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New York Jets: How will Sam Darnold’s absence impact the offensive gameplan?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 24: Trevor Siemian and Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets stand at the bench during their preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on August 24, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 24: Trevor Siemian and Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets stand at the bench during their preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on August 24, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets will be without their quarterback Sam Darnold for at least a few weeks. How might the team’s offense change with Trevor Siemian under center?

It hasn’t exactly been a comforting few days for the New York Jets franchise. After blowing a 16-point second-half lead in embarrassing fashion in Week 1, they learned that quarterback Sam Darnold had come down with a case of mono.

Yes this is real life and no this isn’t some fictional story. This is happening and Darnold is expected to miss some significant time.

These are trying times for the Jets who on top of the loss of Darnold are also dealing with the season-ending injury sustained by wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, yet another suspension in the form of Nathan Shepherd, and the challenge of acquainting a new kicker each week.

But there will be no loss on par with the loss of Darnold.

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He is their franchise. He is their future. And, in all honesty, he’s a huge part of the present as well. Replacing him will be no easy task for the team and the offense as a whole.

As such, head coach Adam Gase will have his work cut out for him as he tries to draw up a suitable offensive gameplan for new starting quarterback Trevor Siemian. And in Week 1, that seemed to be a challenge even with the usual starter.

The Jets offense sputtered in the season opener totaling just 223 yards of offense and scoring just one offensive touchdown despite four Buffalo turnovers. Le’Veon Bell looked excellent in his Jets debut and the same goes for slot receiver Jamison Crowder.

However, the offense looked lost apart from those two.

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Darnold struggled to a lackluster day — possibly feeling the effects of the mono — while the running game never really got going. The same could be said for any Jets receiver not named Jamison Crowder.

But perhaps the biggest hindrance on the offense was the play of the offensive line. The starting five had never played in a simulated game together before Sunday and it showed as miscommunications up front gave the offense little time to operate.

Perhaps has a direct response to this, Gase employed a very conservative gameplan — one that likely contributed to the downfall of the offense. Some of this was due to the offensive line’s poor play.

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After all, it’s hard to work the intermediate and deep passing games when your quarterback has 2-3 seconds to throw the ball before pressure arrives. Still, it would have been nice to see the offense expand their repertoire a bit.

Now with Darnold out, will the Jets be able to do so with Siemian leading the charge? Unfortunately, this looks unlikely.

With a new quarterback under center, expect Gase to be just as, if not more conservative with his approach on Monday. We’re talking check-downs to Bell and Ty Montgomery, underneath patterns to Crowder, and plenty of runs up the gut.

Is it the best way to win football games in 2019? No, probably not. But it might be a necessity as the team looks to get Siemian up to speed with the offense.

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On top of that, Siemian has never been a quarterback known for his impressive downfield passing attack. Instead, he’s better suited as a game-manager and that’s exactly how Gase likely intends to use him.

Perhaps when Darnold returns and the offensive line develops more chemistry with each other the team could open up their offense a bit. But for now, expect the same conservative approach that we saw in Week 1 to be deployed this Monday.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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