One of the biggest questions surrounding the New York Jets now that the 2018 minicamp has begun is, which one of their three quarterbacks will be the starter come September 10th in Detroit?
Josh McCown presents a stable veteran who was our starter last year and played solid gang green football before breaking his hand last December. Teddy Bridgewater has missed the last two seasons because of a terrible knee injury suffered with the Vikings, but looks to jump-start his career with the Jets and has shown signs of progression during camp. And finally we have Sam Darnold, our prized first round pick that fell on to the laps of the Jets this past April at pick No. 3.
Sure, the Jets on paper gave up a ton of assets to the Indianapolis Colts to move up from pick 6 to pick 3, but couldn’t afford to let another year pass by without solving their solution in finding a franchise quarterback.
In 41 seasons since Joe Namath’s departure , only 6 quarterbacks have started at least 40 games for Gang Green. This is why the Jets spent an an abnormal amount of their time scouting and putting together high talent evaluators, including Mike Maccagnan to watch top prospects play in person every weekend leading up to the scouting combine and pro days.
So can Sam Darnold be the answer for the Jets?
At 6-foot-3 , 221 lbs and just 21 years old, Sam Darnold possesses great size at his position along with a very strong arm and solid accuracy both from the pocket and on the move. Played in a pro style system at USC and is accustomed to dropping back, sitting in the pocket and firing with confidence. Has what I call the “It” factor, meaning, has the swagger needed in the Big Apple , confidence to make his team better and a winner’s mentality .
Still very raw and has a tendency to be very reckless with the football. As no surprise with being careless with the football, turnovers were his main concern come draft day. In 14 games in 2017, he threw 13 int’s and fumbled 12 times. Not having a great offensive line and go-to weapons back at USC certainly did not help his cause, but poor on field decisions definitely need to be corrected at the pro level.
What can we expect?
Sam Darnold landed at the right place for a rookie quarterback. Josh McCown is a solid veteran who has played for ten teams during his 15 year NFL career and to me, while not on paper, is the highest paid assistant in the league.
Meaning he’s there to properly tutor and show young Darnold what it takes to be a quarterback at the NFL level both on and off the field. And then there’s Bridgewater who’s on the roster to provide some insurance and brew a solid competition amongst the three quarterbacks.
The Jets also did a great job acquiring more depth at receiver, running back and offensive line. At his disposal, Darnold has many weapons that can truly be a solid core for years to come. Quincy Enunwa comes back after missing last year with a terrible neck injury. Returning is Robbie Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, who both played very solid with McCown under center.
The addition of Terrelle Pryor brings some excitement and lets not forget about last year’s rookies in ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen, who come back after a year of learning the playbook . Not to mention adding Isiah Crowell to pair alongside Bilal Powell and the Jets seem to have installed the right pieces for whoever is named starter come game one of the regular season.
The word around Jets camp is that Sam Darnold has grasped the playbook at a quick pace and has been seen making solid throws between defenders. This can only make Jets fans more excited for what’s in store for the presumed future of the franchise. Worst case he sits this season and learns even more from the right tutelage from McCown and Jeremy Bates. Best case he impresses and wins the QB competition at camp and becomes the starter right out of the gate. Either way I believe the Jets have created a solid foundation around their prized signal caller and only time will tell when our franchise quarterback is ready to take us back to the promised land.