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Maybe Sam Darnold will make Adam Gase look good, not the other way around

Manish Mehta
AUG 06, 2019 | 7:00 AM
Maybe Sam Darnold will make Adam Gase look good, not the other way around
Jets QB Sam Darnold and Jets coach Adam Gase. (Getty Images)

We may never truly know the depths of Adam Gase’s despair as he rolled out Matt Moore, Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler and Smokin’ Jay Cutler the past few years, but don’t let the imagination wander too far.

I’m sure it was hell.

The primary storyline surrounding the 2019 Jet season is Gase’s quarterback-whispering of Sam Darnold. Can he bring the best out of the second-year signal caller? Will he unleash the red-headed beast? What can he do to turn the SoCal kid into a superstar?

That narrative already has been dissected a million different ways, causing many to forget an equally important question: How will Darnold be able to help Gase?


“What it’s allowed me to do is… it’s easy for me to call plays,” Gase said after practice on Monday. “You don’t worry… if you have a negative play. You’re ready to call the next one. He’s not the kind of quarterback that you’re looking to protect. You’re kind of looking to turn him loose and let him work the offense and get on the ball and use the running game to help him. There’s no limitations on him. And it’s fun as a play caller.”

Gase is probably giddier than a kid playing Fortnite these days. It must be a giant relief knowing that his quarterback is actually good.

I’m not ready to slap the “mastermind” label on Gase like Le’Veon Bell repeatedly has done — the HC of the NYJ is not Coryell, Gillman or Walsh — but there’s no doubt that he’s an extremely bright guy with creative ideas.

There’s also no doubt that his creativity was stifled by a litany of shaky quarterbacks in Miami. A sub-par signal caller can be particularly annoying for a smart offensive mind.

Suddenly, the same guy who helped produce the most prolific NFL offense ever looks mortal. You start simplifying your playbook, streamlining your plans, tempering your expectations and getting highly agitated. Suddenly, you’re viewed as ordinary.

Peyton Manning put Gase’s ideas to good use in Denver. The coach hopes that Darnold will be able to do the same. To that end, Darnold looks like a different player in camp than a year ago. The Jets believe that the young quarterback’s arm is stronger now.

Is that possible?

Truth be told, Darnold has noticeably more zip on his passes.

“It was interesting, because a lot of people in the spring were saying to me that it looked like he was throwing the ball with a lot more velocity,” Gase said. “I do remember him saying that last season, it was like arm fatigue in the spring and in training camp and as the season went on.… It looks like he does have more velocity this year, just from my perspective. I don’t think I realized how strong his arm was.”

NFL talent evaluators raved about Josh Allen’s cannon in the run-up to the 2018 draft. Coaches and scouts who worked out Baker Mayfield in private sessions couldn’t believe just how hard he threw too. Darnold didn’t come into the league with that same rep, even though NFL people were more than happy with his arm strength.


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I think one good point is, one of Sam's great qualities is his complete indifference to having screwed up.  A negative play doesn't carry over at all.  If anything, he gets better.

Which makes it easier on the playcaller.  He can make aggressive calls.  And even if they blow up, he knows that his QB will still perform going forward.  So the playcaller doesn't need to be afraid...

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Like Flounder says in Animal House; THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT! 

I'm very excited about this Gase + Darnold combo. If Sam just gets the ball to the open man, this is going to be a difficult offense to defend. Still hard to believe we have a top 2 RB. With Zekes holdout & Gurley injured, Bell & Barkley are best 2 RBs in the league. 

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