Sam Darnold isn’t going to be a consistent quarterback as a rookie, but his highlights show why Jets fans should love him.
History tells us that rookie quarterbacks in the NFL are going to have their fair share of highs and lows. Sam Darnold isn’t any different. That’s precisely why Jets fans should focus more on his highs than his lows in 2018.
Sunday’s game against the Broncos was a perfect example of the rollercoaster ride that Darnold should be all season. He wasn’t terribly efficient against Denver’s mediocre defense. However, a close look at his play shows why Mike Maccagnan and company fell in love with him during the pre-draft process. Darnold has the ability to make big plays against anyone.
An increase in efficiency will occur naturally over time. What the Jets front office, coaching staff and fan base should all be focused on right now is whether or not he can carry the offense. He clearly showed his ability to do that against the Broncos.
In particular, Darnold’s ability to make plays on the move bodes well for his chances of blossoming into an above average NFL quarterback. He made several key completions outside the pocket on Sunday. It’s highly unlikely the Jets are going to surround him with a top-notch offensive line in the near future. Darnold’s willingness and ability to make plays on the move will help him now and in the future.
Another thing Jets fans should really love is how Darnold can make quality throws from different arm slots. He doesn’t require a clean pocket to throw a good ball. Darnold is excellent over the top, but he also showcases a nice ability to spin quality sidearm passes. Once again, that’s a quality that helps him make big plays when his protection breaks down.
The last thing Darnold showed against Denver that Jets fans should love is his willingness to push the ball down the field. His long touchdown throw to Robby Anderson on the boundary was a perfect example of this. Bradley Roby had tight coverage on the receiver, but Darnold wasn’t phased. He trust his arm strength and his receiver enough to go for the big play in tight coverage. It’s just the sort of throw that most rookie quarterbacks are afraid to make. Darnold showed zero fear and earned a big touchdown as a result.
The Jets probably aren’t going to be a good team this year, but they do have their quarterback of the future. Fans should feel free to fall in love with Darnold. He’s got the arm talent and moxie to leave his team to success for years to come.