Sam Darnold may only be in his second year as the Jets quarterback, but he’s already showing terrific signs of leadership for his team.
If the Jets are going to be playoff bound in 2019, they’re going to need for Sam Darnold to take a big step forward. Fortunately for head coach Adam Gase and the rest of the organization, their second-year signal caller appears to be grabbing this offense by the horns.
Reports from New York claim that Darnold has already organized two throwing sessions near his Southern California home this offseason. It’s unclear exactly which of his teammates joined him during these workouts, but it’s a great sign for the Jets organization. Darnold clearly isn’t sitting back and waiting for things to be handed to him in his sophomore campaign.
The organization certainly backed their young quarterback by adding some serious weapons for him in the offseason. Le’Veon Bell might have worn out his welcome in Pittsburgh, but he’ll have a huge role in the Jets offense in 2019. Look for him to be heavily involved in the run and pass game in Gase’s scheme. There are valid questions about whether or not any running back is worth Bell’s contract, but he will pay dividends for the New York offense next season.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder didn’t get a Bell size contract, but he is also set up to make a big impact in 2019. He’ll be expected to serve as Darnold’s outlet in the slot. Crowder has the ability to make plays after the catch, but his primary role will be to keep the chains moving for this offense.
Combine Bell and Crowder with returning skill players like Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa and it’s easy to get excited about where this offense is headed. None of those weapons can perform at a high level unless they establish a good working relationship with Darnold. That’s why these offseason sessions are so important.
Of course, Darnold may still be the player under the most scrutiny for the Jets next season. He had an up and down rookie season in the Big Apple, but his play definitely improved as the year went along. The expectation is that he can continue that ascension when the 2019 regular season begins.
A quick look at Darnold’s stats from last year makes it obvious where improvement can occur. The former Southern Cal star must take better care of the football. He threw a respectable 17 touchdown passes in 2018, but that number doesn’t look very good when it’s put next to his 15 interceptions. Combine that with his below-average completion percentage of just 57.7% and it’s obvious that an improvement in Darnold’s accuracy could do wonders for the Jets offense.
Jets fans have every right to be excited about the future of Darnold and this offense. The fact that he’s already working hard to win over the locker room bodes well for his chances to succeed in 2019. Darnold has the arm talent to be special so it’s good to see that he’s not ignoring the mental part of being a successful NFL quarterback.