These are the necessary steps to help Sam Darnold reach his maximum potential with the New York Jets. Here is a step-by-step guide for his success.
People take care of their prized possessions. In the NFL, a franchise quarterback is the most prized of all possessions. The New York Jets just might have their first franchise quarterback in years with Sam Darnold.
Obviously, the Jets would go to all measures to take the best care of their franchise quarterback, right?
To no one’s surprise, the Jets have not. It’s the Jets! In fact, it seems as if they’ve gone out of their way to do the opposite. Let’s take a look at the disadvantages the Jets have put Darnold in thus far.
Starting caliber offensive lineman and talented offensive skill players are far and away the most important assets to give a quarterback — especially a young quarterback. The skill players surrounding Darnold on offense have improved in the past year, but the offensive line has not.
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Poor coaching has tended to hinder Darnold and the offense as well. Coaching extends much further than calling plays. The Darnold-led Jets offense often find themselves starting drives inside their own fifteen-yard line due to special teams penalties.
Lack of discipline instilled by the coaching staff is a major problem and so is time management. I’ll save that for a completely new article.
Simply put, if Jets brass wants to get the most from Sam Darnold, they need to accomplish the following.
The Guide to Darnold’s Success: Saving Private Darnold
Step 1: Consistency in coaching
Adam Gase and company are Darnold’s third coaching staff in as many years. Young quarterbacks are most susceptible to growth when they learn and play in one system. If Gase is not the QB “whisperer” he claims to be, its time to find a replacement — and find one soon.
Step 2: Build the Wall
As talked about before, this step is self-explanatory. Surround Sam with the best five offensive linemen you can. Address this through the boatload of 2020 draft picks and free agency.
Step 3: WR-1
Contingent on the remainder of the season, the Jets will likely draft in the top five or 10 picks. Addressing the offensive line, selecting Chase Young, or trading back are the more likely moves.
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Step 4: Play to Sam’s Strengths
No more inept play calling. Have Darnold roll out and throw on the run. This is when he is at his best. Former NFL quarterback-turned-analyst Dan Orlovsky, calls it a “magical sloppiness.” When Sam is on the move, he makes things happen.
Next, get Le’Veon Bell more involved in the passing game. This can be done through designed screens or motioning him out to the outside. Bell offers Darnold a talented receiver and a strong safety net.
Step 5: Let Sam Sling
We’ve all seen what Darnold can do when he has time in the pocket. Now it’s time for him to let it loose. Give Sam time, give Sam the weapons, give Sam the coaching. Let Sam be great.