Quarterbacks do not individually win or lose football games (no QB WINZZZ here) but it is unquestionably the most important position on the field. Let’s look at the likely starting quarterbacks the New York Jets are going to face in 2019 and how Sam Darnold matches up against them…
Week 1 – Josh Allen
Darnold’s BFF. When I met Darnold a few months back (HUMBLEBRAG), I also met Allen who was incredibly nice and immediately made me feel terrible for all the negative ON FIELD things I said about his game. I asked Darnold shortly after this picture if I could join in the 75 minute game of shuffleboard he played with Allen at the Super Bowl House, to which he politely said no and for that answer I blame Allen and no longer feel bad for the negative ON FIELD things I said about his game (I can’t believe Darnold/Allen would rather play shuffleboard with whatever two girls they were with than my idiot friend and I). The two of them look like power forwards standing next to each other. I’m 6’2…(okay, 6’1 and 3/4) and they absolutely dwarfed me.
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More seriously, Allen’s passing statistics were just about what most of us expected last year (barely over 50% completion percentage, more interceptions than touchdowns and a YPA in the mid 6s), what most of us didn’t expect was The White Mike Vick, as Allen racked up 631 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. Do I think those rushing numbers are sustainable and won’t regress to the mean? Absolutely not. However, I do think Allen is likely to make progress as a passer in year two, particularly with an improved supporting cast around him. Regardless, Darnold is 1-0 against Allen, out dueling him in Buffalo last season and the Jets can’t have a world where Allen is out dueling/beating him in MetLife week 1. If Darnold isn’t the best quarterback on the field in this game, expect massive hysteria and overreactions (I can’t promise I won’t participate).
Week 2 – Baker Mayfield
For some reason it seems to have been decided that Browns fans have to hate Darnold and the Jets, while being *extremely* sensitive to any praise of him. On the other hand, Jets fans have to hate Mayfield and criticize whenever he claps back at whatever weekly dumb thing Colin Cowherd says (“after the break I am going to tell you why Baker Mayfield negatively impacted your tax return in 2019”). I am calling a sure to be ignored ceasefire to both sides, as I think both quarterbacks are #good, with Mayfield currently further along because he is a few years older. Cleveland is better than the Jets on paper and is understandably media darlings heading into the season. Nobody is going to bat an eye if/when Darnold out plays Allen but if he does the same to Mayfield in primetime? OH, THERE WILL BE TAKES!
Week 3 – Tom Brady
I can’t put into how words how tired of this guy and everything associated with Boston sports, I am. Parts of my soul begin crumbling away with each passing sentence. The Jets have been curb stomped in New England the past three years. Fortunately, they are now playing in September instead of December. How about an actual football game and making Brady mildly uncomfortable at some point so it strains him somewhat when he is sending out Instagram posts on the benefits of avocado water preventing sunburn the following week?
Week 5 – Carson Wentz
I am sure every Eagles fan won’t mercilessly boo every incompletion Wentz throws early in the season while longing for Nick Foles. I don’t know if Wentz can ever stay healthy but if he can, this will be a good time to start assessing if Darnold is making “THE LEAP” like Wentz and Jared Goff did in year two. Also, let’s hope Joe “The Mountain” Douglas is on the Jets sideline for this one, not on the Eagles sideline.
Week 6 – Dak Prescott
It is probably a product of the team he plays on but there are no moderated takes about Prescott. It is either he is a wildly overrated game manager or a totally disrespected superstar. Maybe…just maybe, he is a good, not great young quarterback who plays better when his running game is rolling? Do I think Darnold can outplay him at MetLife? Sure. Do I worry that Dallas’ front seven may pummel Darnold into dust? Sure…and now I am nervous.
Week 7 – Tom Brady
Happy these games are out of the way nice and early, as this should be right around the annual tradition of “ARE THE 4-2 PATRIOTS ACTUALLY DONE FOR?” before they rip off 8 straight wins and a bye into the AFC Championship Game. I hate football.
Week 8 – Nick Foles
I stand by this take: If the Falcons just intercept this pass we go on thinking that Nick Foles stinks.
Away from Doug Pederson…yes, I think the Jets can have a quarterback advantage in this game.
Week 9 – Josh Rosen
This may be FITZMAGIC but I am almost as sick of that guy as I am of Tom Brady. I will never forgive those three fourth quarter interceptions week 17 vs. Buffalo and I will never forgive targeting Kellen Davis earlier in the year on the potential game winning play vs. Buffalo. Did I mention I hate football?
Week 10 – Eli Manning
I suppose this could be Christian Hackenberg 2.0, Daniel Jones but most likely the 3-6 Giants will be pushing out Eli’s mummified remains because he went 28/38 for 204 yards with a 1 touchdown in a 10 point loss the previous week, complemented by Saquon Barkley having 27 carries for 80 yards, with his 28th carry being a 75 yard touchdown run with the Giants down 17 with 3 minutes left, as Dave Gettleman nods along approvingly and whispers under his breath about how stupid math is.
Week 11 – Dwayne Haskins
The Redskins actually did smart stuff – I suppose we shouldn’t assume they won’t start Colt McCoy in this game because of LEADERSHIP and things but Haskins is an intriguing rookie. Despite that, this stretch of the schedule is where Darnold is hopefully progressing into his own and is clearly the best quarterback on the field every single week or we got problems.
Week 12 – Derek Carr
The king of short, safe meaningless completions. Carr actually got himself some help this offseason and maybe can somewhat revert back to the player he was a few years ago, although with Gruden around…maybe not. I never feel good about the Jets playing Oakland so I am not going to type anything further to jinx what should be a win for them.
Week 13 – Andy Dalton
I have faint memories of Dalton throwing for 6,000 yards in a single game against the Jets that I have worked to erase. The Bengals are a weird team that should be bad this year but Dalton will randomly get hot in certain games, especially if AJ Green and Joe Mixon are rolling. May Darnold show enough progress to make us all believe and know that he won’t ever let the Jets get stuck in Dalton Type Quarterback Purgatory again.
Week 14 – Josh Rosen
Let’s assume by now that FITZMAGIC will have risen and flamed out, if it ever takes hold on Miami. Unlike some, I won’t now act like I didn’t like Rosen before the 2018 NFL Draft and yes I think he still has potential away from the Cardinals Dumpster Fire that existed last year. Darnold looked to have a much higher ceiling last year and let’s hope that is still abundantly clear when compared to Rosen at this time of the regular season.
Week 15 – Lamar Jackson
Similar to Prescott, there are no moderated takes on Jackson. You either go “Full Bill Polian” and act like he is a wide receiver or you act like he was perfect as a rookie…neither are true. Jackson showed promise as a quarterback last year but still needs to improve his accuracy and consistency as a passer. Baltimore has built around his strengths on offense and this primetime game could very well have major wild card implications, so potentially another strong showcase for Darold against a quarterback with a very different style of play.
Week 16 – Ben Roethlisberger
With everyone supremely confident that Pittsburgh will continue to regress, it feels inevitable they will at least mildly exceed expectations if Big Ben is still lumbering around. Darnold gets three future Hall of Famers at home this year (yes, Eli is going to make the HOF…accept it now) and this will be another chance to make a statement against a perennially successful franchise and player at his position.
Week 17 – Josh Allen
The bromance rematch we all need to close the season. Will this game have playoff implications? Are fans of both teams delusional for thinking it could have playoff implications? Will Josh Allen be able to get over 1,000 yards rushing and 2,400 yards passing? Will Sam Darnold have one of the best passing seasons in Jets history or leave us all in a state of panic heading into 2020? Will Adam Gase and Gregg Williams end the game embracing in celebration or in mirroring death grips as they prepare to fight it out?