Week 17 for the New York Jets is here. Let’s face it, the Jets had a season most want to see in the rearview mirror. From dysfunction, to a horrendous start, to the dubious distinction of being the first win to two winless teams (the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals), there’s a lot the Jets need to work on this offseason.
But there’s one thing everyone is pinning the season on. The season is only a success if the young quarterback, Sam Darnold, showed progress.
A Really Dubious Start
No one can fault Sam contracting mono at the start of the season. One game, then mono. Jets fans should count themselves lucky Sam missed as few games as he did, which should be a testament to Sam’s immune system, and his/the Jets attending physicians. But for Sam to come back to see the Jets fall to 1-7… woof. That’s rough.
Let’s all remember “I’m seeing ghosts”.
So Did He Improve?
Statistically, there are signs to suggest he improved. His completion percentage is above 60% going into the game against the Bills, up 4 full points from his 57.7% last season. In his rookie season, his TD-INT was 17-15. Again, Sunday’s game against the Bills can skew this, but after week 16, he’s at 18 TD’s to only 12 INT. You’d love to see the interception’s cut in half, but this is after getting sacked 31 times, which is higher than last season. So, it’s not stellar, but it’s showing that he’s trending in the right direction with very little support from his offensive line. In fact, in Sam were to get 175 yards passing against the Bills, he’ll have 3,000 yards for the season.
How About we Forget the Numbers?
Much of what has been his biggest faults this season can be chalked up to inexperience and a new offensive system. The “I’m seeing ghosts” comment from the Patriot’s Monday night shellacking looked and sounded bad, but a 2nd year QB going up against one of the best defenses in football is going to look pretty foolish, especially with how bad the offensive line is.
If they had ANY help for the bulk of the season on the O-lilne, it’s difficult to postulate if the Jets would finish at .500 or better. They certainly made an effort to get there, which should be commended.
Sam Darnold lead the Jets back from 1-7 to (at this moment) a 6-9 record. With his mono setback, and the obvious holes that the Jets need to fill in the coming offseason, this is a positive sign of improvement. Yes, it takes more to win a game than just the QB, but the offense is lead by him. The fact that he’s throwing fewer picks, and more touchdowns, it’s showing he is learning and improving. It’s safe to say that Darnold had a better season this year than Baker Mayfield in many regards. But, as I said earlier in the season, the Jets should invest in a viable backup. My choice is a late draft pick QB from one of the smaller divisions than free agency.
So, here’s to your final game of 2019 boys! You made the best of it, and we thank you.