State of New York Jets Quarterback Position After Month 1

Stephen Zantz breaks down Sam Darnold through 3 games on the New York Jets 2020 season

The Jets visited the Indianapolis Colts yesterday and continued to look lifeless as they have thus far this season. The Jets fell to the Colts 36-7 despite the fact Philip Rivers only played 3 quarters. Rather than the usual weekly deep dive on Sam, this week is a revisit of his first month of the season and outlook going forward.

Week 3 Stats:

17-29 168 yds 1 TD 3 INTs Comp. 58% 5.8 YPA

2020 Stats to Date:

59-96 562 yds 3 TDs 4 INTs Comp. 61% 5.9 YPA

October is right around the corner and unfortunately, we have a lot of questions surrounding Sam Darnold as the quarterback of this football team. We are reaching a point that is scary and uncomfortable. Sam is in year 3 and quite frankly he is going backwards. Let’s make this clear. I am a Sam Darnold fan and am not saying we need to make him the sacrificial lamb for the opportunity to pick Trevor Lawrence. The eye test and the statistics are showing a scary regression for Sam. There are plenty of factors as to why this happening, but we simply cannot give him a get out of jail free card. The coach is inept and will hopefully be handed his pink slip Friday morning. The offensive line and skill position players are banged up. All of this is very true. At the end of the day, Sam is still making rookie mistakes and forcing the issue. His 3 interceptions against the Colts were all inexcusable and you can’t blame Adam Gase for everything (although I like to). That red zone pick was such a gut punch to the Jets’ chances in yesterday’s game. Herndon was open on the other side of the field. He needs to stop staring down receivers which has been trend throughout the season. The previous two games Sam was missing open receivers but was also a victim of some drops. Regardless, he needs to put this team in position to be competitive. The Jets have yet to have a lead 12 quarters into the season.

I am not going to critique Sam’s mechanics or happy feet like others do on Twitter. He never was this polished product coming out of USC. His unorthodox and improvisational style is what made him such a tantalizing prospect coming out college. It’s clear that he is rattled, and this is causing him to play sloppy. Despite all of this, he needs to play better. Franchise QBs are able to elevate their surroundings and overcome adversity. I really haven’t seen that from Sam with the exception of the final month of his rookie season with Bates and Bowles. The talent is undeniable. His TD to Berrios yesterday was incredible and few QBs in the NFL can make plays like that. 1 amazing play doesn’t mitigate a ton of boneheaded plays. We need consistency which Sam admitted yesterday with this quote. “I mean, I’m not playing consistent enough to play well in this league.” Sam is a soldier and will always hold himself accountable.

The outlook is looking very bleak as we head into a short week against the Broncos on national television. The hope is that Adam Gase is gone Friday morning and Jim Bob Cooter will be running the offense. Cooter has a history of being a solid offense mind and making Matthew Stafford look great several years back. I truly believe that if this happens, Sam will pick it up and stop all the Trevor Lawrence talk. If he doesn’t, Joe Douglas and whoever the next coach is will have all options on the table going forward. At the end of the day, Sam has been failed by the organization, but life in the NFL is always going to be fair. Plenty of guys don’t get a legit chance (look at Josh Rosen and David Carr). Sam needs to step it up and I believe he will figure it out if the right things happen.