The Only Way The New York Jets Can Salvage This Lost Season Is By Fixing What Is Wrong With Sam Darnold
The chant began in the fourth quarter with the game long since decided. "BRA-DY, BRA-DY, BRA-DY," as the remaining fans at MetLife Stadium, most of them New England rooters, paid homage to perhaps the best quarterback in NFL history.
The New York Jets' most fervent hope is that someday Sam Darnold will inspire such reverence.
But that dream seemed very far away Monday night.
The second-year quarterback turned in the worst performance of his young career, throwing four interceptions and posting a mind-boggling 3.6 passer rating in a humbling 33-0 loss to the Patriots. And his night was embarrassingly summed up when a mic'd up Darnold was heard to say on ESPN that he was "seeing ghosts" in the confusing and complex New England defense.
The 22-year Darnold learned the hard way how quickly the narrative can change in the NFL, after being hailed as a savior for his virtuoso performance in a win over Dallas the week before, his first game back after a bout with mononucleosis.
"One week I play well and I feel like I'm seeing the field great," Darnold said, "and then I come back this week and the opposite happens."
The vast difference in Darnold's two performances had a lot to do with the defenses he was facing. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is a disciple of the so-called Tampa 2 defense, which utilizes two deep safeties and is designed to be a bend-but-don't-break type of scheme. It has fewer moving parts than some more complex defenses and thus is less difficult for a young quarterback to decipher.
Head coach and playcaller Adam Gase had his best game of the 2019 season last week, dialing up numerous solid first reads for his young QB, and all Darnold had to do for the most part was fit those passes into the seams of the Cowboys' Cover-2.
No offense to Dallas and Marinelli, but to go from that defense to one designed by arguably the NFL's greatest defensive mastermind was like going from introductory to quantum physics in the span of eight days. New England coach Bill Belichick's schemes are multiple and he featured Cover Zero extensively Monday, sending maximum blitz packages while often leaving his cornerbacks exposed one-on-one. The shocked-and-awed Darnold, often throwing weak passes off his back foot, had no idea what he was looking at, thus the "ghosts" lament.
Gase said, "when we go back and look at this, (Darnold) is not going to be happy. He was probably feeling like (pass rushers) were coming free when they might not have been."
Yet Gase stuck with Darnold throughout, hoping to restore some semblance of his confidence by coaxing one decent drive out of the offense. It didn't happen, and now Gase will have six days to try to do that before the Jets visit Jacksonville on Sunday.
The good news for Gase and Darnold, honestly, is that the Jets are finished with the Patriots for 2019. (Unless, of course, the Jets miraculously rebound and make the playoffs. So yeah, they're done with New England this season.)
The Jets' schedule becomes a little more manageable now, and will provide Darnold with a chance to repair his damaged confidence in the next few weeks.
Jacksonville, for instance, tends to employ a base Cover-3 defense, which uses only one deep safety, with the other staying closer to the line of scrimmage. Running the ball might be a bit difficult, but underneath routes and checkdowns should be plentiful, giving Darnold a chance at least to get back into a rhythm with some confidence-building completions. And, of course, the Jaguars have traded away their best player in the secondary, cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
After that game, it's on to struggling Miami, which has allowed 16 touchdown passes while garnering only one interception. Up next after that are the Jets' co-tenants, the New York Giants. The Giants are 10 th-worst in the NFL in opposing passer rating, allowing a 100.6 composite rating.
Then the Jets will visit Washington, a team that already has fired its head coach, on Nov. 17, followed by a home game against Oakland. The Raiders are next-to-last in the NFL in pass defense.
But it won't be enough for Darnold merely to put up better numbers. He needs to start going through his progressions more quickly, and must make better decisions when he is under pressure. It also is up to Gase to make in-game adjustments, something he didn't do against Belichick on Monday night.
The rest of the New York Jets' season now is not about victories, but about Gase trying to help Darnold develop. And the clock is ticking.
Good morning GGN! I hope you're all having a great start to the day. The Jets got absolutely man-handled by the Patriots last night, and it was fairly embarrassing. The team was down
The Winnipeg Jets played the New York Islanders in a game in which they just never seemed close to having the upper hand in for long. They scored first on a nice goal
Good morning, Gang Green Nation! It's the first week of October, so naturally we're already getting stories about who the Jets should draft in 2020. Sigh. Who would have thought before this season
The waiting is over. The New York Rangers are back in action tonight, playing their first meaningful hockey game in nearly six months. They'll open the 2019-20 season at Madison Square Garden against Blake
Time: 6:00 CT TV: TSN 3 Radio: TSN 1290 Introduction: The Winnipeg Jets open the 2019/20 season with a three game eastern road trip beginning tonight at Madison Square Garden facing the New York Rangers. The
The New England Patriots (2-0) have been on fire to start the 2019 NFL season. They look to keep their hot-streak alive when they play host in Week 3 to the New York Jets (0-2)
More News in Jets
Sam Darnold was haunted by Bill Belichick's suffocating defense on Monday night "I'm seeing ghosts," Darnold - mic'd up by ESPN - said on the sideline after his third turnover in the Jets' 33-0 loss. The admission
BOSTON (CBS) - It's a muddy world out there on the internet streets, folks. The sharing of even the most innocuous of beliefs in the land of social media makes one liable to get blasted
Sam Darnold's "seeing ghosts" comment in the midst of the New York Jets' 33-0 loss to the New England Patriots was one of the main talking points in the hours immediately following the game. Darnold,
Did New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold really say that? Even New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy couldn't believe it, but Darnold, while mic'd up during a 33-0 loss to the Patriots on Monday,
It's rare to see New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick smile, but even he couldn't resist finding a sinister delight in messing with the New York Jets and head coach Adam Gase in