Former Jets QB Believes Sam Darnold Will Embrace Challenge of Playing With Rookie QB

Published 04/04/2021, 3:24 PM EDT
Dec 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


Sam Darnold has been the subject of immense speculation. After a poor season with the New York Jets, there are doubts over Darnold’s future.

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After their dismal year, the Jets have the #2 overall pick in the draft, and rumors suggest that they will target a quarterback. But one former Jets quarterback thinks Darnold will invite the challenge of playing with a rookie.

Sam Darnold a victim of circumstance in New York

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Former Jets quarterback Josh McCown spoke recently to ESPN. He noted that Sam Darnold was placed in an unfortunate situation with the New York Jets.

The people who brought him in, primed him to be the new face of the team, but things happened along the way that couldn’t allow that to happen. However, Darnold has maintained a positive attitude throughout the situation.

“To be on the cusp of (an organizational reboot) and have them go, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to be for you, that’s going to be for somebody else’ — no doubt, it’s hard.

“But I have not felt any negativity from him at all. He’s always positive and always has a great mindset. That speaks to his character and what he’s about.”

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) heads to the bench during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Furthermore, McCown added that he believes Sam Darnold can play alongside a young quarterback and compete. In fact, if the Jets cannot broker a deal, that is the route they should take.

And depending on which quarterback (in McCown’s mind – Zach Wilson) thrives, a decision can be taken at the end of the season.

“Can it be done? Absolutely. In my mind, if you can’t get the value now for him, that’s absolutely how you go about it. I wouldn’t even call it a competition.

“I would just say, ‘We’re going to go with Sam as the guy and bring Zach along.’ If Sam knocks it out of the park, we’ll re-evaluate where we are a year from now.”

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Darnold looking to redeem himself

McCown believes that Darnold will welcome the opportunity to compete with a young rookie quarterback and prove his worth.

Furthermore, Darnold will try to play the best football of his career to make the front office take a tough decision. But ultimately, McCown has total faith in Sam Darnold.

“Sam would embrace it and be helpful, but he’d also go out and work hard and try to make the most of the opportunity to play this year — and put it back on them and make them have to make a tough decision at the end of the year. I think, if that happens, really and truly, everybody wins.”

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Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass under pressure from New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich (50) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Can Sam Darnold redeem his career this season? He will be motivated to show that he is the player the Jets thought he was. However, his future is still unclear.

The Jets will most likely draft a quarterback at #2. However, they still haven’t struck a deal for Sam Darnold and should do so if they plan to start the new rookie.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1165 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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