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Darnold’s Biggest Strength Could Offset Potential Jets Weakness


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Sam Darnold

It’s one of those things that can’t be taught or coached, but you see it almost every time you take a moment to watch some of Sam Darnold’s college performances at USC.  Time and again, under pressure, Darnold rolls out, spins away or steps up in the pocket to avoid oncoming defenders, before making a beautiful throw for a big completion.  Often times the mechanics are off, but the result is a thing of beauty.

Now as a pro, albeit only in practice, it seems that so far Darnold isn’t having any problems continuing to display the same traits that made him such a hot commodity in college, with “so far” being the operative term.  After all, it’s only OTA’s and minicamp.

Even still, any positive traits displayed by a young quarterback will be a welcome sight for any team who might be bringing a young signal caller along, but in Darnold’s case, his ability to make quality throws on the move is particularly important as the Jets transition to a new offense under Jeremy Bates, who is believed to have a heavy dose of zone blocking in his attack.

From left to right, the Jets offensive line is expected to consist of Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Spencer Long, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell.  This O-line gets far more flack than they deserve from many fans, but realistically, they should be a middle-of-the-pack group.  However, there may be some bumps in the road as the new scheme takes form.

Even when things settle down, they won’t churn out a bunch of pro-bowlers, but we also shouldn’t see as many jailbreaks as we did last season when Wesley Johnson was at center and Brian Winters was playing with a torn abdominal muscle.  Carpenter’s “scheme fit” concerns have been discussed ad nauseum and he’s the wild card in the group.

Take a stroll through Jets twitter and you’ll find no shortage of fans insisting Darnold would “get killed” behind the Jets offensive line, but in all reality, his ability to get away from pressure should go a long way in helping him stay upright while making plays if things get ugly in pass protection.

The presumption that the Jets offensive line is going to be among the worst in the league is what’s driving a lot of the fears we’re seeing and hearing from Jets fans, but a quarterback with plus-mobility behind what should be an average offensive line shouldn’t quite the recipe for disaster that some seem to think it is.

As we saw reported yesterday, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Darnold being the the starter when the season rolls around, and the number of reps he’s getting in practice suggests that could be the case.  If he is the starter, Darnold should be just fine physically, but the number one thing that could put him at risk is how quickly he reacts to what he’s seeing from opposing defenses.  Let’s just hope it’s not with the same fear and trepidation that some fans are showing as the positive reports of Darnold’s progress continue to roll in.

 

 

 

 

The post Darnold’s Biggest Strength Could Offset Potential Jets Weakness appeared first on JetNation.com (NY Jets Blog & Forum).

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I would still much rather not see Darnold start right away. Ease him into the job. Let him get used to the speed of the game and learn how to read NFL defenses first. He's 21 years old - there's really no rush to this. Develop him the right way. Neither of the Mannings or Brady started right away

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6 minutes ago, Freemanm said:

I would still much rather not see Darnold start right away. Ease him into the job. Let him get used to the speed of the game and learn how to read NFL defenses first. He's 21 years old - there's really no rush to this. Develop him the right way. Neither of the Mannings or Brady started right away

 

Peyton started opening day of his rookie season, IIRC.

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Fun offseason so far. I haven’t been this excited about the Jets in a while. Can’t wait for training camp.

Bowles is going to start the QB who gives him the best chance to win. I don’t see that changing. 

Personally, I would take a different approach. If Darnold checks the following boxes, I would start him regardless (he is our future without question): 1) mature enough to handle adversity and media scrutiny 2) learns the playbook enough that the coaching staff is not limited in game planning 3) plays competently is preseason. 

So far, I think he checks the maturity box. His 4 game slump in college was helpful. And he seems like a guy who is not going to get too high or too low. The other two are TBD. 

Im a little surprised at how mature this kid is. Seems like he is always the adult in the room. I’m also surprised coaches are saying he is picking up the playbook well. One of the knocks on him during the draft process was that he had a low football IQ. Seems like his issues on the whiteboard were just due to lack of experience and not a lack of being able retain information.

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43 minutes ago, varjet said:

I don't see the point of starting him week 1.  Let's see of the OL can block.

Based on the title of the article, I thought it was going to talk about how Darnold was a HS LB and could rush the passer. 

If the Oline can't block McCown will get hurt anyway. The incentive is very high for the oline to zone in on their f*cking jobs if Darnold starts. The 1st time he spins out of trouble & he throws a dart down field for a big completion its going to lift the entire team. 

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3 hours ago, Freemanm said:

I would still much rather not see Darnold start right away. Ease him into the job. Let him get used to the speed of the game and learn how to read NFL defenses first. He's 21 years old - there's really no rush to this. Develop him the right way. Neither of the Mannings or Brady started right away

peyton started from day 1.  if darnold is ready he should go in.  there is no point to ceding the season or even part of it to bridgewater or mccown unless there is something very wrong with darnold.  as long as he has got most of the playbook and wins over the team he should start.

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On 6/14/2018 at 1:14 PM, bergenjets said:

 

Peyton started opening day of his rookie season, IIRC.

 

On 6/14/2018 at 4:57 PM, rangerous said:

peyton started from day 1.  if darnold is ready he should go in.  there is no point to ceding the season or even part of it to bridgewater or mccown unless there is something very wrong with darnold.  as long as he has got most of the playbook and wins over the team he should start.

So did Ryan Leaf, IIRC.

Manning also had normal scheduling his rookie season in terms of spacing out games (as @slats brought up, 3 games in 11 days is real, and isn't the same thing as Manning's 3 games in 21 days). Plus Manning's start isn't one that was particularly inviting to a young QB, and the idea that his career would have been worse off if he'd sat that first month is a hard argument to make. He not only did embarrassingly poorly in those games in terms of his numbers, but (looking it up now) he also got sacked 11 times in between his crappy passing. It was a hard opening schedule, even with normal space between the games, to start off against Miami, NE, and then us, and as prepared and polished of a prospect as he was, and as great as he was to become, he still was unable to rise to the occasion. 

He had a surrounding cast of Marshall Faulk, Marvin Harrison, Ken Dilger, Marcus Pollard, plus a couple more WRs who at least belonged on a football field (Pathon & Small), with a better OL protecting him than our current line. And even still, in his first 4 games he had a pathetic 3 TDs weighted against 11 INTs, 11 sacks, and a lost fumble.

And those horrid numbers make Manning's performance appear better than it was: of those first 3 TDs, 2 of them were in garbage time as noncompetitive games were closing out, so in terms of meaningful drives it seemed more like 1 TD and 11 INTs, and 2 of those interceptions were pick-6s. 

You really want to use Manning's first career month as a model to use for Darnold? Truth is other than boasting with his balls after the fact years later, since he knows in hindsight he didn't get badly hurt or harmed, I'm sure even Manning privately knows that while getting his lumps in was a necessary part of his growth that he was overwhelmed that first month. It wouldn't have harmed his long career to have sat for those first few games. Just one of those sacks could have been devastating, say if Jason Taylor took out his knees or ripped his right shoulder back mid-windup or something because he was lost and unready for a month.

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Manish is such a butt kisser. How does he say a OL unit that was ranked almost dead last last yr, “ should be middle of the pack “ because we replaced a very bad center with two average ones ? lol. Yes I do think they will be improved by not having the worst center in the entire nfl. But it isn’t enough to jump 15-20 teams 💁‍♂️

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2 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

 

So did Ryan Leaf, IIRC.

Manning also had normal scheduling his rookie season in terms of spacing out games (as @slats brought up, 3 games in 11 days is real, and isn't the same thing as Manning's 3 games in 21 days). Plus Manning's start isn't one that was particularly inviting to a young QB, and the idea that his career would have been worse off if he'd sat that first month is a hard argument to make. He not only did embarrassingly poorly in those games in terms of his numbers, but (looking it up now) he also got sacked 11 times in between his crappy passing. It was a hard opening schedule, even with normal space between the games, to start off against Miami, NE, and then us, and as prepared and polished of a prospect as he was, and as great as he was to become, he still was unable to rise to the occasion. 

He had a surrounding cast of Marshall Faulk, Marvin Harrison, Ken Dilger, Marcus Pollard, plus a couple more WRs who at least belonged on a football field (Pathon & Small), with a better OL protecting him than our current line. And even still, in his first 4 games he had a pathetic 3 TDs weighted against 11 INTs, 11 sacks, and a lost fumble.

And those numbers make the performance look better than it was: of those first 3 TDs, 2 of them were in garbage time as noncompetitive games were closing out, so in terms of meaningful drives it seemed more like 1 TD and 11 INTs, and 2 of those interceptions were pick-6s. 

You really want to use Manning's first career month as a model to use for Darnold? Truth is other than boasting with his balls after the fact years later, since he knows in hindsight he didn't get badly hurt or harmed, I'm sure even Manning privately knows that while getting his lumps in was a necessary part of his growth that he was overwhelmed that first month. It wouldn't have harmed his long career to have sat for those first few games. Just one of those sacks could have been devastating, say if Jason Taylor took out his knees or ripped his right shoulder back mid-windup or something because he was lost and unready for a month.

well that may be true.  nobody is advocating him being rushed but if he's ready, he's ready.  i suspect the line will be better than anyone thinks.  imo the team knows he's the future so they'll try harder than for mccown or even bridgewater.

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My only fear is that Darnold's ability to scramble and throw on the move may be relied upon too heavily by a front office that seems averse to investing in offensive linemen.  Just because you have a QB who handle a collapsing pocket pretty well doesn't mean you should accept having a collapsing pocket all the time.

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2 hours ago, jetstream23 said:

My only fear is that Darnold's ability to scramble and throw on the move may be relied upon too heavily by a front office that seems averse to investing in offensive linemen.  Just because you have a QB who handle a collapsing pocket pretty well doesn't mean you should accept having a collapsing pocket all the time.

We do not have the worlds worst Oline. This narrative seems to be the next problem for Jets fans. 

Our line is NFL average, and every QB is going to get pressure.

The Jets will build the line, I believe under Chris Johnson we have an owner who "gets it" Bowles is not getting pandered to any more.

Its Sam's team now, not Todd's. 

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I don’t see how Darnold being benched for year 1 because Bowles thinks it’s ‘smart’ to play the 40-year old career loser mentorbridgecoachonthefield, makes up for Kacy Rodgers getting as little as possible out of our over-investment in defense.

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2 hours ago, Integrity28 said:

I don’t see how Darnold being benched for year 1 because Bowles thinks it’s ‘smart’ to play the 40-year old career loser mentorbridgecoachonthefield, makes up for Kacy Rodgers getting as little as possible out of our over-investment in defense.

That's how I feel. Maybe the line played BETTER than expected leading McCown to have his best year, in years. Our running game was spotty but Kearse played really well, Robby came out of nowhere & improved like crazy. 

There were many times the line gave Josh time to throw & he was late getting rid of the ball (the pick he threw at the end of the 2nd quarter up 14 on the Pats). Josh has "journeyman" next to his name for a reason. So the line protected better than expected to allow Josh to have a good year. I mean, he won 2 games in two years at Cleveland & we had many, many prognosticators calling for the Jets to have a winless season. I'm hoping Sam the man can start right away.

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20 hours ago, rangerous said:

well that may be true.  nobody is advocating him being rushed but if he's ready, he's ready.  i suspect the line will be better than anyone thinks.  imo the team knows he's the future so they'll try harder than for mccown or even bridgewater.

If he's ready week 1, and is even really close to McCown/Teddy, then I'm 100% behind it. I think the idea that players get permanently ruined by starting too early (e.g. Sanchez) is a fan's fantasy-excuse. It can, however, lead to bad habits that take longer to get out of, and if he's not ready for it he can also get hurt. Badly. 

Taking an extra month (give or take) isn't going to be some sort of invaluable experience where we wonder "oh, if only he started another 3-4 games in September as a rookie..." or anything. 

I'm most sympathetic to the "3 games in 11 days" reason. It's a lot for anyone to start right away, particularly behind a weak OL, and some challenges this early are just unnecessary for a rookie QB IMO. He'll have 15 years to get challenged like this, so there's no rush. This is the flexibility we're supposed to have by insanely paying Josh McCown freaking $10m plus another $5m+ for Bridgewater. 

But using Peyton Manning - a special outlier to say the least - as a rationale isn't going to sway me. It's as moving an argument as suggesting we shouldn't bother taking a QB in round 1 because Tom Brady was drafted at the very bottom of round 6. 

JMO

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11 hours ago, BurnleyJet said:

We do not have the worlds worst Oline. This narrative seems to be the next problem for Jets fans. 

Our line is NFL average, and every QB is going to get pressure.

The Jets will build the line, I believe under Chris Johnson we have an owner who "gets it" Bowles is not getting pandered to any more.

Its Sam's team now, not Todd's. 

I agree.  Definitely not the worst OLine, but whether it's in the top half or the bottom half of the league is debatable, very average/mediocre IMO.  I just wish our FO didn't settle for mediocrity on the OLine.  Here's a novel idea....instead constantly looking to be decent on the OLine how about trying to make it one of the strengths of the team?  How about saying that we want at least 2 players who are in the Top 10-15 at their position on the OLine?  Why not say that after investing time, energy, money, multiple draft picks, etc. and finally getting what we hope is a franchise QB that we want to protect that investment with more than Meh on the OLine? I'm not saying we need an All-World offensive line or that we need to spend $84M on an OG like the Cowboys just did, but let's only accept Average at about 3 spots if we've got 2 that are well above Average.

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1 hour ago, jetstream23 said:

I agree.  Definitely not the worst OLine, but whether it's in the top half or the bottom half of the league is debatable, very average/mediocre IMO.  I just wish our FO didn't settle for mediocrity on the OLine.  Here's a novel idea....instead constantly looking to be decent on the OLine how about trying to make it one of the strengths of the team?  How about saying that we want at least 2 players who are in the Top 10-15 at their position on the OLine?  Why not say that after investing time, energy, money, multiple draft picks, etc. and finally getting what we hope is a franchise QB that we want to protect that investment with more than Meh on the OLine? I'm not saying we need an All-World offensive line or that we need to spend $84M on an OG like the Cowboys just did, but let's only accept Average at about 3 spots if we've got 2 that are well above Average.

Rome wasn't built in a day, we now have the most important piece the QB. Oline Edge rusher top of the list in 2019.

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3 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

If he's ready week 1, and is even really close to McCown/Teddy, then I'm 100% behind it. I think the idea that players get permanently ruined by starting too early (e.g. Sanchez) is a fan's fantasy-excuse. It can, however, lead to bad habits that take longer to get out of, and if he's not ready for it he can also get hurt. Badly. 

Taking an extra month (give or take) isn't going to be some sort of invaluable experience where we wonder "oh, if only he started another 3-4 games in September as a rookie..." or anything. 

I'm most sympathetic to the "3 games in 11 days" reason. It's a lot for anyone to start right away, particularly behind a weak OL, and some challenges this early are just unnecessary for a rookie QB IMO. He'll have 15 years to get challenged like this, so there's no rush. This is the flexibility we're supposed to have by insanely paying Josh McCown freaking $10m plus another $5m+ for Bridgewater. 

But using Peyton Manning - a special outlier to say the least - as a rationale isn't going to sway me. It's as moving an argument as suggesting we shouldn't bother taking a QB in round 1 because Tom Brady was drafted at the very bottom of round 6. 

JMO

I agree. Let the O-line get used to each other over the first few accelerated games and the team playing as a unit first then bring in Sam so he has the best chance to succeed early. As opposed to starting game one and he gets splattered because the O-line is still in the early stages of communicating, WRs are running the wrong routes leading to ints, or RBs missing blocking assignments. I want Sam playing most of the year it just doesn't have to be day one.

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