respectable offensive line round him and the Adams noise has been silenced, all eyes will probably be on Darnold as he tries to make a leap regardless of the shortage of an excellent infrastructure round him.
Sam Darnold can head down one in every of three paths, and two of them aren’t nice.
Given how the Jets group is so poisonous from the highest down that not even Douglas can reverse it by himself, followers shouldn’t simply assume Darnold will get the precise items round him within the instant future. If (when) the Jets fail to help him correctly, one in every of three issues can occur.
Within the worst-case situation, he might flounder with out correct help and earn himself some prime real-estate within the Jets’ quarterback graveyard, maybe subsequent to Mark Sanchez, Browning Nagle, Kellen Clemens and the litany of different names that led this franchise to a few of its worst seasons. Given the uncooked arm expertise and athleticism, this possible received’t occur except’ Gase’s dangerous tendencies overshadow that like a malignant tumor.
The second chance, the best-case situation, is that Darnold turns into a celebrity on uncooked expertise alone and is ready to overcome the wave of dysfunction hurled at him each day. This will probably be a brand new feeling for Jets followers, as even the nice Joe Namath had a Corridor of Fame coach, broad receiver and left sort out in Weeb Ewbank, Don Maynard and Winston Hill. Given how Darnold has a propensity for throwing into double protection and can flip the ball over continuously, whilst in comparison with different younger quarterbacks, this possible received’t occur, particularly with Gase because the coach.
Sam Darnold might land the Jets within the dreaded QB doldrums.
The ultimate chance, which is the almost certainly, is that Darnold stays in that dreaded quarterback center floor, by no means slipping into both engagingly good or amusingly dangerous. Jets signal-callers like Ken O’Brien and Richard Todd discovered themselves right here, and their fixed okay play was by no means ok for the Jets to emerge as contenders over an extended time frame however by no means dangerous sufficient to kick off a rebuild.
Whereas Todd discovered some success, even main the Jets to the AFC Championship recreation earlier than shedding within the “Mud Bowl,” his propensity for throwing interceptions was by no means coached out of him and he ultimately slinked out of New York in shame. Whereas O’Brien made two Professional Bowls and had the bottom interception share within the league thrice in a four-year span, poor teaching and line play by no means let him attain the heights a few of his 1983 Draft compatriots did.
Sam Darnold must make the leap subsequent season to keep away from turning into one other bust.
Darnold accomplished 61.7 % of his passes whereas throwing 19 touchdowns towards 13 picks in his second season. These stats, and his 7-6 document as a starter, are a bit deceptive. Towards one of many best schedules within the league, Darnold beat three groups with a profitable document final 12 months. One in all them was the Pittsburgh Steelers in a recreation through which they began Devlin Hodges, and one was the Payments in Week 17 after they rested their starters. He solely managed 13 factors in that win over Buffalo.
Six of his touchdowns got here in a two-week span towards lowly Washington and a tomato can Raiders protection. Towards groups with a profitable document, he managed simply seven touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Sure, he lacked a serviceable offensive line and he’s coached by Gase, a hack who has satisfied himself and others that he’s Invoice Walsh, but when the Jets get three straight years of common or below-average manufacturing, the group has to at the least query if he’s the man.
The post-Namath Jets have been a wasteland the place promising quarterbacks go to die. Even gamers like Todd, who confirmed flashed, and O’Brien, who made a number of Professional Bowls, couldn’t escape the mediocrity and poor decision-making that has turn out to be emblematic of this franchise.
If Darnold doesn’t begin displaying that he could be a star this season, slicing bait with him and beginning a correct rebuild could be the most suitable choice, as Jets followers didn’t join one other decade of common quarterback play. 2020 would be the 12 months the place the true Darnold lastly reveals himself, and the truth that even probably the most analytically-minded Jets followers don’t know if he’s a franchise man or if he’s bettering considerably has to scare the Gang Inexperienced trustworthy.
The one factor that would change all of that is Douglas hitting on all of those picks and constructing the Jets right into a crew that may success regardless of Darnold. Even with Douglas’ fame, that’s a tall order.