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Why Sam Darnold is ready to lead the Jets to the playoffs

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets drops back to pass in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 10, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets drops back to pass in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 10, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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With a promising young roster on both sides of the ball, can the New York Jets return to the playoffs behind second-year quarterback Sam Darnold?

The New York Jets haven’t been to the playoffs since 2011, and have been one of the league’s worst teams in that time, but in 2019, there is reason to be positive. The team has been building a young core for years, and with the addition of C.J Mosley and Le’Veon Bell in this past off-season, they are one of the biggest sleeper teams in the NFL.

While the playoffs aren’t a certainty, this team is ready to make a run in 2019, and one of the biggest reasons for that is the second year QB, Sam Darnold. Sure, his 2018 season wasn’t as good as Baker Mayfield’s, but he’s given the fans plenty of reason to be excited, and here’s why we think he’s ready to make the ultimate leap in 2019.

Not his first rodeo

ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 26: Sam Darnold of USC poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #3 overall by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 26: Sam Darnold of USC poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #3 overall by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

In your rookie season, everything in the NFL is new, from the speed of the game to the media pressure and advance playbooks, and after a great rookie year, everything will be familiar to Darnold in year 2. After year 1, everything begins to slow down, and QB’s will feel more comfortable reading defenses and making decisions, two areas Darnold has shown great promise in.

His decision-making will need to improve though, as 15 Interceptions in just 13 games isn’t great, but experience will help that quite a lot. Coming into the NFL, Sam had all the tools it takes to become a top QB, and with experience, hard work and dedication, he’ll make a great leap, and that will come in his sophomore season.

New weapons

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 02: Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LII Radio Row at the Mall of America on February 2, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 02: Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LII Radio Row at the Mall of America on February 2, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

A year ago, Darnold put together an impressive rookie campaign, and he improved as the year went on, but he did this without much talent on the offensive side of the ball. The Jets didn’t go out and get a top player at each position, but with Bell, Kelechi Osemele and Jamison Crowder added to the offense, Darnold won’t have to do it all himself in 2019.

With talent on the outside and behind him, Sam will now be allowed to operate more comfortably in the Jets offense, and it will give more for the opposing defense’s to worry about. We all know that #14 has all the physical gifts to be a leader for this team, and without all the pressure on his shoulders, the laid back attitude will influence the entire offense in a positive manner.

In the last 4 games of the 2018 season, Darnold was one of the best QB’s in the entire NFL, and if he continues to work hard, the 2019 version of Sam will be even better.

New coach, aggressive scheme

MIAMI, FL – NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Adam Gase of the Miami Dolphins looks on ahead of their game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Adam Gase of the Miami Dolphins looks on ahead of their game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

While Todd Bowles was a great coach, and should be credited with being the man to bring Sam to New York, he just wasn’t doing his young QB any favors with the play-calling or mentality of the offense. While Adam Gase isn’t a proven head coach, he has a fantastic mind for offensive Football, and with a glowing recommendation from Peyton Manning, we should all be excited about the young star QB.

The combination of this with more weapons around Darnold means he’ll be more comfortable and confident in the offense, and with someone that can use all of the weapons calling the plays, this will be a big leap year for Sam. Sure, changing coaches just a year into his career isn’t ideal, as it hurt the development of Alex Smith quite early, but this is the right move for the Jets and #14.

Next. Jets built for playoffs now, later

The entire NFL audience is sleeping on the Jets in 2019, and for good reason, as they’ve been terrible for years now, but with talent all over the field, they’ll surprise a few people. While Jamal Adams, Mosely, Leonard Williams, Bell and so many others are vital to the team’s success, it’s #14, Sam Darnold that holds the key, and this is why we believe he’s ready to take the Jets to the promised land.

Do you think Darnold can lead the Jets to the playoffs in 2019? Give us your take in the comment section!

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