The Jets' bold move of trading up three places to obtain the third overall pick in the draft, landing them their most recent quarterback savior Sam Darnold, appeared to be a masterstroke after New York's 48-17 thrashing of the Lions in Motown in Week 1. Darnold's first pass as a pro was a pick-six and Jets Nation could be heard groaning in unison. But the worst thing that could have happened turned out to be the best because the can't-miss-kid out of USC demonstrated that adversity ain't nothin' but a thang and forged his way to a pair of touchdown strikes on 16-of-21 passing for 198 yards, a 116.8 passer rating, and most importantly a win.
But after 10 weeks of the season, the euphoria of that sweet sensation seems worlds away. The winning hand we thought we had now looks more like Big Slick with rags on the board. So much promise but nothing to show for it. Despite New York's recent tailspin, the oddsmakers at one of the most trusted online sportsbooks, Intertops, had the Jets as seven-point favorites at home over Buffalo in Week 10 which indicated that as hopeless as New York has looked at times, they were still at least a touchdown better than the woeful Buffalo Bills. I think we all know how that turned out, and if you're unsure, they are still cutting down the hanging bodies of Jets’ fans under the rafters and surrounding neighboring pubs.
Well, the truth of the matter is that not only does Darnold have the ability to succeed in this league but he's got the "stuff." There have been boatloads of promising QB's that enter the league with a cannon arm and all the swagger of Conor McGregor until things go sideways. The most adversity these blue-chippers ever faced was an empty water bottle in the middle of a game. But Darnold is tough and determined. He wants to get better and doesn't mind learning on the job even if he's taking heat for it from those who believe he is just the latest mistake from a franchise that has taken failure to an artform.
The good news is that Sam Darnold will more than likely be a fine NFL quarterback for years to come but the bad news is that New York has to tear it all down and start over. The Jets need a new coach because Todd Bowles, as wonderful a guy as he is reported to be, is simply not savvy or tough enough to make the wise and hard decisions to elevate this team. There needs to be a new regime and a scouting department that will give Darnold the tools necessary to succeed. Some nasty offensive linemen would be a nice start and a pair of sure-handed speed burners to throw to wouldn't be a bad idea either. It's not as if the Jets' brass don't know this, they're just unsure how to do it so a change must be made.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get any better in Week 12 when Gang Green returns from their bye week. They will strap it on against their nemesis and perennial division champion New England Patriots. At least they get a home game to kick off the remaining portion of the season but the Patriots are 5-1 vs. the Jets straight up over the last six meetings and the last time these teams met, back in December of last season, Intertops, installed New England as 16 ½ point home chalk. Naturally, the Patriots won the game 22-6 and covered the number.
The most we can hope for is that Darnold shows maturity and doesn't allow all of the adversity to affect his performance in the future. According to reports, scouts across the league are nonplussed with his results thus far so it's just a matter of what New York does in the offseason which is hopefully spend their money wisely, draft players to complement Darnold, and install a coaching staff that relates to young quarterbacks and rebuilding football programs. Make no mistake, the Jets will be a work in progress for the foreseeable future but that needs to begin now and not after the season. Otherwise, San Darnold will be wearing another jersey when his rookie deal is up and we'll be wondering whether the next highly touted Jets' quarterback is the real deal or just another Mark Sanchez.