Sam Darnold toiled through his worst performance as a pro in the team's 13-6 loss to Miami and tongues are already wagging about his future with the Jets. When the dust settled, Darnold had tossed for 229 yards, no touchdowns, and four interceptions which rendered a quarterback rating of 14.2. The kid took more hits than Mike Tyson on a bad night and at one point was seen limping off the field. The line of cellophane protecting him from the swarming Dolphins did little more than give the 21-year-old a moment to take the snap from center before his eyes widened and saw passing windows that were either nonexistent or tightening by the millisecond. Darnold was 21-of-39 and it was just enough to get Jason Myers within field goal range on three occasions, two of which he converted.
We all know the Jets' brass fell in love with Darnold and traded with the Colts to make him the No. 3 overall pick in the draft last April. But New York's management was seemingly unconcerned that a baptism by fire could do irreparable harm to his psyche, mechanics, and ultimately his future, when they traded away Teddy Bridgewater to the Saints shortly before the season began, which anointed Darnold as the man under center for 2018. The problem is that a rookie quarterback needs protection, time to process the reads and assimilate into a league that is faster and stronger than any teams he faced as a blue-chip college quarterback. Pass protection is tantamount to success but that degree of success depends on the athlete slinging the ball and the abilities of his receiving corps catching those passes.
Before we relegate Darnold as the next Mark Sanchez or Chad Pennington, let's understand that no quarterback will thrive under the Jets’ present conditions. New York was never going to go from worst to first in the AFC East and even a wildcard spot was still pie-in-the-sky thinking with the team as presently constituted. That doesn’t mean trading up for Darnold was a mistake but giving the rookie the keys to this beat-up Buick and expecting him to win Daytona was sheer folly on a management team that should know better.
Why not let Teddy Bridgewater or veteran Josh McCown take the licks for a full season while Darnold learns from the sidelines and avoids the shell-shock? Darnold isn't the only rookie who has ever started from the get-go but if the offensive line is a weak link amongst a chain of weak links, then why chance it? It all comes down to getting rear ends in the seats and the men in charge understood that Jets' fans were desperately seeking a savior. Whether Darnold will live up to his billing may not be known for a few years but to toss him to the wolves and wonder why he's bleeding is disingenuous at best and career-ending at worst.
And the Good News – Bills Up Next!
The Jets offensive line will get a chance at redemption when they welcome the Buffalo Bills to town this week. But before we get too giddy about the prospects of facing the most anemic offense in the NFL, just know that Buffalo’s defense has seven more sacks on the season than the Dolphins. Nevertheless, this is the team New York needed after their disaster in South Beach as the defense should thrive against a team averaging just 10.4 points per game and a passing attack that can be described as more of a mild affront.
Whenever we want to get the lay of the land in terms of how the experts view any matchup in the NFL, we immediately click to Sportsbook Review, a site dedicated to all things sports betting, where we can see the latest odds from the best online sportsbooks in the industry. One such sportsbook is Heritage, truly one of the most trusted and respected online shops in the business.
The oddsmakers at Heritage are giving us oodles of hope for a big win next week as we see the Jets as 7 ½ point betting favorites. If you believe that Sam Darnold will lick his wounds and be ready to deal next week then get on over to Heritage and get down on Gang Green to not only win the game but cover the number.