AFC East

Sam Darnold Good Enough to Start Week 1

It has only been two appearances in meaningless preseason games, but the Jets have to be happy with what they’ve seen from their rookie quarterback so far.

The first thing you notice when watching Sam Darnold is that he gets the ball out quickly. He has looked like a quarterback that will keep his team on schedule and take what the defense gives him. This figures to be an important characteristic this season, especially considering how questionable the Jets O-line figures to be.

Darnold’s movement and instincts in the pocket are also very encouraging. When he has had to move to avoid the rush, he hasn’t broken down as young quarterbacks tend to do. Instead, he has moved while maintaining a downfield focus.

Take this play below. Darnold avoided the rush and reset his feet, all while keeping his eyes downfield. Pay no attention to how wide open the receiver was. Focus on the movement and downfield focus with a defender in his face.

Darnold Good 1 - Blog

The other aspect of Darnold’s game that has stood out this preseason is how quickly and decisively he moves through his reads. He has quickly processed what the defense has shown him and made sharp decisions. We have seen him quickly read one side of the field, not like the look, then come back to the other side and make a quick, accurate throw. Why has he been able to do this? Because his feet move with his eyes. This leaves Darnold in position to throw at a moment’s notice.

Darnold Good 3 - Blog

These are the characteristics you see in quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Settle down, Jets fans…We are not saying Darnold is the next Brady or Manning. What we are saying is that Darnold has so far shown the traits that made him worthy of being the #3 overall pick. You’d like to see the Jets immediately get going on their future and let Darnold take the reins in Week 1.

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